Design Miami! Art Basel

Vogue Living US correspondent Aaron Peasley reports from the annual art fair hotting up Miami Beach

If you’re looking for a sleepy resort town with nice quiet beaches and atmospheric Art Deco hotels, don’t even think about going to Miami the first week of December. During this time, Art Basel Miami Beach, the city’s annual art fair, sweeps into town, bringing with it a sea of collectors, celebrities and hangers-on.

Design continues to play an enormous role alongside the traditional art fair, with this year’s Design Miami attracting record attendance. Miami’s downtown Design District, despite no longer being home to the design fair itself (which is now adjacent to the heavy-hitter art fair), is still one of the best places to play during the festivities. Plopped down in a open lot on 29th street like some kind of intergalactic interloper was Architecting the Future: Buckminster Fuller and Norman Foster, an exhibition which celebrated the unveiling of Fuller’s restored Fly’s Eye Dome, a huge fiberglass soccer ball-like dome prototype, below, that is part of the personal collection of Craig Robins, the city’s visionary property developer and founder of Design Miami. Sited, together with two shipping container’s dedicated to plans and prototypes, was Lord Norman Foster’s recreation of Bucky’s Dymaxion Car, Dymaxion 4.

Just a short stroll away, bold retro-futurism was all the rage at several retail collaborations, which made their debut during the fair (fashion and art, VL can report, are more co-dependent than ever). On Friday evening, Pringle of Scotland unveiled a raw, curatorial feeling pop-up space with a dinner and cocktail party hosted by Tilda Swinton. The Mosaic building soiree celebrated liamgillickforpringlescotland, the brand’s new colour-blocked collection of prints, accessories and knitwear based on a series of abstract colour-blocked paintings by British artist Liam Gillick, displayed on a table, below, created by the artist. A few doors down, there was a competing party to launch Dior’s own ephemeral boutique, devoted to its kaleidoscopic new range of accessories, leather goods and make-up produced in collaboration with German artist Anselm Reyle.

One of the best pieces of genre-bending design VL came across during Art Basel Miami Beach was Genesis, Design Miami’s radical welcome pavilion, below, created by David Adjaye. The British Ghanian architect, in town to accept his award for designer of the year (celebrated with a raucous dinner at the Moore Building), conceived a hollowed-out dome constructed from hundreds of laser-cut vertical timber planks. During the six-day fair, it became one of the most photographed exhibits, not to mention a surprisingly comfortable place for visitors to hang out.

Overall, architecture has become a key part of the spectacle in Miami. One of the best pieces within Design Miami was the Galerie Downtown exhibited 1956 steel Shed by Jean Prouvé, which was sold to a European museum collection for more than $300,000.

Miami has continued its infatuation with 1111 Lincoln Rd, the super cool Herzog & de Meuron parking garage, which opened to much fanfare last year. During the week, the garage was ground zero for several key soirees; including a spare-no-expenses Ferrari 458 Spider launch party, which drew Damien Hirst, Marina Abramovic and music star Janelle Monae.

There’s also still plenty of buzz for Frank Gehry’s New World Center building, above, and its quietly seductive design (by Gehry standards). The beautiful new building hosted Basel’s 10-year anniversary bash, where Sonic Youth members were paired with a traditional orchestra. On a quieter note, we made a nightly ritual of dropping by the adjacent park to view the nightly Artprojx curated films, with works by luminaries such as Tracey Emin and Marilyn Minter, projected on the building’s massive exterior wall. It’s the kind of cool collision of art, architecture and culture you won’t find anywhere else.


Text: Aaron Peasley
Photographs courtesy of Design Miami and Art Basel.

One Response to “Design Miami! Art Basel”
  1. Lana says:

    Ohhh…..Swinton, Pringle of Scotland, Sonic Youth AND Tracey Emin?! Incongruous setting for a boatload of awesomeness! And I totally concur re: the connection between art/ fashion… with sites like Vogue/ Kanon Vodka/ Street Peeper/ refinery29 all getting in on the fashion action with amazing street style snaps from the big M, it seemed like a super baben’ affair all round.

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