At Design Miami, Sponsors Fendi, Audi, and Swarovski Showcase High-Tech, Textural Installations

By Ashley Marco December 2, 2011, 4:32 PM EST

Photo: Juerg Schreiter for BizBash

Design Miami opened to the public Wednesday with work by 170 designers and gallery owners from four continents on display. The event, now in its seventh year, merged historic design with cutting-edge contemporary work, highlighting important pieces of furniture, lighting, and objets d'art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

“Design is the creative discipline that most strongly shapes and impacts the world that surrounds us,“ said Marianne Goebl, director of Design Miami. “Design is also a discipline that embraces many facets and shapes from the unique, hand-made piece to the machine-made mass production. Design Miami is dedicated to representing the most relevant perspective in the field of collectible design.”

For the second year, the international design forum is at home in a 49,000-square-foot custom exhibition venue in a parking lot adjacent to the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, which runs through Sunday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. According to Gobel, this year’s Design Miami show grew by 40 percent and 9,000 square feet. First-time participants include Belgium artist Pierre Marie Giraud and Parisian gallery owner Maria Wettergren.

This year’s sponsors, Fendi, Audi, and Swarovski, all created striking installations that highlighted light, architecture, and, of course, design. Automotive sponsor Audi teamed up with Danish architect Bjarke Ingels to bring his vision of a “digital street” to life in an interactive, three-dimensional LED installation titled “Urban Future.” The display also functioned as the U.S. debut of the A2 e-tron concept car. Swarovski presented “Crystal Matrix II” by Erwin Redl, pairing light and music with solo pedestal displays of illuminated crystals, and Fendi even featured a V.I.P. Collector’s Lounge, which mirrored its “Craft Alchemy” design performance gallery. Contemporary artist Sebastian Neeb and designer Elisa Strozyk developed leather furniture sculptures inspired by the brand's Rome headquarters.

London-based architect and designer David Adjaye received the designer of the year award and showcased a larger-than-life wooden installation called “Genesis” at the entrance of the Design Miami pavilion. The wooden structure, made of hundreds of vertical pine planks, created a meditative space at the entrance and introduced visitors to Adjaye’s vision.

The event also welcomed back Stefano Tonchi, W magazine's editor in chief. He moderated Design Talks, a series of panel discussions that featured Lord Norman and Lady Elena Foster, designer of the year winner Adjaye, architect Rafael de Cardenas, and Spanish designer and architect Patricia Urquiola.

The Design Miami and Art Basel fairs run through Sunday. 

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