Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019

In Pictures | Step back to the future at Design Miami

Words by . Photographs by

From Robert Wilson's childhood memories to pint-sized furniture by Isamu Noguchi

This year, Design Miami celebrates its 15th anniversary in its new home in Pride Park, next to the convention centre. From space-age jewels to Japanese baskets, here is our pick of what not to miss at the fair.

Paul Frankl,  Set of “Speed” lounge chairs and coffee table (around 1933), Moderne Gallery, $250,000 for the three: The Austrian designer created this set for his New York City home; known as “Speed” chairs because of the sense of motion conveyed in their lines, they represent one of his early experiments in cork. These low-slung chairs are rare in that Frankl used sheets of the material for most of their structure. “It is among the most important sets he created,” says the gallery’s founder Robert Aibel. “I’ve been hiding them away for a couple of years.”

Gerrit Rietveld, Yellow Beugel chair (1927), executed around 1930 Galerie Vivid, $65,000: Rotterdam’s Galerie Vivid was awarded a gong for the best historical work at the fair for this rare piece by the De Stijl architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld. The overpaint has been removed to reveal the original yellow hue. “We haven’t seen a Beugel chair in better condition than this,” says the gallery’s co-founder Aad Krol.

Maeda Chikubosai I, Square Splayed Handled Flower Basket (1940-45), Erik Thomsen Gallery, $3,000-$55,000 (baskets): The New York gallerist nearly sold out his display of finely crafted Japanese flower baskets at Design Miami/Basel in June and he appears to be on track to do the same here in Miami. Before the fair opened to VIPs on Wednesday, fellow exhibitors had already snapped up five pieces. This bamboo and rattan example by Maeda Chikubosai I (1872-1950) is the stand-out piece on the stand. It comes with a lacquered bamboo tube for holding water and its own box, specially commissioned by the artist.

Maeda Chikubosai I, Square Splayed Handled Flower Basket (1940-45), Erik Thomsen Gallery, $3,000-$55,000 (baskets): The New York gallerist nearly sold out his display of finely crafted Japanese flower baskets at Design Miami/Basel in June and he appears to be on track to do the same here in Miami. Before the fair opened to VIPs on Wednesday, fellow exhibitors had already snapped up five pieces. This bamboo and rattan example by Maeda Chikubosai I (1872-1950) is the stand-out piece on the stand. It comes with a lacquered bamboo tube for holding water and its own box, specially commissioned by the artist.

Emmett Moore Express (2019), AGO Projects, $20,000: In addition to the woodblock screen by Pedro Reyes and Fernando Laposse’s pink furry benches on the stand of the first-time Design Miami exhibitor AGO Projects is Emmett Moore’s colourful shelving unit made from old T-shirts. The Miami native is interested in the global flow of products, in this case how used clothing is collected in bulk by recyclers in the US, brought to Miami to be sorted and then transported by cargo ships to the Caribbean and beyond where it is then sold on.

Emmett Moore Express (2019), AGO Projects, $20,000: In addition to the woodblock screen by Pedro Reyes and Fernando Laposse’s pink furry benches on the stand of the first-time Design Miami exhibitor AGO Projects is Emmett Moore’s colourful shelving unit made from old T-shirts. The Miami native is interested in the global flow of products, in this case how used clothing is collected in bulk by recyclers in the US, brought to Miami to be sorted and then transported by cargo ships to the Caribbean and beyond where it is then sold on.

Robert Wilson, A Boy From Texas (2019), Cristina Grajales Gallery, $500,000: The New York dealer Cristina Grajales has given over her stand to a multi-media installation by the US stage director Robert Wilson, who worked with the Corning Museum of Glass in New York to create blown and cast glass pieces that reference his childhood experience of hunting deer with his father. Collectors can purchase the entire installation, one of the three large deer for $42,500 or a vignette comprised of one pyramid and five deer for $40,000 to $55,000.

