Chess set made up of golden and black weights
'Weighing Up The Competition', a chess set for the olympic-inspired Games exhibition at Gallery Libby Sellers, which saw several designers create their own contemporary take on the traditional chess salon
(Image credit: Rolf Sachs)

Last week, one of the world’s biggest art fairs flung open its doors to collectors, curators and the otherwise curious in their tens of thousands in Basel, Switzerland. And for the seventh year its glamorous younger sibling, Design Miami, proved that the appetite for 20th century and contemporary design collectables is as hearty as ever.

Walking into Design Miami has been compared to walking into the pages of an artfully-edited aspirational magazine. The organising team is rightfully proud of their ruthless selection process which, while keeping the fair 'boutique' in size, also makes sure that every piece on show is of high enough quality to grace the permanent collection of a world-class museum.

Like many magazines too, a working (if predictable) running order has now been established amongst the galleries, which this year numbered 35. With a solid turn out from the loyal repeat exhibiting dealers including Eric Philippe, Patrick Seguin, R 20th Century and Nilufar Gallery, among many others - fresh input this year also came from the likes of Galleria O. from Rome, Maria Wettergren from Paris and Salon 94 from New York.

There were a few notable highlights in the form of especially-commissioned works for the fair too. New exhibitor Galerie BSL from Paris, for example, delivered a stunning collection of nature-inspired works from French designer and interior architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance.

Meanwhile, London’s Gallery Libby Sellers invited a number of emerging and established designers to pay homage to the game of chess. Then there was the Brazilian Baroque Collection from Fernando and Humberto Campana at Galleria O., a collection that was developed for the astonishingly opulent interiors of the Cortona Gallery in Palazzo Pamphilj in Rome, and produced with materials and techniques celebrating traditional Italian craftsmanship.

At Cristina Grajales Gallery, an especially strong collection featured a wall of 'Occupy Chairs' by Sebastian Errazuriz: folding seats that double as protest placards. Alongside them, John Paul Philippe’s series of lamps were simply and quietly beautiful.

For those more interested in innovation and inspiration, the upper deck of the hall offered uplifting refreshment in the shape of Eyal Burstein’s Beta designs for Swarovski Crystal Palace, Fendi’s Craftica and the brilliant installations from the W Hotels Designers of the Future, Tom Foulsham, Markus Kayser and Philippe Malouin.

There was also another outing for the intriguingly evolving new BeOpen initiative - a global mission geared to fostering creativity and innovation - that was launched in Milan with generous funding from Russia’s Elena Baturina to the tune of $150m.

Between the selection on offer, the reportedly strong sales of the rest of the fair, and the buoyant mood, Design Miami Basel sent out a clear message. Which is that while the fiscal woes of the world might be providing much fodder and inspiration for artists and designers everywhere, they don’t seem to be discouraging the market for the work.

Multiple protest placards and posters with black writing around the room

At Cristina Grajales Gallery, an especially strong collection featured a wall of ‘Occupy Chairs’: folding seats that double as protest placards

(Image credit: Sebastian Errazuriz)

Swarovski crystal art display

Eyal Burstein’s 'Beta' collection for Swarovski Crystal Palace is an evolution of his Taxing Art project, which aims to challenge the traditional bureaucratic and economic obstacles imposed on creative practices

(Image credit: Eyal Burstein)

Two low seated armchairs with sculpture on table and hanging lights

Carpenters Workshop Gallery showcased works by the likes of Nendo, Studio Job and Campana Brothers

(Image credit: Nendo, Studio Job and Campana Brothers)

Flowery igloo outside exhibition hall

For Design Miami/ Basel, Dilmos Milano installed the gorgeous floral igloo that is Mazzolin di Flori, outside the exhibition hall

(Image credit: Andrea Salvetti)

Two mirrors with classical frames

Galerie Perrin showed a stunning pair of Trapani coral mirrors which stood out dramatically against the 20th century and contemporary focus of the rest of the fair

(Image credit: TBC)

Modern furniture including tables, sofa and accessories displayed in a gallery

The highly gilded Brazilian Baroque collection is the first of a series in which Rome's Galleria O. is inviting contemporary designers to rethink Italian traditions and craftsmanship

(Image credit: Fernando and Humberto Campana)

Gold frame holding a large black rock

Occasional table at Galleria O.

(Image credit: Fernando and Humberto Campana)

Textured plate resembling a fruit bowl

Many galleries made a feature of small yet highly collectable works this year, including ceramics and jewellery. This Finnish plate in the 1970s was given pride of place at Galerie Eric Philippe

(Image credit: Birger Kaipiainen)

Abstract white and black furniture pieces with modern lighting

First time exhibitor Galerie BSL from Paris showed Naturoscopie - a collection of one-off and limited-edition pieces . The designs, which feature subtly morphing light effects, are intended to evoke the feelings and emotions of being in nature

(Image credit: Noé Duchaufour Lawrance)

Lamp with golden lamp shade

Ouro Preto Floor Lamp at Galleria O.

(Image credit: press)

Wooden furniture pieces on display


(Image credit: Eric Philippe)

Chandelier with black frame and golden bulbs

Citylight Chandelier at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery

(Image credit: Frederik Molenschot)

Chess set made with modern pieces

chess set for Gallery Libby Sellers' Games exhibition. Hasan also helped with the creative direction of the exhibition

(Image credit: Simon Hasan)

Fabricated design with dark wooden walls and metal doors

Gallery Patrick Seguin reconstructed a prefabricated design from Jean Prouvé alongside designs from other 1950s French designers

(Image credit: Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier)

Contemporary furniture seating and low tables resembling droplets

Gallery SEOMI, from Korea, showcased new works in a collection that sees traditional Korean aesthetics and techniques applied to contemporary lifestyle and culture

(Image credit: Bae Se Hwa and Jang Jin)

Black and white tables with orange seat resembling a human behind

An exhibition of 1960s pieces by Roger Tallon at Jousse Entreprise

(Image credit: Roger Tallon)