The 19th iteration of Design Miami, the city’s leading design fair, kicked off on Tuesday with more than 50 stands dedicated to furniture, homewares, ceramics and more. Among the earliest events of Miami Art Week, the fair’s opening day was busy with dealers and collectors weaving through the stands. This year’s theme, Where We Stand, spotlights narrative-driven designs that are socially engaged, according to the fair’s curatorial director, Anna Carnick.
Katie Stout, Penelope and Maria (2018), R & Company, $85,000
New York’s R & Company offers a 2018 lamp from design world darling Katie Stout’s Girls series, showing a female form riding on the shoulders of another. Many of Stout’s pieces are intended to reinvent work traditionally seen as being for women and serve as a feminist look at empowerment.
Barnaby Barford, The Tiger (2016), David Gill Gallery, $76,000
One of the fair’s standout pieces is a large tiger at the stand of London’s David Gill Gallery. Created by the British artist Barnaby Barford, the creature is made up of small, individual ceramic pieces wired together onto a metal frame. This method allows for some movement, and as visitors walk by the stand at the fair, pieces of the tiger can be seen rattling.
Lukas Wegwerth, Armadillo series (2023), Gallery Fumi
Gallery Fumi was named the best stand of the fair. The London gallery consistently has a craft-driven, “poetic” presentation of work, fair officials say. This year, it highlights works by the German artist Lukas Wegwerth, who arranges hand-painted wooden shingles on his sculptures and furniture in a series named for armadillos.
Jomo Tariku, Meedo Chair (2022), Wexler gallery, $60,000
The stand of Wexler Gallery features the work of Jomo Tariku, an Ethiopian American artist who says he likes to take new shapes and apply them to design in order to challenge himself to create good-looking pieces of furniture. The stand features several of Tariku’s designs that incorporate the shape of Afro hair picks. The Meedo series explores the symbolism of the combs and Black beauty standards, with works priced at $32,000 to $95,000.
Frida Escobedo, Creek Chair (2022), Friedman Benda
The New York gallery Friedman Benda is showing a chair dripping in chains by the Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, who was behind the new modern and contemporary galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Her Creek Chair (2022) is inspired by the flow of water and the work of the late Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta, who explored themes involving water in her video work.
Lin Fanglu, She’s Landscape (2023), Sarah Myerscough Gallery, $58,000
For London-based Sarah Myerscough Gallery, the Chinese artist Lin Fanglu worked with craftswomen of the Bai and Dong ethnic minority groups in China to create a massive woven work made by creating knots in natural cotton using meticulous traditional techniques. Lin’s work often takes sculpture- and landscape-inspired forms, the gallery says, and is meant to symbolise female empowerment.
Nacho Carbonell, One-Seater Concrete Tree (2022), Carpenters Workshop Gallery
London-based Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s stand features a concrete chair with a large, pink metal tree growing from the base of the seat, complete with lights installed within the tree’s geometric branches. The imposing manmade rendering of a natural form was created by the designer Nacho Carbonell, who in 2009 was named a Designer of the Future at Design Miami Basel in Switzerland.
Harry Nuriev, Tapestry Sofa (2023), Design Miami Curio section, 30,000
As part of Design Miami’s Curio section, dedicated to staging work by artists invited by the fair, the Russian designer Harry Nuriev combines elements of a classic recliner sofa with fabric resembling old French tapestries to create a piece that straddles the line of art and function. The couch costs $30,000, though pillows with the same fabric print are priced at $380 and come with a tote bag.