November 27th, 2011
The Miami Herald
Miami Design exhibitions span Biscayne Bay
by Beth Dunlop
Some years back, developer Craig Robins fell under the spell of Buckminster Fuller — or at least of the work the brilliant futuristic architect had left behind. Robins began adding pieces to his burgeoning collection, which focuses on both art and design. But smaller pieces didn't fully satisfy. "I was interested in buying a dome," says Robins.
Lord Norman Foster, the great British architect, had already bought a 12-foot dome and had recreated, from the original plans, Fuller's futuristic Dymaxion Car. A slightly larger dome, already being restored, became available, and Robins bought it. That dome, along with the car, will be on view in the Design District, along with an array of other work that probes the ways in which architecture and design can transform our lives.
Art Basel Miami Beach — or Miami Art Week, as it's so often called — is about art, of course, but it is also about place, and the shaping and making of spaces, rooms, furniture, objects and more. "Art and design coexist," says Marianne Goebl, director of Design Miami. "They nurture each other."
Of course, this will be evident in the Design Miami pavilion, where 28 galleries will show both important pieces of furniture and objects from the last century or so, but also major experimental contemporary pieces .
Design has become a major subject for museum exhibitions around the world, and many of the works on view at Design Miami are part of that dialogue; the designers or their works are integral parts of exhibitions at museums ranging from the Pompidou in Paris to the High Museum in Atlanta, not to mention Miami's Wolfsonian-FIorida International University Museum.
But this year, that dialogue is not contained to institutions.
Start with the dome in the Design District, then look at David Adjaye's Genesis Pavilion outside the Design Miami Tent in the parking lot at the Miami Beach Convention Center. (Robins has also purchased Genesis for his ever-growing large-scale collection, and eventually both the dome and the pavilion will find permanent homes in the Design Distict).
There is much more. Christopher Janney, the architect-musician-artist who gave us the splendid Harmonic Runway at the Miami International Airport will dedicate that project's fully worthy (and also quite splendid) successor, Harmonic Convergence, on Monday; it will be celebrated with a multi-pronged program in the Design District that includes an interactive sound and light installation on the façade of the Moore Building, 4040 NE Second Ave., Miami.
Also in the Design District, at the design exhibition Inventory 2 in the Buena Vista building (180 NE 39th St., Suite 120), the architect Luis Pons will show his new prefabricated personal chapel constructed from custom-made elliptical fabric panels and designed as a private in-home retreat. The first Inventory exhibition earlier this year offered unique and creative projects that brought art and architecture to bear on design (they ranged from a dog house to floor tile and clothes hooks) from South Florida designers.
A second such exhibition is already under way at NDS Shop, 155 NE 38th St., the Miami studio of the jewelry designer Nektar De Stagni. Working in collaboration with Gallery Diet, De Stagni asked a range of artists, designers and architects (most of them local) to create work, furniture and functional objects. Among the offerings, furniture from the artist Emmett Moore and tile work from the architect Rene Gonzalez (plus there's more from Gonzalez around the corner at the Bisazza Tile showroom.) And this is just a start.
If the week is about art, it is also about the integration of art into the larger world — in public projects, in public spaces, in commercial districts, showrooms and shops. It's about taking the best of the past and the present into the future. "Miami continues to progress to being an ever-more sophisticated destination, not just for art but also for design," says Robins.