In our second interview about Design Miami, we catch up with the organisers who gave us the lowdown on all the ins and outs of the event, including an appearance from singer/actress Beyonce.
The organisers of Design Miami share some of the gossip with us from the event.
What was the mood like at Design Miami considering the current economic climate?
We were pleased that the mood was upbeat - collectors are buying in a thoughtful, measured fashion and museum groups are taking advantage of more favorable prices to add more design to their collections, which will have a tremendous long-term benefit. Our attendance was up by 10% year over year – with an international mix of collectors, curators, museum groups, designers, journalists and celebrities. We defied the predictions of a quiet fair, without question!
Who were the most popular designers and what were the most popular pieces?
Our designers of the year, the Campana brothers, continue to attract the attention of the design community, and the site-specific work diamantina which they created for the show combined with the lounge they designed for HSBC private bank, made them very visible. As usual, our galleries and satellites presented a broad spectrum of material: Albion Gallery had sold three pieces, while on the first day Kaikai Kiki sold twelve of Takashi Murakami’s flower balls, including three large ones at 120,000 USD each.
A private collector ordering Sebastian e’s branch bookshelf from Cristina Grajales, for a double height child’s room, with the intent of making it an entire ‘tree’. Johnson trading gallery sold a dining set by Max Lamb and multiple consoles, cabinets (worth 45,000 USD) and stools by Aranda/Lasch.
Chandeliers were another source of interest, with four clients ordering Pieke Bergmans’ ‘light blub’ chandelier from Priveekollektie Contemporary Art/ Design, and several customers measuring for Ross Lovegrove’s floor to ceiling Swarovski chandelier. Alef, the first show from the Al-Sabah Art & Design Collection set to open in Dubai in March 2009, almost sold out, with sales including a Bokja bench to Princess Firyal of jordan.
Designer Pieke Bergmans’ blown glass pieces were hugely popular at Priveekollektie Contemporary Art/Design Gallery and Al-Sabah art & design collection. Studio Job’s whimsical furniture pieces for Moss gallery were eye-catching.
What makes Design Miami different from the rest of the big design events?
Design Miami/ is the most prominent and substantive forum for international design, representing a convergence of commerce and culture. Its annual shows in Basel, Switzerland (June) and Miami, USA (December) bring together the most influential designers, collectors, dealers, curators and critics from around the world. The galleries and satellite exhibitions represent the highest-end of the design market, both in value of pieces and their designs. Design Miami/ also sets itself apart from other fairs with unique cultural programming (design talks, satellite exhibits, design awards) which makes design accessible to the general public.
Were there any celebrities perusing around the fair?
Celebrity and VIP visitors this year included John Dempsey, Holly Hunt, Beyonce, Jay Z, Ivana Trump, Faye Dunaway, Tomas Maier, Dasha Zhukhova and Robert Polet. Design Miami/ also attracted the highest press figures of any of its previous events, with esteemed editors including Italian Vogue’s Franca Sozzani and NY Times’ Stefano Tonchi.
How do you react to the criticisms against design/art?
Design Miami/ is focused on gathering the global design community together and creating the world’s most dynamic forum for experiences that are both cultural and commercial. The criticism or comments on the sector do not influence how we create our programming or manage our business. Clearly, the world economy has changed tremendously – and we can all be sure it will change again – but our aim remains the same. And historically, eras of flux and uncertainty can act as fertile breeding grounds for designers and artists’ creative exploration, so it will be interesting to see the material being created during this time!
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