In the Mix

A First Look: Design Miami/ 2021

Design Miami

Preview the December fair's return to Miami Beach exploring the timely theme Human·Kind

Get ready, design lovers! Design Miami/ 2021 is fast approaching. Returning to Miami Beach following last year’s pared back iteration in the Design District, the world’s premier fair for collectible design returns to Miami Beach, opening to the public on December 1st and promising an atmosphere of enthusiastic reunion.

Marking the debut of Wava Carpenter in the role of Curatorial Director, Design Miami/ 2021 will explore the theme Human·Kind. Through programming and installations, the show will spotlight design-led visions for a more equitable and interconnected future. As Carpenter explains, “The practice of design, at its heart, has always aimed to create a better future. But in recent years, as the global challenges that humanity faces have approached existential proportions, the future that designers envision increasingly demands a fundamental reorientation of what it means to be human in this world, calling on all of us to become better stewards of nature and of each other.”

uBhejane I (The Rhinoceros) by Madoda Fani for Southern Guild. Photo © Stephanie Veldmanu; courtesy of Southern Guild

A number of exhibitors will present works that embody the theme across a range of media, including AGO Projects, Friedman Benda, Jason Jacques Gallery, Side Gallery, Southern Guild, Volume Gallery, Wexler Gallery, Perrier Jouët, Lexus, and more. Visitors will also enjoy a wide array of contemporary works that represent of-the-moment materials and stylistic approaches. Think exceptional ceramics and design objects characterized by exuberant forms, fantastical conceptual narratives, and masterful craftsmanship.

Extraño 3 by Tanya Aguiñiga for Volume Gallery. Photo © Sam Vinz; courtesy Volume Gallery

To amplify the show’s fresh feeling, the Curio program, dedicated to rising-star talents, has been expanded, welcoming both familiar and new faces presenting highly focused, curated projects, such as Bea Interiors, Gallery ALL, Harry Nuriev, House of Today, J. Lohmann Gallery, Mercado Moderno, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Objective Gallery, Twenty First Gallery, and Tuleste Factory, among others.

Rendering of Khaled El Mays's Curio for House of Today. Photo © Khaled El Mays; courtesy of House of Today

As always, Design Miami/ will host a roster of world class galleries working at the forefront of the collectible design market: Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Hostler Burrows, Magen H Gallery, John Keith Russel, Moderne Gallery, R & Company, The Future Perfect, Todd Merrill Studio, and more. Upcoming highlights include masterpieces from icons of the 20th century such as Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Joaquim Tenreiro, and Verner Panton.

Kent Hall Floor Lamp by George Nakashima, 1986. Photo courtesy of Moderne Gallery

Notably this year’s fair also features the highly anticipated Tomorrow Land, a series of joyful sculptures, seating, and ornamentation accompanied by a VR-driven app designed in collaboration by creative studios Studio Proba and Enjoy the Weather. Curated by Wava Carpenter and Anna Carnick of Anava Projects and Design Miami, this site-specific, interactive installation—the winner of the popular Miami Design District Annual Commission 2021—will transform both the Miami Design District and the entrance to the Design Miami fair into a physical and virtual playground. Visitors can use the app to find a curated list of must-see Miami Art Week events and to “collect” and customize Studio Proba’s shapes and place their own custom totems throughout Miami and beyond.

Rendering of Tomorrow Land by Studio Proba. Photo © Studio Proba

While Carpenter is coming into this show for the first time as Curatorial Director, she’s actually been a beloved member of the Design Miami/ family since its earliest days. The modern and contemporary design specialist previously directed programming, commissions, and awards for Design Miami and more recently served as Curatorial Advisor to the fair. In addition, she is cofounder of Anava Projects, a curatorial agency with a strong commitment to design that makes a positive social impact. Anava Projects was instrumental in the launch of the new Design Miami online magazine and led the company’s philanthropic initiatives, specifically Design for Global Giving and Architects for Beirut, which raised funds for urgently needed relief efforts on the ground in response to the pandemic and the devastating blast in Beirut.

Mum Chandelier by Chris Schanck. Photo © Clare Gatto; courtesy of Friedman Benda

“It’s been a pleasure to come home to Design Miami and its inspiring community of design creatives and champions,” Carpenter says. Following the disruptions and adversities of the last few years, we are looking forward to being together again to celebrate the best of design more than ever.”

See you in Miami! ◆


Design Miami/ 2021 will open to the public in Miami Beach on December 1st and run through the 5th. The upcoming fair will offer guests both in person and online the opportunity to explore, shop, and engage in real time with this year’s rich offerings. Tickets available soon. Watch this space.