It's time to hit the beach. Well, sort of: December means concurrent new editions of Art Basel and Design Miami/, with the Floridian city briefly transformed into a global hub of cutting edge creativity.
To tie in with this year's fairs, local architect Rene Gonzalez Architect has created RGA Rocket, a platform for design conceived to expand on the practice's work and interests in materiality, cultural/environmental concerns and the making of boundary-blurring, multi-sensory experiences. It's a neat concept, and one his firm is physically manifesting in a newly built private residence by Gonzalez on Prairie Avenue near the fairs' ocean-side epicentres. The elevated building is designed as a series of separate pavilions on stilts – it is is the first in a series Gonzalez's firm will be completing in reponse to Miami's rising sea levels – created from floating concrete planes (even the pool is raised from the ground). It's a unique venue, quite different in scope to the fairs and a singular destination in which to display furniture and accessories.
Germans Ermičs has collaborated with RGA to create a series drawing on the light and colour of Miami's sea and sky
A number of exhibitors have been confirmed for RGA Rocket. French-born Emmanuel Babled is an industrial designer concerned with the importance of the physical presence of materials in their authentic surroundings, creating robust and abstract products with traditional methods of production (and obtaining innovative, meaningful results in the process). Italian architect Vincenzo de Cotiis, meanwhile, amalgamates salvaged matter – textiles, wood, metal, stone wood or leather – with the new, creating objects that find 'beauty in the patina of life', explains the firm.
An expansive sculptural installation will be created on site by Mauricio del Valle, a landscape designer who has already worked on the Prairie Avenue house, and who has repurposed submerged cypress wood to start a dialog on the issue of rising sea levels. Emerging designer Nina Gonzalez has fashioned a range of silver cutlery for the house and, finally, experimental Latvian design Germans Ermičs has created a range of works especially for the project. His colour-shifting mirrors and furniture are beguiling in their realisation; here, he has collaborated with RGA to create a series drawing on the light and colour of Miami's sea and sky.
With a sensitively varied curation and a venue that's a destination in itself, RGA Rocket is a fascinating new apotheosis for an architect already credited with profoundly impacting on the quality of Miami's architectural identity.