Robert Wilson, A Boy From Texas (2019), Cristina Grajales Gallery, $500,000: The New York dealer Cristina Grajales has given over her stand to a multi-media installation by the US stage director Robert Wilson, who worked with the Corning Museum of Glass in New York to create blown and cast glass pieces that reference his childhood experience of hunting deer with his father. Collectors can purchase the entire installation, one of the three large deer for $42,500 or a vignette comprised of one pyramid and five deer for $40,000 to $55,000.

Isamu Noguchi, cyclone child’s table, manufactured by Knoll International (1950s) and Harry Bertoia child’s chairs, manufactured by Knoll International (1950s): Honey, Sophie and Oscar Humphries “Many Modernists designed furniture for children,” says Oscar Humphries, who with his wife Sophie and 15-month-old daughter Honey is presenting a display of pint-sized furniture by Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia and Alvar Aalto, among others. The trio have joined forces with the arts education charity ProjectArt; the display includes a series of imaginative chair designs drawn by children aged four to 17 and all profits will benefit the charity.

Isamu Noguchi, cyclone child’s table, manufactured by Knoll International (1950s) and Harry Bertoia child’s chairs, manufactured by Knoll International (1950s): Honey, Sophie and Oscar Humphries “Many Modernists designed furniture for children,” says Oscar Humphries, who with his wife Sophie and 15-month-old daughter Honey is presenting a display of pint-sized furniture by Isamu Noguchi, Harry Bertoia and Alvar Aalto, among others. The trio have joined forces with the arts education charity ProjectArt; the display includes a series of imaginative chair designs drawn by children aged four to 17 and all profits will benefit the charity.

Roberto Lugo, Street Shrine 1: A Notorious Story (2019) Wexler Gallery; $160,000:  This trio of ceramic pieces, two urns and a child’s teddy bear, is inspired by the makeshift memorials for gun violence victims that are popping up on streets across the US. Graffiti and hip-hop references often feature in the artist and activist’s work; these pieces are decorated with images of hip-hop giants Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, both victims of gun crime.

Roberto Lugo, Street Shrine 1: A Notorious Story (2019) Wexler Gallery; $160,000: This trio of ceramic pieces, two urns and a child’s teddy bear, is inspired by the makeshift memorials for gun violence victims that are popping up on streets across the US. Graffiti and hip-hop references often feature in the artist and activist’s work; these pieces are decorated with images of hip-hop giants Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur, both victims of gun crime.

Paul Frankl, Set of “Speed” lounge chairs and coffee table (around 1933), Moderne Gallery, $250,000 for the three: The Austrian designer created this set for his New York City home; known as “Speed” chairs because of the sense of motion conveyed in their lines, they represent one of his early experiments in cork. These low-slung chairs are rare in that Frankl used sheets of the material for most of their structure. “It is among the most important sets he created,” says the gallery’s founder Robert Aibel. “I’ve been hiding them away for a couple of years.”

Paul Frankl, Set of “Speed” lounge chairs and coffee table (around 1933), Moderne Gallery, $250,000 for the three: The Austrian designer created this set for his New York City home; known as “Speed” chairs because of the sense of motion conveyed in their lines, they represent one of his early experiments in cork. These low-slung chairs are rare in that Frankl used sheets of the material for most of their structure. “It is among the most important sets he created,” says the gallery’s founder Robert Aibel. “I’ve been hiding them away for a couple of years.”

David Watkins, Voyager (1985), Didier Ltd, £42,000: Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing and the cult classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Didier and Martine Haspeslagh have designed a space-age display worthy of the out-of-this-world jewellery by designers who championed new materials such as Wendy Ramshaw and Caroline Broadhead. This piece, which is comprised of five neoprene-coated steel and wood neck rings, is by David Watkins, the special effects designer for the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

David Watkins, Voyager (1985), Didier Ltd, £42,000: Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing and the cult classic The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Didier and Martine Haspeslagh have designed a space-age display worthy of the out-of-this-world jewellery by designers who championed new materials such as Wendy Ramshaw and Caroline Broadhead. This piece, which is comprised of five neoprene-coated steel and wood neck rings, is by David Watkins, the special effects designer for the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey.