'There’s a quote I return to often,' says Design Miami 2023 curator Anna Carnick, as the fair opened this week. 'Activist and novelist Elif Shafak wrote: ”Stories bring us together. Untold stories keep us apart.” Storytelling is how we access one another’s humanity. At pivotal moments such as this, an exchange of stories feels all the more urgent. Stories – whether crafted in words or wood – matter.'
Throughout the fair, her curatorial touch highlights 'design inspired by place, community, and heritage', evident in the work presented by the specially developed Curio projects, as well as selected pieces across the fair's participating galleries.
Design Miami 2023: ‘Where We Stand’
'The theme is an invitation to consider design objects from around the globe as anthropological markers that reveal an array of narratives about the world in which they were made,' says Carnick. 'Particularly now – at a complex moment marked far too often by polarisation – Where We Stand highlights the storytelling power of design, and, in turn, its potential for nurturing connectivity.'
What is important about this year's edition is the effort to represent multiple points of view across design, by emerging and established designers, and introducing themes that explore social and environmental justice, spirituality, cultural preservation and community building.
Particularly fitting responses to the theme include Nifemi Marcus-Bello's Design Miami debut with LA gallery Marta – titled ‘Oríkì (Act II): Tales by Moonlight’, his sand-cast metal furniture collection spotlights Lagos’ micro-craft community. Bello's installation at the fair's entrance, meanwhile, Omi Iyọ, was commissioned by Carnick for the fair and reflects on the world’s growing immigration crisis.
'Marcus-Bello’s poetic, potent works hold a mirror up to this moment, honouring communities and craft heritage while also encouraging thoughtful discourse on some of the most pressing issues of our day,' said Carnick as the piece was awarded the fair's Curators’ Choice: Design for Good Award. 'His narrative-driven practice shines a light on locally inspired but globally resonant stories, demonstrating design's potential to connect beyond borders.'
Similarly, Ukrainian designer Victoria Yakusha of design studio Faina presents a limited-edition collection dubbed 'The Land of Light', a response to war and violence in her native country (and elsewhere in the world). She conceived the installation to 'be a sanctuary of hope and core values, striving to instil optimism', she says. 'The four “animals” are here to help one keep one’s inner light and guide a path amidst darkness, hate, and destruction.'
'If we teach our minds to shift perspectives through curiosity and reflection, we learn to open our minds, bridge divides, and make more progressive choices,' say Amsterdam designers Ruben de la Rive Box and Golnar Roshan of Rive Roshan, whose work is introduced to Design Miami by Rademakers Gallery. Their response to the fair's curatorial theme includes ridged, pink-hued glass sculptures and 3D-printed sand vessels, with the intention of shifting our perception of objects in space, while offering a poetic sanctuary within the fair.
With its experimental richness of concepts, materials and techniques on view, London's Gallery Fumi crowned its 15th anniversary year by being awarded the 'Best Stand' accolade by the fair. Its stand offered an overview of the gallery's exciting approach to collectible design, with a new ‘Armadillo’ sculptural screen by German designer Lukas Wegwerth, and the debut of ceramic objects and lighting by American ceramic artist and designer Jeremy Anderson.
Presented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery, the ‘One-Seater Concrete Tree’ by Nacho Carbonell was named 'Best Contemporary Work'. Handcrafted in concrete, steel, mesh, and cork with a canopy featuring twinkling lights, the throne-like seat was dubbed a 'monumental fantasia' and chosen for its regal effect combined with Carbonell's experimental craft approach.
Specially commissioned projects at Design Miami 2023
Among this year's specially-commissioned projects, Bless' interpretation of Fendi's universe stood out for its ability to elevate the traditional collaboration model into a deeper dive into the company's most intimate aspects. The large-scale screens partition the booth offering a glimpse into Fendi's HQ and its inner workings –including the company's utility room, faithfully replicated in intarsia onto a blanket.
Meanwhile, Fernando Laposse's ‘The Pollination Dance’ for Maison Perrier-Jouët celebrates nature's interspecies collaboration through a poetic, dynamic installation. 'Design has a power, our job as creatives is to interpret and simplify the world around us,' he said during a talk as part of the fair's programme. 'But also to bring complexity to some aspects to create empathy in people and curiosity to learn.'
Design Miami is on view until 10 December 2023
Convention Center Drive & 19th Street
See more design highlights around town during Miami Design Week 2023
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
Zagato’s design language defines the new AGTZ Twin Tail bespoke sports car
The AGTZ Twin Tail by La Squadra and Zagato is a limited-edition grand tourer inspired by an iconic 1960s racing car
By Jonathan Bell Published
Wallpaper* returns to Milan Design Week with a new exhibition at Triennale
Announcing Wallpaper* Class of ’24, our upcoming showcase of emerging global design talent, held at Triennale during Milan Design Week (16 – 21 April 2024) in collaboration with AHEC
By Rosa Bertoli Published
NoMad London introduces afternoon tea with a New York twist
NoMad London serves up an afternoon tea menu spanning from elegant finger sandwiches to elevated New York street food classics
By Tianna Williams Published
Paulin Paulin Paulin puts a fresh twist on a design classic for Basic.Space
Paulin Paulin Paulin collaborates with online marketplace Basic.Space on a unique colourway for its ‘Groovy’ armchair
By Adrian Madlener Published
Kohler and Samuel Ross made a bold splash at Design Miami 2023
Kohler and Samuel Ross’ studio SR_A debuted the ‘Formation 01’ faucet at a hotly hued and interactive Design Miami installation
By Simon Mills Published
Alcova's Miami debut embodies the city's mix of chill and speed
Inside the Miami debut of Milanese design show Alcova, set within the iconic 1950s Selena Gold Dust Motel
By Maria Sobrino Published
More design in Miami: things to see in town this weekend
From Design District installations to the new disruptive design fair, highlights for design around the city
By Rosa Bertoli Published
Fernando Laposse creates a flower garden for Maison Perrier-Jouët at Design Miami 2023
Perrier-Jouët enlisted Mexican designer Fernando Laposse to interpret its Art Nouveau values with a Design Miami 2023 installation titled ‘The Pollination Dance’ (on view until 10 December 2023)
By Rosa Bertoli Published
Vincent Van Duysen’s stone furniture explores sensuality and culture
Vincent Van Duysen’s new furniture collection for stone specialist Arca is unveiled at Design Miami 2023
By Rosa Bertoli Published
Best Body Slammers: Japanese female wrestling meets design
The Sukeban female wrestling league made its Miami debut in December, with a championship belt by Marc Newson, hats by Stephen Jones, creative direction by Olympia Le Tan – and a win in the Wallpaper* Design Awards 2024
By Maria Sobrino Last updated
Nifemi Marcus-Bello makes an impression at Design Miami 2023
Nifemi Marcus-Bello takes us behind the scenes of his new works, now showing at his solo booth with Marta Los Angeles at Design Miami 2023
By Pei-Ru Keh Published