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Creative salvage has a renaissance at Design Miami/Basel

At the design fair, contemporary designers are creating collectible rarity through the judicious use of discarded and salvaged material

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Friedman Bend's booth at Design Miami/Basel © James Harris

Friedman Bend's booth at Design Miami/Basel © James Harris

Misha Kahn at Friedman Benda

Winner of the Best of Show Contemporary Work 2021, 32-year-old Misha Kahn continues to blaze a trail as a modern pioneer of salvaged design. Working in the legacy of Creative Salvage, the 1980s, London-based punk movement, the work on show here highlights Kahn’s ability to transform industrial materials found near his studio in Brooklyn, New York.

Gallerist Marc Benda calls Kahn “a natural scavenger.”

“He cannot help himself,” he says. “Kahn is fluid—he’s happy to work between noble materials and someone else’s trash. He doesn’t make a distinction between the two.” Kahn’s prices range from $30,000 to $70,000.

Design Miami Base Camp gets a booth for the first time this year © James Harris

Diego Faivre at DMBX

DMBX, short for Design Miami Base Camp, has a physical booth for the time at Design Miami this year. It is designed, says the vice president of fairs Grela Orihuela, “as an an entry point for the next generation of collectors.” Prices range from as little as $50 through to $2,500.

Front and centre is the Dutch designer Diego Faivre, who practices Minute Manufacturing. Creating furniture from materials found on the street, Faivre charges by the minute; the price of each work is determined by the time it took him—the minutes are imprinted, like a signature, on each piece.

Everyday Gallery at Design Miami/Basel © James Harris

Lionel Jadot at Everyday Gallery

At Antwerp’s Everyday Gallery, new work by Lionel Jadot—a fifth generation chair designer—is perhaps the most extreme example of creative salvage. “I was born in the workshop,” Jadot says. “As a child I played with everything I found there—they were my toys.”

The designs at Design/Miami are a collage made fro, “bits and pieces” collected from road trips across the world. He compares his practice to a form of poetry, mixing materials “that should not be together”—like a table made from VHS, or a lamp on which limpets cling. Prices range from €1,900 to €25,000.

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