In the Mix

Best In Show

Design Miami

Top Picks from Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai, presented by Poliform

This past week, Design Miami wrapped up its first major event in Asia: Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai. Produced in collaboration with Made in House, the program—presented both IRL and online—featured a curated selection of exceptional historical and contemporary design objects drawn from galleries and designers both within China and around the globe.

To add an extra dose of fun, the Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai team and event partner Poliform enlisted a jury of experts to review the onsite exhibitions and present Best in Show awards. This year’s stellar jury includes Beryl Hsu, Editorial Director of AD China; Guo Jiacheng, Editor-in-Chief of Wallpaper* China; Zhao Rong, Director of DesignSociety; designer Aldo Cibic, and  Sun Xinxi.  Editorial Director of Elle Deco China.

Scroll on to see the winners.


Best Historic Work/ George Nakashima Slab Coffee Table & Print/Music Stand, presented by Moderne Gallery

Works by George Nakashima. Photo © AgentPay

This unique George Nakashima Print/Music Stand (1981) employs a dramatic piece of English walnut in combination with American black walnut. Nakashima only made a handful of music stands during his life, and he crafted this particular piece so that the height could be adjusted, making it functional both as a print and music stand.

Meanwhile, beyond its stunning free-form top, the Slab Coffee Table (1956)—also in American black walnut—is a wonderful example of Nakashima’s interest in the history of nature. This specific slab contains a divot and two burn marks, which, rather than turning the designer off, were embraced and celebrated as part of the tree’s history, the tree given “a second life” in Nakashima’s expert hands.


Best Contemporary Work: Overall/ Lin Fanglu, presented by Art + Shanghai Gallery

Light and Hammer No. 3 by Lin Fanglu. Photo © Art + Shanghai

Lin Fanglu’s new work for Art + Design takes its inspiration—and materiality—from the ancient Dong craft tradition of hand-woven cloth known as “bright cloth.” Over 20 processes are involved —from dip-dyeing and laborious pounding to applying egg whites, until the textile is dried in the sun—to achieve its final, luminous look. The underlying structure also honors local heritage, using a hand-woven bamboo material technology.

According to Lin Fanglu, “During the time I lived and worked with the Dong minority and local craftswomen, I witnessed their hard labor every day, constantly pounding the fabric with a hammer to create new effects after each strike. Each piece of fabric is hammered ten thousands of times. The repeated pounding requires extensive time and physical strength. Dong women hammer out their tough and simple lives. Fiber is often considered a soft, ‘feminine’ material, but it can actually have a steel-like aspect. Like the visual effect of the artwork, the power of women is strong and indestructible.”


Best Contemporary Work: Innovation in the Making/ Thomas Heatherwick’s Friction Table

Thomas Heatherwick’s Friction Table. Photo © Heatherwick Studio

London-based designer Thomas Heatherwick’s dynamic Friction Table explores the ways in which furniture can adapt to varying spaces and needs. This very clever table can transform its proportions—using a pivot mechanism—from a smooth circle of 1.8 meters in diameter to an ellipse over four meters long, depending on users’ needs.

Marrying the innovative and the traditional, the limited edition Friction is made from aerospace-grade polished aluminum and clad in leather by Bill Amberg Studio; it is produced using techniques developed in robotics and aeropace, as well as traditional handcrafting processes.


Best Presentation/ PearlLam Galleries

PearlLam Galleries at Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai. Photo © AgentPay

First launched in the 1990s, and now with locations in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, PearlLam Galleries was the very first gallery dedicated to collectible design in China—and it’s always pushed boundaries. The gallery’s presentation at Podium featured a combination of bold works by both Chinese and international designers, such as Danful Yang, Ni Zhiqi, A. A. Murakami (aka Studio Swine), and Enrico Marone Cinzano.

From the Metamorphosed pieces by A.A.Murakami—gorgeous, experimental pieces inspired by traditional Chinese rock gardens, manifested in foamed metal—to Danful Yang’s unexpected Pack Me Softly work—handmade embroidery on canvas that reflect on the process and aesthetics of everyday packaging—and beyond, the gallery’s presentation brought together inspiring work that sang delightfully together, while every single piece demanded a second, closer look.


Rising Voice/ Zhou Yilun, presented by Gallery Sohe

Drunken Person, Practice Stool, and Vase by Zhou Yilun, presented by Sohe Gallery. Photos © Sohe Gallery

The Rising Voice award celebrates the gallery or designer with a powerful perspective that points to new and emerging ways of looking at design. This time around the honor goes to Zhou Yilun, a prolific young Hangzhou-based designer known for merging high and low art, who draws inspiration from a disparate array of global sources—Buddhism, European Old Masters, design icons, basketball and Hip Hop culture, the detritus of throw-away consumerist societies—and fearlessly mashes it all up together. The resulting works are dramatic yet accessible, frequently commenting on our current, consumer-driven, globalized landscape.

His work at Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai was presented by Sohe Gallery, and included a high density foam bench, stool, and vases, all striking forms that featured fabulous, colorful drips and splotches in striking colorways—at once irreverent and resolved.


Thanks so much to all our esteemed judges for their time and energy! And congratulations to all the winners!