Object of My Affection
At Design Miami/ Basel 2023, the prevailing trend is organic, crafted, intimate, and inviting
In its 17th edition, Design Miami/ Basel has become a reliable indicator of what’s hot in the collectible design market. If we were to encapsulate in one word the prevailing trend evident across the show floor this year, it would have to be “biophilia.”
While each of our 28 gallery exhibitors have curated bespoke presentations around their respective areas of expertise, so many of the objects and vignettes on view at Design Miami/ Basel 2023, as an ensemble, sing a harmonious chorus celebrating the timeless beauty of nature.
Think undulating, organic forms expressed in richly warm woods, ceramics, and woven fibers, enlivened by the come-hither textures that arise from traditional, handcrafted processes.
The biophilic vibe, no doubt, has been amplified by the strong showing of works, both historical and contemporary, created by artists, designers, and makers from regions well known for drawing inspiration from the natural world, namely Scandinavia, Brazil, and Japan.
New York gallerist Erik Thomsen, a long-time specialist in Japanese art and design, emphasizes the respect for nature that pervades the work he represents, including baskets woven from rapidly regenerating bamboo and screens crafted from locally produced paper and crushed minerals.
“From earliest times,” he says, “Japan has set the global standard in careful use of resources. This care stems partly from the traditional reverence for nature rooted in the animism of Shintoism and the Buddhist quest for unity with the universe. It has also been spurred by practical needs. As inhabitants of a mountainous country with limited cultivable land, Japanese artists and craftspeople have always strived to the make best use of renewables that assure their long-time livelihoods.”
For Design Miami/ Basel 2023, Brussels-based gallerist Pierre Marie Giraud, specialized in contemporary decorative arts, has broadened his offering to include the work of three masters of Japanese porcelain: Imaemon XIV, Kakiemon XV, and Yuki Hayama.
“Hailing from the renowned Arita region, which has been producing porcelain since the early 17th century,” Giraud tells us, “these artists have garnered immense acclaim and recognition in the realm of ceramic art.” He adds, “Their influence transcends Japan's borders, resonating notably in Europe, where they have served as a significant source of inspiration for European porcelain manufacturers.”
Other standout organic beauties at the show this year were created by mid-century luminaries like Hans Wegner (Denmark), Birger Kaipiainen (Finland), José Zanine Caldas (Brazil), and Paul László (USA), as well as contemporary rising stars like Gjertrud Hals (Norway) Kostia (France), and Kuwahata & Wintherto (Denmark/Japan), to name a few.
Scroll on for a photographic tour of some of our favorite biophilic moments at Design Miami/ Basel 2023...
The 17th edition of Design Miami/ Basel is open to the public through June 18, 2023. Tickets are available for purchase online here.