By D. Channing Muller Posted December 4, 2008, 4:29 PM EST
Held at historical architectural spaces in Miami's design district since its inception in 2005, Design Miami-the international art forum running concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach-went in a different direction this year, moving the exhibition to a 43,000-square-foot temporary structure. Designed by New York-based architects ArandaLasch, with assistance from EventStar, the structure was commissioned as a reflection of the fair's commitment to exceptional design and a willingness to take risks.
“ArandaLasch is the perfect choice for helping us reinvent our approach to exhibiting architecture and design by redefining the brand through our venue,” said Ambra Medda, co-founder of Design Miami.
Taking note of the current environmental climate and desire to employ eco-friendly practices, the tent's modular system was built so that it can be easily deconstructed, stored, and reassembled for use at another location-as a result, expanding the future exhibition opportunities for the fair.
Additionally, the new “Beyond Organic: Design in the State of Nature,” the first exhibition curated by Design Miami, combines tropical plants and foliage with a collection of designs and artwork making use of natural elements and those inspired by nature. Across the street from the main structure, “Beyond Organic” is also home to the fair's Design Talks program, revamped this year to follow a more talk-show-style format. Beginning yesterday and running through tomorrow, nine designer interviews-sponsored by Dezeen.com and Fendi-will be recorded at the exhibit and later broadcast on the sponsors' and fair's Web sites in an effort to expand the program's reach.
Inside the main structure, the design galleries feature cutting-edge works from top designers in Japan, China, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. The fair's three main sponsors-HSBC Private Bank, Audi, and Swarovski-have also set up lounges for V.I.P.s and exhibition spaces, the highlight of which is the Swarovski Crystal Palace.
Designed by Ross Lovegrove, the Liquid Space installation features a limited-edition, vortex-shaped crystal chandelier that appears to have melted through the ceiling and the middle of the table below, with color-changing LED lighting embedded in the crystals.
Design Miami recognizes an established innovative designer or collective with its Designer of the Year award. Brothers Fernando and Humberto Capana were honored this year for their frequent use of recycled, discarded, and repurposed materials-a practice many event planners and designers are beginning to employ more often in the current economy and as society becomes more environmentally aware. Their exhibit includes chairs made of Mickey Mouse and panda stuffed animals and the spotlighted TransPlastic installation of apui-a Brazilian rattan-like fiber-woven around plastic chairs, toys, tires, and other discarded objects.
Extended a day longer than in years past, Design Miami will run through Saturday on the corner of NE 39th Street and 1st Court in the design district.