Samuel Ross's installation with Kohler at Design Miami/
Samuel Ross’s installation with Kohler. Photography courtesy of Kohler Co.

Must-See Installations from This Year’s Design Miami/

After an inaugural Paris edition this past fall, Design Miami/ returned home for its 19th Miami Beach edition. As always, the fair at the Pride Park coincides with Art Basel Miami Beach, a tradition echoed in the summer’s Basel and fall’s Paris iterations as well. The show featured over 40 galleries and modest scale Curio presentations under the theme “Where We Stand,” organized by curatorial director Anna Carnick. Offering an outlook to the newest trends and experiments in contemporary design, the fair offers different perspectives for collectors, design experts, and enthusiasts. From objects fresh from the studio available for the avid buyer to cutting-edge statements pleasing the critical eye, the material on view spans a broad taste palette of contemporary design.

Standout Installations from Design Miami/ 2023

Atelier Courbet

Atelier Courbet’s booth tests the waters for two designers who will have solo exhibitions at the gallery’s Chelsea space in 2024. True to the gallery’s mission to bring established international talents to North America, Mexican object and interior designer Héctor Esrawe and French sculptor and designer Philippe Anthonioz will have their inaugural New York shows, respectively in the spring and the fall. Until then, the American collectors have a sneak peak at Esrawe’s soothing visual lexicon with a larger-than-life blackened aluminum light sculpture, titled Gear Cartela. Light is also the main source for Anthonioz who exhibits a trio of cast bronze tabletop lamps, each with a sculptural accent inspired by nature’s main sources, the Sun, earth and the Moon. The booth also features works by gallery designers known for their alluringly demure approaches to function and material, such as Hamza Kadiri, Jaume Roig, and Pieter Maes.

Hector Esrawe at Atelier Courbet.
Héctor Esrawe, Gear Cartela, 2023. Photography courtesy Héctor Esrawe and Atelier Courbet.

The Future Project

Ambition blends with retrospection at design powerhouse The Future Perfect’s booth where 18 gallery artists debut over 130 pieces in celebration of the bicoastal gallery’s 20th anniversary. In a suiting attempt to provide room to the objects of various scale and material, the gallery tapped USM Modular Furniture to design a nine-foot tall display case, composed of 124 twenty-inch glass cubes in which works by the likes of Reinaldo Sanguino, Chen Chen & Kai Williams, Dan John Anderson, or Bradley Bowers remain perched. Eric Roinestad’s stoneware busts with humanoid accents allude to displays of antiquity while on the opposite end, Autumn Cassey’s aluminum wire, plaster, apoxy, clay, paint, and resin pink flamingo lamps, separately titled John and Jackie, assume a contemporary tongue-in-cheek ease. Among pieces too large for the display case is Chris Wolston’s two terracotta chairs, titled Bouquet, with backs and legs occupied by botanical growths. 

Installation view at The Future Perfect booth.
Installation view at The Future Perfect booth. Photography courtesy of The Future Perfect.

Wexler Gallery

Philadelphia and New York-based Wexler Gallery brings a medley of roster designers, featuring works by Malene Djenaba Barnett, Jomo Tariku, Feyza Kemahlioglu and Andreea Avram Rusu. Personal geographies and their impact on the creative path is the running thread among the quartet, each distilling their distinct personal backgrounds through particular material choices and aesthetic drives. Ethiopian-American designer Tariku’s Meedo chair which was recently acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art appears in bronze as opposed to the original ebonized ash wood version, assuming the form of an Afro pick in the chair’s legs. Turkish designer Kemahlioglu translates light fixture design through her native’s less-known practice of carving a form of soft white clay mineral known as meerschaum. The elaborate carvings which also help the light shine through are accentuated with glass parts handblown in New York, resulting in both ornate and minimal suspended light fixtures.

Jomo Tariku, Meedo Chair, 2023
Jomo Tariku, Meedo Chair, 2023. Photography courtesy of Jomo Tariku and Wexler Gallery.

Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Another global market key player, Carpenters Workshop Gallery dedicates its booth to Dutch design. Given the gallery’s longterm representation of the Netherlands-born star designers Maarten Baas and Nacho Carbonell, the theme also provides an outlook to the gallery’s recent history. Light fixtures by DRIFT and Atelier Van Lieshout are joined by non-Dutch designers whose work carries hints from the tradition, such as Kostas Lambridis who indeed worked with Carbonell. The Greek designers’s dramatically-formed mixed media table salutes his teacher’s humorous and material-wise intriguing approach to function. Celebration also extends to the juxtaposition of a group of Haas Brothers sculptures, announcing the gallery’s co-representation of the duo with Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Atelier Van Lieshout, Girl Lamp 07
Atelier Van Lieshout, Girl Lamp 07. Photography courtesy of Atelier Van Lieshout and Carpenters Workshop Gallery.

