Fashion brands pop up at Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach
Last week in Miami, while the focus of the event was the voracious consumption of contemporary art and design, visitors were never far from the influence of a fashion house or two.
Gucci sponsored a small exhibition of work by artist Kris Knight - brooding boys painted in pastel tones - and Bisazza showed the mosaic designs, launched earlier this year in Milan, that converted iconic Pucci prints into dazzling wall treatments. A new design in cream, sea green, navy and brown, had been specially created for Miami. 'I love the way the tiles bring texture to the patterns,' said Emilio Pucci's creative director Peter Dundas. 'It reminds me of the mosaics in San Marco. It's sort of timeless.'
Over at Design Miami, Fendi's furniture arm teamed up with Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci of Dimore Studio. The current darlings of the fashion pack (they've recently worked with Bottega Veneta and Hermès) translated Fendi's luxurious ethos into a flesh coloured shorn mink daybed, and buttery leather armchairs, while a monumental shelving system, with thin coloured glass panels, looked like a modern, 3D stained glass window.
At Swarovski the issue was sustainability: 'They're trying to figure out how to use less water in their industrial process,' explained Margaret Cavenagh, the interiors director at architect Jeanne Gang's Chicago studio. Huge images of melting glaciers by photographer James Balog lined the walls of the booth where a central table was pitted with holes, like more melting ice. 'We want to start the conversation,' said Cavenagh.
After last year's success during Art Basel Miami Beach in building a-never-before-constructed beach house originally designed by Charlotte Perriand in 1934, Louis Vuitton jumped forwards four decades to produce 18 pieces of furniture designed by Pierre Paulin in 1972 for Herman Miller but never realised. 'Nicolas Ghesquière had asked to use the 'Osaka' sofa for his Cruise show in May - he's a collector of my father's work,' explained son Benjamin Paulin. 'So we told him about these unused designs, eh voila!'
They included the delightful floor-hugging 'Tapis-Siege' seating, with a triangular construction that can be reconfigured in many different ways. 'My father's ambition was always to put modernity into people's houses,' said Paulin. Bally, meanwhile, had erected one of Jean Prouvé's 1948 pre-fabricated houses in the garden of the Delano and filled it with 'minimalist sketches' of furniture forms by French duo Kolkoz, alongside American artist Zak Kitnic's exclusive series of metal shelving bearing a hermit crab printed pattern.
Not far from the Louis Vuitton show in Miami's sparkling Design District, a store called Mr Nobody and Mr Somebody had also popped up, offering a wildly eclectic mix of whimsical products designed by Sharon Lombard and made in Ghana, South Africa and the US (from golden chickens to walking sticks inscribed with slogans and vinyl flooring from a photograph taken in Rubens house) alongside clothing from the archives of Walter van Beirendonck and Bernhard Willhelm. 'My work's about curiosity and chaos,' said Wilhelm, sporting a violet baseball cap with a South Beach logo. 'It's made in Japan and Belgium. But we popped up in Miami, can you believe.'