In the Mix
Best In Show
Top picks from Design Miami/ Basel 2021
Amid an atmosphere of jubilant reunion, Design Miami/ Basel opened its 15th edition this week. Following 2020's hiatus, the international community that makes the fair great has come together to produce an especially beautiful show, full of masterpieces and new discoveries alike.
To add an extra dash of fun, Design Miami/ Basel enlisted a jury of experts to review the onsite exhibitions and present Best in Show awards. This year’s stellar jury includes architect Lee Mindel, art advisor Simon Andrews, art advisor Jeremy Morrison, Design Miami/ Vice President of Fairs Grela Orihuela, and incoming Design Miami/ Curatorial Director Wava Carpenter.
We spoke with Mindel to get the inside scoop. Scroll on to see the winners.
Best Gallery Presentation: Geoffrey Diner Gallery, Washington DC
Blue-chip gallery Geoffrey Diner, most well known for fine art, has debuted at Design Miami/ Basel with an impressive display of important and rare 20th-century works, representing the likes of Tiffany, Nakashima, and Campo & Graffi. As Mindel told us, “The provenance, curation, and presentation were impeccable.”
Best Curio: Americana: Industrial Design of the 1940s by Converso, Chicago in collaboration with USM Haller
Converso has a history of bringing delightfully surprising works to the fair, and this year was no different. The gallery presented a museum-worthy collection of mid-century American product design, including works by icons Raymond Loewy, Alexander Girard, and Charles and Ray Eames. “What an amazing—and gorgeously presented—history lesson,” Mindel observed.
Best Historical Object: Rotating Sculpture by Alessandro Mendini, presented by Galleria Rossella Colombari
Presented by Milan-based Galleria Rossella Colombari, this larger-than-life motorized mobile was designed by the late, great Alessandro Mendini for the Fiorucci in Verona in 1997. “This year marks the 40th year of Rossella’s illustrious career, and this piece is the perfect way to celebrate,” Mindel said.
Best Contemporary Object: Ammonoid Gamma by Misha Kahn, presented by Friedman Benda
The jury was bowled over by this gravity-defying chair from design world darling Misha Kahn, presented by New York Friedman Benda. According to Mindel, “Misha continues to astound us with his ingenuity; the plasticity of upholstery seems nearly impossible.”
Best Design at Large: State of the World by Mathieu Lehanneur
Design Miami/ Basel’s Design at Large program spotlights eye-popping, large-scale projects. This year, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur brought some poignancy as well. Created in response to the feelings of fragility that have resonated around the globe in the wake of Covid0-19, State of The World is a freeze frame of all living humans today in over 100 countries, illustrated in a collection of anodized aluminum works. “It’s important that we acknowledge the after-effects of the global pandemic,” Mindel noted. “These 3D forms remind us that we are all tied together.”
Shining Moment: Superblue’s DRIFT x Sou Fujimoto
The entrance to Design Miami/ Basel has never been more memorable, thanks to Superblue’s two part installation from Dutch studio DRIFT and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. “The combination of kinetic lights, dreamy museum, and unique structures offered a literally wonderful welcome to the fair and a calm place to congregate with friends and colleagues after so much time apart.”
Top 5 Historical Works:
The Mendini Sculpture may have won Best in Show, but the jurors spotlighted some additional historical works worthy of extra consideration:
Top 5 Contemporary Works:
Beyond the Misha Kahn chair, here are more contemporary pieces that caught the jury’s attention.