First stop: Moorhead & Moorhead’s Design Miami/ tent exterior. The Cooper-Hewitt group was greeted by brothers, Robert (industrial designer) and Granger (architect), to talk about the dynamic canopied entrance to the design show – a bris soleil of hand cut, twisted vinyl strips that perform a dance of shadows on the ground. Taking a material cue from the tent itself, the designers took a very hands-on approach, experimenting with the material several months in advance until they hit upon the current configuration. Total time to cut, twist, and install? 2 weeks. And Designer of the Year, Konstantin Grcic was so inspired by the design that his installation, Netscape, right underneath the canopy, plays on the open, net-like quality of the design. Great place to meet, hangout, and swing. BTW: Everyone will have the chance to see more of Moorhead & Moorhead’s work next fall when they design the exhibition, Design with the Other 90%: CITIES.
Second stop: Venice Projects with Kiki Van Eijk and Joost van Bleiswijk, Dutch designers who exhibit internationally. Venice Projects develops educational opportunities for dialogue and experimentation with the use of glass in contemporary art. Kiki gave the group an articulate presentation of the glass objects in the show, all hand-blown on the island of Murano. Sleep, Eat, Think, Fun were just a few of the themes that she explored – all beautifully executed, humorous, and technically incredible.
Third stop: Industry Gallery presenting Tejo Remy & René Veenhuizen. Tejo gave us an introduction to his furniture. My first question – Is it a textile or is it concrete? It IS concrete that has been magically transformed by a textile. The furniture captures the blow-up quality of those 1960s inflatable marvels designed by Italian designers Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D’Urbino and Jonathan de Pas. Love the small coffee table!
Fourth stop: Cristina Grajales who always has a wide range of objects that exemplify extraordinary craftsmanship and beauty. Knockout works in her installation included Sebastian Errazuriz’s Piano Cabinet, whose ebony “keys” open up to reveal storage within. Contrary to its nickname, “porcupine”, the quills were invitingly interactive and visitors to the booth were having fun transforming the cabinet into a variety of shapes.
Fifth stop: Barry Friedman and his staff were on hand to present a selection of contemporary work by Ron Arad, Wendell Castle, Ingrid Donat and the Garridos. They also had a few of the Cabbage chairs, my personal favorite, by Japanese designers, Nendo. Made of the refuse pleated paper that is part of the pleating process in fabrics (think Issey Miyake), the challenge was to create something useful from it. Once the roll of pleated paper is peeled back like cabbage leaves, it becomes a chair. And in case you haven’t seen the Triennial yet, make your way to the Cooper-Hewitt, where the Cabbage chair is currently on view!
Sixth stop: Galerie Kreo presented a selection of works by renowned designers the Bouroullec Brothers, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Alessandro Mendini, Martin Szekely and the 2010 Designer of the Year, Konstantin Grcic. The Bouroullec Brothers 2010-designed leather lamp was superb and incredibly thoughtful in its design. Made out of leather, the lamps slide around on the leather rope but stay in place once you select the position. Something about leather and friction…
More to come on day 2…