Design Miami kicked off on Tuesday with a back-to-back V.I.P. event schedule that started at noon with a press conference—during which the satellite fair’s co-founder and principal Craig Robins talked about the importance of “investing in culture,” much like the Medici family did in 14th century Florence—and ended at 10 p.m. with a private Vernissage preview party. The biggest change in the fair this year is its relocation from the design district to Miami Beach. Now in its sixth year, Design Miami is housed in a tent next to Art Basel, in the Miami Beach Convention Center parking lot.
This year, the fair’s organizers commissioned Moorhead & Moorhead, a New York-based architecture and industrial design studio led by brothers Robert and Granger Moorhead, to design the exterior of the 40,000 square-foot temporary structure. The duo cut and folded the tent’s vinyl façade to create a mosaic pattern, which allows for changing displays of light and shadow.
“Once commissioned, the designers must not only come up with a fresh approach to creating a tent—a design that has arguably reached its most efficient state—but they must do so in a way that will inspire excitement and awe in the show’s attendees,” said Wava Carpenter, acting director of Design Miami. “Moorhead & Moorhead have met this challenge head-on in an incredibly intelligent and inspiring way.”
New York-based architects Aranda/Lasch, who have designed the tent’s exterior the last two years, worked on the interior. Inspired by the layouts of medieval cities, they arranged a “scatter” pattern for the floor plan. The goal was to remove traditional walls and boundaries, increase visibility for exhibitors, and provide natural gathering points for attendees, while encouraging them to “get lost” within the show.
As in years past, sponsors Veuve Clicquot, Swarovski, and Audi each partnered with different designers to create their own site-specific installations that spoke to their individual brands. “Our sponsors and partners pair a passion for cutting edge design with a creative approach to their business practices,” said Robins. “What makes these partnerships so exciting is the creativity that is behind each one.”
The fair’s curatorial program includes Design Talks, a series of panel discussions moderated by W magazine editor in chief Stefano Tonchi, and Design Performances, during which Fendi and Aranda/Lasch will collaborate on a live demonstration of their multimedia installation Modern Primitives.
An international roster of 20 galleries is exhibiting the work of both established and emerging artists. Among the galleries showing in Miami for the first time are Galerie Kreo from Paris and London-based Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
Design Miami officially opens today to the public and, like Art Basel, wraps up on Sunday.