Design Miami/ brings unique pieces to Miami Beach for Art Basel

Even as Marianne Goebl milled around her design fair last year, even as she chatted with the gallerists and worked the crowd, part of her was far, far away — in the fall of 2012.

The director of Design Miami/, a curated global forum and marketplace, was in her inaugural year at the helm, but already looking months down the road at ways to add more studios, broaden cultural programming and ultimately elevate the fair to an even bigger stage for museum quality furniture, lighting and objets d’art .

“There’s always the moment of euphoria when you feel like something has been accomplished but at the same time you can see where you can improve. The first year I faced a learning curve and ended up discovering there was so much more we wanted to do,” Goebl says from her office at the end of another late work day in the walkup to the event. “We want to offer a journey through design history with two doors, historical and contemporary. We want to present a fair that offers a way for people to embrace both pillars, so we added more galleries who stand for specific periods or are the experimental voices of today.”

The 2012 edition of Design Miami/ — now in its eighth year, the second in Miami Beach — offers its strongest program ever. The number of presenters has increased by 25 percent to 36, collectively emphasizing 20th and 21st century works through American designs, nature-inspired pieces and glass innovations. Eleven of those are solo shows.

Six new galleries have been invited to participate. And the designer of the year, a Brooklyn-based studio, will add to Miami’s public art landscape with a permanent installation in the Design District. The fair runs Dec. 5 to 9, erected in a lot adjacent to Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

“Our intention is to make every year better. The overarching mission is to convey to an audience that design really is a cultural discipline in its own right. We want more people to contribute and be excited by the world of functional objects that have cultural meaning,” Goebl said. “The presentations are of museum quality, but accessible for those who already have knowledge and those who come in by coincidence.”

This edition brings into sharp focus American design with the first-time participation of Chicago-based Volume Gallery and Moderne Gallery, out of Philadelphia. Hudson, N.Y.’s Mark McDonald will mount an homage to the Eames House.

The show’s reach has also extended by featuring previously unrepresented countries: Israel and Germany.

For those that find the beauty of design in nature, Design Miami/ is showcasing a selection of works including lighting by Jean Royere at Galerie Jacques Lacoste, Art Nouveau glass pieces at Jason Jacques Inc, as well as a collection of benches displayed in a garden setting at Cristina Grajales Gallery.And, Perrier-Jouet has commissioned an installation by London-based designers Glithero as part of their partnership with the fair. The creation will nod to the curvilinear forms and natural motifs of Art Nouveau.

Every year, the fair sets the tone with a statement entrance. For the 2012 edition, visitors will be greeted by Drift, a pavilion floating structure fashioned from cascading inflatable tubes. The re-imagined gateway is the creation of collaborative studio Snarkitecture of New York.

Design Miami/ named Acconci Studio as Designer of the Year. As part of the award, a permanent playground was commissioned by the Miami Design District and will be installed in the neighborhood in 2014. An exhibition of Acconci Studio’s work will also be open to the public in the Buena Vista Building, where plans for the designer’s future project will be unveiled.

Vito Acconci, who launched his creative career as a poet in the 1960s, founded the studio in 1988, specializing in landscape design and architecture. His projects are typically dedicated to time and movement and everyday living; thus his gift to Miami is a climbing structure for children. Called the Klein-Bottle Playground, it will consist of a series of tubes jutting from a central sphere where children can climb in, around, on top and through.

“We felt that something permanent would be more meaningful than something you experience for a week,” Goebl said. “This is about giving something back to the community, an afterlife.”


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