February 1st, 2009
Innovative design is an integral element of the world we live in Drawing on inspiration from all four comers of the earth, today's practitioners have plenty of opportunities throughout the year to showcase their wares to the general public. Undoubtedly the most popular platform takes place every December in Miami USA, attracting curators, critics collectors, dealers and design-devotees whose consensus of opinion help shape the trends for the year ahead.
Design Miami is the most prominent and substantive forum for international design, representing a convergence of both commerce and culture. Its annual show on the east coast of the US (it is also held in Basel, Switzerland each June) bring together the most influential names in the industry.
The 2008 edition marked Design Miami fourth year of operation. Despite the recent downturn in financial markets, the event saw fit to move out of what has become its traditional home (the historic Moore building on Second Avenue). in favor of a specially commissioned, monumental marquee designed by Benjamin A'anda and Chris Lasch, a multi-award-winning. young architecture and design practice from New York.
Needless to say, the new venue proved a hit with the raft of exhibiting galleries as well as the endless stream of visitors. The 4000-square-metre space explored the infinite variations of form through algorithmic systems Its exceptional design did its best to maintain an optimistic spirit, despite the expected reports of slow sales.
Inside the temporary structure, a plethora of leading design galleries exhibited cutting-edge works from top designers hailing from countries as for flung as Japan and China, Switzerland and the UK, among others.
Highlights included a splendid hybrid of classic-meets-contemporary with the 'Bavaria' collection, designed by Studio Job for Moss. The blend of traditional design elements (such as hand analysis with laser-cut techniques produced a range of furnishings in heavy wood boasting Technicolor touches. While not to everyone's taste: the brash reinvention of this 'Hochdeutsch Schule' of the southern German state undeniably left an impressin on visitors.
Design Miami has built its formidable reputation on the back of staying true to its original mission: to become a crossroads for art, design and architecture. When the lines between these three distinct disciplines become blurred, creativity is unleashed and almost anything is possible. So it was no surprise to see Zaha Hadid back at Design Miami, having successfully launched her furniture series ith Established & Sons the year before. The Kenny Schacter Rove Gallery presented a stunning seating element by Hadid made from laquered fibreglass, which set tongues wagging.
Humour is never far from the designer's desk and Design Miami 2008 revelled in ecomic expressions: laughing in the face of economic adversity. Ted Noten's 'Lady K Prada Bag' was a fabulous flirt with the world of fashion. Composed of a gold-plated pistal cast in acrylic Prada handbag. Noten's latest creation fuels an existing line of enquiry that has already focused on Lous Vutton and Gucci. However at $3,000,000, there is something rather serious about the price of the Lady K Prada Bag.
Such as glamorous and global spectacular as Design Miami would not attain its lofty status without the collaboration of private sponsors, many of whom stage stand-alone events for the attending creative connoisseurs. One of the highlights was the Swarovski Crystal Palace. Designed by the artist Ross Lovegrove, the installation within entitled 'Liquid Space' comprised a chandelier of Swarovski crystals that almost seemed as if it had melted through the ceiling and was being enveloped by polished aluminium tables.
While Audi kept the sparkle going with the unveiling of its Q7 Coastline, it was HSBC Private Bank - a stalwart of cultural partnerships which is committed to supporting the forum in Basel and Miami until 2010 - that made the most valuable contribution to the fair and to the market in general.
February 1st, 2009
True to form. HSBC Private Bank continued to expand its involvement in the bi-annual design fair with the showcase of a new collaboration with the Campana brothers - winners of the prestigious Design Miami 2008 Designer of the Year Award.
The internationally renowned Brazilian duo was commissioned to design the HSBC Private Bank, lounge providing a unique place for special guests at the fair. Reflecting Fernando and Humberto Campana's preference for mixing worlds and technique, the lounge incorporated elements of native Brazilian traditions to create the atmosphere and form of an Oca' (a traditional communal dwelling from the Amazonian forest).
Drawing inspiration from Brazilian street life and carnival culture the brothers combine found objects - such as scraps of wood and fabric off-cuts with advanced technologies to create a vibrant energetic and definitively Brazilian approach to design. Taking their cue from everyday scenarios and using unexpected combinations of found materials (from rubber hoses and tissue paper to string and furry toys), they transform modest materials into objects that celebrate the discarded and mundane and are installed with the spirit of contemporary Brazil that they describe as "zest for life".
Neither brother intended to be a designer Humberto, born in 1953, originally studied law, but began to design furniture in the mid-1980s after Fernando, born in 1961, had completed his architectural degree.Central to their practice is the importance of materials. The challenge, as the Campanos see it, is to transform something poor into something decadent and opulent. In the 'Vermelha' chair, the brothers tie and weave an abundance of brilliantly colored cord through a metal frame. Their 'Sushi' chair transforms strips of brightly colored plastic and carpet underlay into decorative rolls which then upholster a basic frame. This process of transformation has injected a new energy into contemporary design by presenting a bold, vibrant alternative to the rationalist ideals of the long dominant European modem movement.
The material tradition of Brazil is based on craftsmanship and economy of means. By experimenting with high and low-tech materials and using artisan techniques, the Campanas are able to harness the energies of their inherited tradition while defining a new aesthetic based on experimentation and advanced technologies. They have also created a fresh and surprising way of looking at things. By weaving the fabric of Sao Paulo into their objects, the brothers present a very personal portrait of their city. 'Our designs were born in the street. from the urban kitsch of the popular quarters and contact with nature.' they say, 'Whenever we can, we go back to our farm, Nature revitalizes our ideas.'
In addition to designing the HSBC Private Bank lounge (a principal sponsor of Design Miami), the Camparias presented a new installation at Design Miami entitled 'Diarnantina', an evolution of their 'TransPlastic' series originally unveiled at Albion Gallery, London, back in 2007. Using the native Brazilian Apui plant, which grows on and eventually chokes rainforest trees, the insulation featured this rattan-like fibre woven around ready-made plastic garden chairs and other plastic objects, such as discarded toys, dolls, flip-flops and tyres. Like the rainforest trees, the man-made objects are almost entirely swallowed up by the organic material symbolizing nature's triumph over the synthetic world Their installation expanded upon this concept by creating a series of biomorphic islands that visitors were encouraged to sit on and explore.