Susanne Fritz

Author

Susanne Fritz
Zürich   Switzerland

Design Miami/ Basel 2011


For the first time since it was founded in 2005, Design Miami/ Basel was this year under the new direction of Marianne Goebl, who curated the trade fair with an expert eye. In February 2011 she followed in the footsteps of Ambra Medda who, after splitting up with her partner Craig Robbins, also lost her commitment to her position as director of their joint baby, as was indicated at last year's press conference.
 

This trade fair, which takes place every year during Art Basel, has now become an established brand that partly owed its rapid success to the extensive connections of the glamorous couple Craig Robbins and Ambra Medda, although these are now no longer together.
They recognised that Art Basel is the ideal place for a simultaneous, exclusive design trade fair which would attract the attention of a dense network of collectors, art and design connoisseurs and - not least - art investors with deep pockets. Both have excellent connections with established design dealers and galleries, in particular with Samuel Keller, who was in charge of Art Basel at the time.
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Marianne Goebl, the new director of Design Miami Basel, curated the trade fair with an expert eye

In addition to the presentation of the young and experimental designs of the 'Designers of the Future', great value has in the past always been attached to presenting established dealers in vintage design exhibiting rare pieces created by famous designers of the Modernist movement, pieces which were easily recognisable and were therefore ideal as a status object.
One good reason for this may well be that Ambra Medda was the daughter of a design dealer and Modernism was omnipresent.

Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Kreo as one of the first galleries risked placing contemporary design in the art sector

Under Marianne Goebl, who spent many years with Vitra and has a close knowledge of the design market, these values have come to focus on a selection of galleries which skilfully present contemporary design, with Kreo as one of the first galleries to risk placing contemporary design in the art sector.
Following this pioneering example more and more galleries have discovered design objects as art. In contrast to the presentations put on by the vintage galleries, which are reminiscent of showrooms and inherently turn them into dealers in Modernist antiquities, most art galleries now make a careful selection of collections of contemporary product design, which is presented as art and also gives the designer the artistic liberty provided by the experimental one-off piece.

The 'W-Hotel Future Award 2011' was won by Asif Khan, Studio JUJU and Mischer'Traxler.
Asif Khan presented a spectacular installation by the name of Cloud, which from a number of vessels emitted small clouds which little by little fell from the sky once more.
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Asif Khan presented a spectacular installation by the name of Cloud, which from a number of vessels emitted small clouds which little by little fell from the sky once more.

With 'Relumine' Mischer'Traxler gave concrete shape to the abstract concept of the beam of light in the form of a neon tube which connects two lamps. The idea is as simple as it is ingenious. The fact alone that two lamps make use of a shared light source transforms them into a new object.
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
With 'Relumine' Mischer'Traxler gave concrete shape to the abstract concept of the beam of light in the form of a neon tube which connects two lamps

Studio JUJU's AT lamp flirts with the shape of a stool, although the modified scale and the proportioning of the legs ensure that there is no confusion. In spite of this the positioning of the lamps on a table or on a shelf creates an unusual effect, in that the archetypical form is inextricably connected with the act of sitting.
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Studio JUJU's AT lamp flirts with the shape of a stool

It is worth commenting on the overall layout of Design Miami/ Basel, because from the gallery which runs all the way around the upper floor you have a good view of the lower floor with its intelligent visitor guidance. Instead of straight aisles, small open spaces are created at regular intervals among the stands, providing facilities for refreshments and conversation over a drink. In this way the eye is drawn away from the linear, and the result is a layout with many of the kind of corner stands coveted by exhibitors.
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
From the gallery which runs all the way around the upper floor you have a good view of the lower floor with its intelligent visitor guidance

In the interests of the objects on show the trade fair architecture of the stands themselves had been kept unadorned, with the red Prouvé structure of the Jousse Enterprise gallery from Paris making an especial impact. Philippe Jousse regards the presentation of the Prouvé furniture as important in the context of his architecture, because it has the same modular approach, in which every element has its own validity: "As a dealer, his furniture almost instinctively appealed to me first, because they constitute the initial elements of an integral approach. That is also why it was of special importance to organize an exhibition at scale 1 of his architectural elements, considering that each segment can be featured individually and has its own conceptual autonomy."
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Philippe Jousse of Jousse Enterprise galllery regards the presentation of the Prouvé furniture as important in the context of his architecture

The Patrick Seguin gallery also dedicates itself to the great architect, who perfected the modern modular method of construction. Two teams assemble and dismantle prefabricated housing for the victims of the Second World War. Only a few examples of the 6x6 metre bungalows have been preserved, although a large number of them were transported in flat-pack format to a range of different places and were put up within a very short time for the homeless population.
Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Two teams of Patrick Seguin gallery assembled and dismantled Prouvé's prefabricated housing for the victims of the Second World War

Design Miami/ Basel 2011
Architectural models of Jean Prouvés prefabricated housing for the victims of the Second World War

Jean Prouvé received a medal of honour for developing the housing. Much more remarkable, however, is the fact that a product of economic necessity arising from the basic need of a stricken generation to have a roof over their heads, is now traded as a work of art.

Design Miami/ Basel has also not lost its rather superficial qualities like the ability to attract celebrities and get the lenses of the photographers focusing on the VIP visitors rather than on the exhibitors: Naomi Campbell was there, complete with oligarch and entourage for the purpose of securing the best pieces at the preview stage - however, she had to be patient..they will be on show until the end of Design Miami/ Basel.