Savannah College of Art and Design

Amidst the global gallery representation across the aisles, a booth by Savannah College of Art and Design offers a look at the school’s trajectory of contributing to the design sector. Artists and designers from the leading art school’s alumni and current fiber and jewelry departments display work through the lens of experimentalism. Wearable design is heavily represented in the selection with works combining cues from the natural world with traditional practices of making. The 2007 graduate Seth Carlson’s jewelry, for example, adapts elements from his observations of nature through his practice as a silversmith. Fiber is yet another thread across the booth, featuring material-conscious examples of soft design. The Quito-based 2018 graduate Paola Maldonado’s textiles assume established weaving methods through her minor degree education at SCAD’s accessory design program.

A textile weaving by Paola Maldonado.
A textile weaving by Paola Maldonado. Photography courtesy of Paola Maldonado and SCAD.

AGO Project

Among galleries from the Latin world, Mexico City’s AGO Project stands out with a solo presentation of Brazilian designer Rafael Triboli. The self-taught Sao Paulo-based designer’s furniture pieces blend familiarity of a contemporary presence with a sense of antiquarian mystery. A chair and a table in mahogany both hold round features and smooth finishes, accentuated by bits of wax diamond embedded throughout their surfaces. Both masculine and feminine, as well as sleek and ornate, the furniture pieces radiate an effortless chic despite of their intricate production process.

A chair by Rafael Triboli
A chair by Rafael Triboli. Photography courtesy of Rafael Triboli and AGO Project.


Kohler has collaborated with design superstar Samuel Ross for a ruby-hued installation of sinks with heavily geometric sculptural forms. The faucet comes out of the British designer’s agency SR_A is titled Formation 01 as a limited edition, blending a futuristic precision with fluidity of water. Its haptic orange color contributes to the element of domesticity while the monochromatic presentation at the 150-year-old manufacturer’s booth overall creates a hypnotic experience with two large screens running images of water. The fair is not the only space for Ross this year: Miami’s Design District has also unveiled the permanent installation of twelve public benches the Londoner designed in three different styles.

Samuel Ross's installation with Kohler at Design Miami/
Samuel Ross’s installation with Kohler. Photography courtesy of Kohler Co.


Londoner Gallery FUMI’s booth is dedicated to a range of international makers in various media, such as Max Lamb, Johannes Nagel, Lukas Wegwerth, Jie Wu, and Jeremy Anderson. Also the co-founder of the design studio Apparatus, Anderson brings a philosophical approach to light design with three human-sized lamps, each with distinct characters. Building parallels between the human experience and individuality of each object, he also utilizes clay as an ever-unique material with the promise of distinction in each object. Anderson renders the vertical lamps (which has human titles such as Coraline and Emmet) akin to the human form, with a head, a torso, and legs, while also dressing them abstract motifs and borosilicate glass bits to underline their craft aspects. 

FUMI's booth at Design Miami/ 2023
Installation view from Gallery FUMI. Photography by Osman Can Yerebakan.

Twenty First Gallery

Tribeca’s Twenty First Gallery joins the show also with a European grouping with the likes of Mattia Bonetti, Erwan Boulloud, Marcin Rusak, François Salem, and Nathalie Ziegler. Boulloud’s Primaire Cabinet is made out of polished and painted cast aluminum with bulbous features; both whimsical and stern, the furniture piece hides its gilded interior and black oak trim behind cabinet doors adorned with large motifs akin to the evil eye beads. Italian ceramicist Giuseppe Ducrot’s monumental mirrors have adorned the iconic Positano hotel Le Sirenuse and Christian Louboutin’s new boutique hotel Vermelho Melides in Portugal—at the fair, his considerably modest scale white mirror holds his signature traits of theatricality and exuberance. Bow-like sculptural accents protrude from the surface like drapes blowing in the wind while also hinting at Ducrot’s background in creating religious iconography for the Vatican.

Giuseppe Ducrot’s mirror at Design Miami/
A mirror by Giuseppe Ducrot. Photography by Osman Can Yerebakan.


Superhouse returns to the fair as part of the Curio section with a selection of intergenerational artists and designers, such as Aaron Blendowski, Alhild Kulper, Ellen Pong, and Sean Gertstley, each using bold colors and flamboyant statements in their approach to making. A standout in the presentation titled The Subversive Hand is West Coast artist Wendy Maruyama’s first furniture in over a decade after veering towards sculpture. Influence from three dimensional art is still visible, with brightly-colored polychrome floral patterns and geometric forms inside the wood cabinet. The Radical design-inspired furniture is not the only attraction at the Chinatown gallery’s booth: Superhouse has also dressed its booth with teal hue by the British paint and wallpaper manufacturer Farrow & Ball, titled Lobster No. CB7.

A new cabinet by Wendy Maruyama.
A new cabinet by Wendy Maruyama. Photography courtesy of Wendy Maruyama and Superhouse.

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