Object of My Affection

Design of the Times

Design Miami

Ringing in the new year with 10 uplifting, of-the-moment objects

A heartfelt Happy New Year to the Design Miami/ community around the globe! As we embark on our next journey around the sun, let’s mark the occasion by setting positive intentions and wishing peace, health, and joy for all in 2023.

We’re feeling grateful. While there’s much to be done to manifest the world as it should be, we recognize how lucky we are to do what we love—supporting amazing talents, collaborating with brilliant partners, and finding endless inspiration in the extraordinary creativity that permeates the landscape of design.

To ring in 2023 and spread cheer to our design-loving friends, we’re sharing a handful of fresh, vibrant design objects that capture the mood of the moment and lift our spirits as we look forward to what’s to come.

 

Frank Chair by Bradley L. Bowers (2022), represented by Emma Scully Gallery

Photo © Emma Scully Gallery

If you’re not already keeping a close eye on designer-maker Bradley Bowers, consider this your wakeup call. As the New York Times recently wrote about the New Orleans-based rising star, “Bowers’s designs share a propulsive motion, each one an expression of the artist’s desire to stretch the boundaries of what an object can look like.” Unveiled at Design Miami/ 2022, the limited-edition Frank Chair pays homage to the gravity-defying, iconoclastic work of starchitect Frank Gehry. In a twist all his own, Bowers energizes his chairs sinuous structure with bright orange and jewel green digitally-printed upholstery.

 

Four Walls 3 by Zero Stress (2022), represented by Il·lacions Design Gallery

Photo © Il·lacions Design Gallery

We cant help but love “Zero Stress,” the moniker chosen by Joan Tarragó and Soem for their artist collective. And as for the work itself, the Four Walls series, we get a kick out of it both as a clever riff on Andy Warhol’s iconic Brillo Boxes and as an inventive contribution to the current movement to bring street art into gallery and institutional contexts. The Barcelona-based artist-makers hope this body of work shines a light on their hometown’s rich legacy of street art, which so many have tried to erase (literally). It’s all about leveling cultural hierarchies to make the joys of artistic expression more accessible to all.

 

Glazed Ceramic Stool I by Hun Chung Lee (2022), represented by R & Company

Photo © R & Company

Mastery over materials is a wonder to behold, and Hun Chung Lee is a true master of the ceramic arts, especially traditional celadon glazes fired in hand-built kilns. Born and based in Seoul, Lee works across scales, from tabletop objects to monumental installations, always with the goal of honoring and enlarging Korea’s deep artisanal heritage. In his hands, hard materials are transfigured to appear soft and organic, and flat surfaces are suffused with a sumptuous depth.

 

Circles and Lines Chandelier II by Jamie Harris (2022), represented by Todd Merrill Studio

Photo © Todd Merrill Studio

Jamie Harris has pursued mastery of his craft with meticulous dedication. Following years of study at prestigious institutions like the Pilchuck Glass School and apprenticeships with renowned talents like Josiah McElheny, the NYC-based glass artist manipulates molten silicon as if it were paint, achieving ethereally hued sculptural objects that dance with ambient light. Recently, Harris harnessed his extraordinary glassblowing skills to create one-of-a-kind chandeliers. The alluring new collection is the very definition of functional art.

 

Sea Anemone 26 by Pia Maria Raeder (2022), represented by Galerie BSL

Photo © Galerie BSL

“Magical, emotional, intriguing beauty.” These are the words that Parisian gallerist Béatrice Saint-Laurent offers when asked to describe the astonishingly naturalistic forms that Pia Maria Raeder achieves with simple, beechwood rods. Notably, the German artist-maker came to her practice following a career in broadcast journalism. Her mother’s unexpected passing inspired her to find her voice in handcraft. The design world has been head-over-heels with her coral-like Sea Anemone series since it launched in 2016. That 12,800 plain wood rods could become a gorgeous totem like this—so intricate, so life-like—boggles the mind.

 

Ornament/Cube by Edith Lundebrekke (2021), represented by Format Oslo

Photo © Format Oslo

The sum is far greater than the parts in the work of Norwegian artist-maker Edith Lundebrekke. Using only wall-mounted wooden slats—the sides of each painted in a contrasting colors—she creates mathematically-grounded patterns that elicit a surprising interplay between light, shadow, and movement. Though modestly composed, the ocular effect is enchanting. In Lundebrekke’s view, patterns connect to the heart of who we are. “It’s a really, really important part of being human,” she says, “which we really need in our time.”

 

Suku 1 Red by Niko Koronis (2018), represented by Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Photo © Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Inspired by Josef Albers’ legendary Homage to the Square series and the Bauhaus artist’s long-long obsession with the subjective experience of color, Milan-based architect-designer Niko Koronis layers perfect cubes of monochromatic resin—nested one inside the next—to create his meditative Suku collection. These fascinating functional objects invite us to look harder, tune in to what we see, and enjoy our hardwired transcendental response to perceptual play.

 

DRx Quilted Lounge Chair 5 by Darren Romanelli (2022), represented by Friedman Benda

Photo © Friedman Benda

Last year, Friedman Benda invited multidisciplinary creative director Darren Romanelli—aka Dr Romanelli or DRx—and his wife, ceramics artist Candice Romanelli, to collaborate on a joint show. Opening on the Los Angeles-based couple’s 15th wedding anniversary, the site-specific installation they co-created evoked their shared home, celebrating their ongoing creative dialogue and how they inspire each other to delve deeper. Layered patchwork motifs imbued the works with a spirit of connection, resilience, and continuity—most charmingly so in DRx’s oversized easy chairs upholstered in flamboyant vintage quilts.

 

Puppy Pouffe by Marcantonio (2022), represented by Patricia Findlay

Photo © Patricia Findlay

Much like a real puppy, the Puppy Pouffe is pure delight. This luxuriously shaggy, handcrafted seat, available in a range of colors, is the brainchild of Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba. “I’ll never give up on irony,” the young-at-heart Italian designer says, “because irony is a serious matter. If a good idea is fun, I can’t resist realizing it.” Cheers to bringing more fun into the world.

 

Reach-able Moment by the Haas Brothers (2022), represented by Gallery All

Photo © Gallery All

The mind-bending, dreamscape universe of LA-based design stars Simon and Nikolai Haas debuted in China last month with Clair de Lune at Shanghai's Gallery All. Among the show’s sublimely crafted psychedelic objects—including tapestries, mirrors, and furniture—one in particular pulled our heart strings: Reach-able Moment. Cast in bronze, the gibbon-esque creature extends its gangly arm skyward, holding aloft a mysterious glowing orb. Reach-able Moments diminutive face is unreadable, leaving the viewer to detect hope, generosity, acquiescence, or boredom. In a recent interview, Nikolai dropped a clue to the provocatively enigmatic quality that pervades the work: “It’s definitely supposed to take you back to childhood… it’s meant to free you from preconceived stereotypes or rules in how you interact with the world and yourself.” ◆

RELATED ARTICLES

Extraordinary Environments
In the Mix
Extraordinary Environments
Design Miami
One of the most overheard comments at Design Miami/ 2022 last month was that the exhibitors’ installations looked esp...
The Tectonic Master
Masterpieces
The Tectonic Master
Design Miami
In the 20th century, Joaquim Tenreiro carved out a new path for Brazilian furniture, both literally and figuratively....
Matter at Hand
Curriculum Vitae
Matter at Hand
Design Miami
*This story was written by Hamish Andersen, and originally appeared in Miami Design District Magazine, under the titl...