Even though DesignMiami/ has moved to Miami Beach, there are several related happenings taking place in their original home, the Miami Design District.
Globally, Craig Robins is considered a magnate—admired for his role as developer, a major art collector and the founder of top design fair, DesignMiami/.
But in Miami, those titles pale in comparison to the immense effect he’s had on the cultural development of the city. As we gear up to experience what will be the seventh edition of DesignMiami/, we caught up with the visionary in the confines of his Miami Design District offices to chat change, and how he plans to be at the forefront of some of the largest changes coming down the pipeline in sunny SoFla.
“This year’s fair will experience 50 percent growth in size, participation and quality,” Robins said. The fair runs from Nov. 30-Dec. 4, adjacent to its sister fair, Art Basel Miami Beach. It will undoubtedly be bigger this year—a new gallery program, satellite exhibitions and custom commissions demand it.
While DesignMiami/ will be in need of a larger stretch of road on which to plop its custom structure this year, it’s the fair’s reach that will expand most notably. With internationally recognized names in the worlds of art and design, not to mention fashion and automotive getting involved in unprecedented ways, all eyes will be on Robins’ DesignMiami/.
Robins’ life is as well curated as his fair—the artwork in his office has shifted since last we met; even his eyewear is on constant rotation from one highly designed frame to the next. So it’s only fitting, that he will sit at the helm of the fair lauded globally as a top forum for design.
The global recognition means a responsibility to tap in to talent from across the globe. The list of exhibitors reads like a United Nations of luminaries from America, Europe, Asia and Africa including this year’s Designer of the Year, London-based architect David Adjaye, whom Robins describes as “one of the visionary people of our generation,” and one who he’s sure “will continue to make contributions to the world of design.” And contribute he will. For DesignMiami/, Adjaye will present Genesis, his first large-scale piece of what might be described as architectural furniture, thus creating a space where fair visitors can interact as they enter or exit.
Other specially created aspects of DesignMiami/ will include commissioned concepts and structures by the major brands which have been a part of DesignMiami/ in a sponsorship capacity from its inception. Fendi, for example, is back and pushing the proverbial envelope, yet again. This year, Silvia Fendi, whom Robins dubs an “impeccable talent with the capacity to be on the edge and fresh and new, while still so solid and established at the same time,” has invited designer Elisa Strozyk and artist Sebastian Neeb to create this year’s Design Performance project. The project will live up to Fendi’s reputation for being able to use the finest materials in innovative ways. Pieces of 18th century wooden furniture will be transformed by these stellar talents, using discarded Fendi leathers to create a magical environment that will spill over into the Collector’s Lounge, hosted by Fendi for the first time this year.
Also at DesignMiami/, Nadja Swarovski will also make her glittering mark with a new Swarovski Crystal Palace installation, which will continue to deliver a message of light and design through the use of cut crystal. The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and Cartier are also exploring design through the house’s preferred medium—precious stones. Their Beatriz Milhazes-commissioned mobile “Aquarium” will be composed of some 15 rods adorned with pearls, spheres and precious discs.
Even though DesignMiami/ has moved to Miami Beach, there are several related happenings taking place in their original home, the Miami Design District. Pringle of Scotland will have a pop-up store to reveal their capsule collection in collaboration with British artist Liam Gillick. Buckminster Fuller‘s 1933 experimental vehicle, the Dymaxion car, which has been constructed by architect Norman Foster, will be on display as part of a satellite exhibition running in-step with the fair.