In Review: DESIGN MIAMI/ 2019

Honey, Sophie, and Oscar Humphries present MINI: Kids Furniture, 1930–1960 Courtesy of James Harris

Design Miami/ concluded its fifteenth anniversary edition Sunday, December 8, with a major increase in visitor numbers and a newly oriented tent opposite the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is home to Art Basel Miami Beach. Situated in the recently inaugurated Pride Park, the fair drew collector and visitor numbers totalling 42,000 this year, to round out a defining decade for the collectible design market. In the first hours of the fair, Friedman Benda sold its entire presentation by artist Daniel Arsham and New York galleries the Future Perfect, Salon 94 Design, and R & Company saw sweeping sales.

Jennifer Roberts, CEO of Design Miami/, said on the conclusion of the fair, “We have been looking forward to the completion of Pride Park for several years, but the reception has been overwhelming, and a wonderful endorsement of the fair. The profile and volume of collectors and institutions as well as the students and members of the public that visited has made this fair one of the most rewarding for all involved, and we are thrilled with the result.”

Best Curio Presentation/ ESPASSO presents Fine Tuning by Claudia Moreira Salles
TAKT PROJECT presents glow grow : pottery Courtesy of James Harris
Harry Allen Design presents Portrait Vessels

As part of this edition’s inaugural presentation of the juried Best of Show Awards, dealer of twentieth-century furniture CONVERSO, of Chicago, received the Best Gallery Presentation designation and sold a number of works from its solo show of the late Italian architect Osvaldo Borsani. The booth design, imagined by interior designer Billy Cotton, was representative of an emergent trend in the gallery program to present work in immersive environments or conceptual spaces. Recipient of the Best Contemporary Work award was a series of sculptural chairs made of objects hand-wrapped in leather by Jay Sae Jung Oh at Salon 94 Design. All three chairs sold. The winner of Best Historic Work was Galerie VIVID for its rare yellow varnished Beugel chair (1927) by Gerrit Rietveld, and Brazil-based ESPASSO gallery exhibited the award-winning Curio presentation Fine Tuning by Claudia Moreira Salles, a series of lamps that combine exotic reclaimed woods with niobium, a rare metal used in technology products.

Vetting committee member and lead award jurist, architect and collector Lee Mindel, said this year’s gallery edition “continues to raise the bar of exhibitor content that is brought to Design Miami/ and to place it in a historical context.”

Robert Aibel, of Philadelphia-based Moderne Gallery, said of the collecting activity this edition, “Our eighth year at Design Miami/ was among the most rewarding, in terms of the very positive, even exciting response to almost everything we exhibited. We had hundreds of serious conversations with clients from a dozen or more countries. The attendance and energy on the show floor was clearly at an all-time high with especially serious interest in historic and vintage works.”

Major Sales and Acquisitions/
Rare historic works by Jean Royère led a robust Collectors Preview with nine pieces sold by Galerie Patrick Seguin alongside a sofa set by Pierre Jeanneret and the 1954 Tokyo bench by Charlotte Perriand. Moderne Gallery sold a unique pair of Paul Frankl’s Speed chairs for $250,000. First-time exhibitor AGO Projects of Mexico City sold a Pedro Reyes chair to a New York–based collector for $20,000, an Emmett Moore shelf to a major Chicago collection for $20,000, a Daniel Valero rug to a prominent art advisor, and all their Fernando Laposse pieces. New York–based R & Company sold five Haas Brothers pieces, two large Katie Stout Girl lamps, and two Jeff Zimmerman globe lamps. John Keith Russell, leading American dealer of Shaker furniture, exceeded all previous fairs in sales with a number of works selling to major collections. Dealer of historic Japanese hand-woven baskets from New York, Erik Thomsen, sold seven baskets ranging in price from $3,000 to $55,000 each, including a Maeda Chikubosai square splayed-handle flower basket.

Roberto Lugo, an artist with Wexler Gallery of Philadelphia, said, of the opportunity to exhibit at Design Miami/, “Exhibiting through the Curio program has allowed me to connect to a new audience with a fresh perspective. The relationships that have started here will be very beneficial and the experience has given me an assurance that there is support for artwork like mine in the world.”

Notable Attendees/
Bella Hadid, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pharrell Williams, Elle Macpherson, Nina Dobrev, Luka Sabbat, Rosario Dawson, Jesse Metcalfe, Peter Marino, Travis Scott, Vita Sidorkina-Morabito, Danielle Bernstein, Daniel Lee, Kelly Behun, Brett Ratner, Juanpa Zurita, Jonathan Cheban, Laurel M. Lee, Thom Filicia, Zoë Ryan, Adam Lindemann, Alan Faena, Amy Astley, Beth DeWoody, Carolina Melo, David Edelstein, David Gill, George Lindemann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, India Mahdavi, Julie Hillman, Justine Bateman, Marsha Soffer, Nicolas Berggruen, Piero Lissoni, Robert Wennett, Silvia Cubiñá, Tom Delavan, Whitney Robinson, Dame Glenda Bailey, and more.

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