Forty-seven galleries from 13 countries will fill the main hall of Design Miami/Basel with collectable design this year. But, as the doors of the show open today (June 12), those in search of a major dose of inspiration should also make time for Design at Large – a showcase of architectural ensembles of historical and contemporary design whose scale surpasses the traditional gallery booth. The theme this year: 20th- and 21st-century architectural expression conjures a visual feast, curated by French photographer François Halard.
Jean Prouvé’s diverse oeuvre is presented by Galerie Patrick Seguin and includes a series of panels in aluminum, metal, glass and wood, which are arranged in a freestanding cube so they can be appreciated from all sides. The pieces are unexpected but representative of Prouvé’s avant-garde approach, and two of the panels include circular “hublot” windows – a motif that became a signature of the French architect and designer.
Masatoshi Izumi and Koichi Hara’s colossal mottled-stone screen (presented by Gallery Japonesque) has strong visual impact and creates an intriguing talking point as it explores the strength of stone and the way in which nature challenges architecture. The viewer is prompted to ask: “What could be on the other side?” as a projection of hewn wood – which appears to float mid-air – peeks out from behind it.
Joyful, colourful pieces of furniture join the party at Gufram’s DiscoGufram where guests are invited to dance around designs by Italian studio Atelier Biagetti, Dutch design collective Rotganzen and Paris-based studio GGSV in a surreal disco space.
Equally upbeat is Italian designer Gaetano Pesce’s playful 1994 interior design ensemble for children’s store Dujardin in Belgium (showcased by Laffanour-Galerie Downtown) – a commission that allowed him to fuse art, design and joyfulness with utility.
Pesce’s work is also championed by Salon 94 Design, which presents Sedia Portaritratti – a 4m-high chair in polystyrene, fibreglass and polyester resin with a back constructed from colourful caricature faces, each representing the diversity and uniqueness of human nature.
Think tank and production workshop Atelier Luma, meanwhile, presents four pavilions displaying a selection of projects developed from natural resources – algae, sunflowers, mussel waste and rice husks – to create sustainable, innovative materials such as biopolymer and biolaminate. The pavilions are covered with these materials to illustrate the potential uses of natural resources and waste.
Other major highlights include the biggest collection of furniture by Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi ever brought together, presented by Milan’s Nilufar Gallery, while Zhang Zhoujie Digital Lab’s Endless Form by Gallery All proffers a parade of futuristic chairs, each designed using artificial intelligence.