Design Miami/2008 Curates a New Exhibition
PRESS RELEASE 2008
For the first time,'Design Miami/' curated an exhibition of contemporary and historical design, intended to compliment and unify the array of participants in this year's show through a single compelling theme. The exhibition, entitled
"Beyond Organic: Design in the State of Nature"
The exhibition offered an exuberant, witty and inspiring celebration of the natural world reflected through objects contributed by the show's galleries, sponsors and Design Talks speakers.
"Beyond Organic" was staged in the Collins Building, directly opposite the site of the new Temporary Structure created by Aranda/Lasch, in the Miami Design District. The exhibition enveloped the area housing this year's Design Talks and formed a dynamic meeting point for 'Design Miami/' visitors. This exciting project underscores Design Miami's commitment to providing a rich cultural program and cements its position as the preeminent international forum for limited-edition design.
The exhibition engaged nature in all its unruly complexity, commingling tropical plants with a collection of design objects that seduce the viewer into reflecting upon the relationship between the natural and the man-made.
The exhibition's title and theme respond as much to new directions in design as to current social issues, such as the desire to escape our super populated urban environments and a growing sensitivity toward environmental concerns. While Modernism has been a dominant twentieth-century aesthetic – with its chief concern to create functional, simplified forms suited to mass production – in recent years the field of design has opened to new forms of expression. Innovations and revivals in production methods are encouraging designers to create super-organic forms that were once difficult to sustain within the mass-market factory system. At the same time, numerous radical or craft-based twentieth-century designers who were once considered on the fringe of the mainstream are finding renewed appreciation.
The objects on show encompassed a broad spectrum of responses to the theme.
Some pieces represented designers working directly with 'raw nature', such as Julia Lohmann's Nesting Lamp made of kelp(2008), or Max Lamb's rough-hewn stone furniture(2007).
Others reflected a more opulent refinement, such as Maria Pergay's wood and metal screen(2006), or Fredrikson Stallard's agate-like Cavern benches(2008). Works ranged in scale, style and date, including a striking taxidermied Fox by Kelly McCallum(2007), a lacquered Iceberg bench by Zaha Hadid(2003), an iconic Cactus coat rack by Drocco & Mello(1972), and a monumental wood Totem by Alexandre Noll(1947).
While some objects directly imitated nature, such as Andrea Salvetti's Nido Seat(2007), which uses gold anodized aluminum wire to create real 'nests', or David Wiseman's plaster and ceramic ceiling installation of creeping vines(2006); others appropriated abstracted biomorphic and sinuous shapes, such as a graceful glass chandelier by James Lethbridge(2008) and a charming 'Polar Bear' table by Midori Araki(1999).
"In planning the theme for this December's show, we drew inspiration from the work of the Campana Brothers, our Designer of the Year Award winners, and Aranda/Lasch, our show architects, as well as from the unique, exceptional design collected by our participating galleries", Wava Carpenter, 'Design Miami/' Curator explains. "This exhibition gave us the opportunity to join forces with all of our partners to make a statement about design today."
In addition to collaborating with the galleries, 'Design Miami/' involved award-winning landscape design practice Font Designs in the exhibition's scenography. Font created 'islands' of grassy knolls and tropical verdure to provide settings for the design objects. The overall effect was a lush, sublime garden in which the designed and the undesigned become visually indistinguishable and delightfully confounded.
"We are extremely proud to be participating in one of the world's premier design fairs and are looking forward to showcasing Font Designs' creativity and passion for landscape architecture through our installation at Design Miami/ -- David Font, principal of Font Designs comments, "This year's theme was perfectly fitting for our firm since we are known for creating inspirational outdoor environments."
A 'state of nature', according to philosophical discourse, is the theoretical condition of mankind before the establishment of civilized law, without rules or obligations, only freedoms. The field of design currently finds itself in a new found 'state of nature', amid an atmosphere of autonomy and openness –- a world of possibilities. By embracing the irresistible power of natural beauty, "Beyond Organic: Design in the State of Nature" seeks to embody and celebrate today's heightened creative freedom.