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Design Miami

Design Miami’s monthly, can’t-miss roundup of design world news and inspiration

Welcome to The Buzz, our monthly roundup of design world news and inspiration for Design Miami’s discerning community of creatives and collectors. Enjoy!

Roberto Lugo, Richard Marquis, and Sayar & Garibeh at R & Company

Roberto Lugo at work in his studio and The Day I Tried to Play Baseball (2023) in glazed stoneware. Photos by Joe Kramm; Courtesy of R & Company

The fall cultural season is upon us! And New Yorks R & Company is setting the tone for a rich and exciting season ahead with a trio of shows spotlighting its dynamic roster. 

First up, Roberto Lugo: The Gilded Ghetto presents new work by the acclaimed American ceramicist that marks an important shift in his practice. Broadly recognized for crafting ornate ceramics that honor his Afro-Latino heritage and the experiences of underrepresented communities, Lugo’s work consistently expands the voices celebrated within artistic practice. While past pieces often depicted important historical and cultural figures, his new work shares intimate narratives from his own life—personal stories with strong communal resonance. The Gilded Ghetto includes new life-size pottery, wall-mounted sculptural roundels, as well as Lugo’s interpretation of The Peacock Room at the National Museum of Asian Art.


“My purpose as an artist, and in this exhibition, is to tell stories from my childhood that also represent the lives of many people who otherwise are voiceless in contemporary art and craft.” —Roberto Lugo


Sayar & Garibeh's Chibroom Bench (2023). Photo by Carl Halal; Courtesy R & Company

In parallel, the gallery presents Sayar & Garibeh: Broomlithic, the Beirut-based design duo’s first US solo show. Inspired by Lebanese life and culture, the pair is known for experimental, playful designs that blend traditional craftsmanship with contemporary perspectives and innovation. Their NYC debut show features a selection of new furniture and objects that reflect the studio’s distinctive stone carving while paying tribute to the simple, functional broom. 

Crazy Quilt Coffee Pot (1979) by Richard Marquis. Photo by Tiffany Smith; Courtesy of R & Company

And Marvels of Murrine: The Artistry of Richard Marquis, focuses on the artist’s long-term engagement with and mastery of murrine—a centuries-old technique that allows for intricate glass patterning. Marquis is highly regarded for both his technical expertise and for harnessing traditional techniques to create new kinds of objects that embrace pop culture, social narrative, and humor. The exhibition includes a selection of murrine tea and coffee pots created between 1979 and 2005, including the iconic Crazy Quilts teapot series as well as Silhouettes and Stripes Teapot (1999),  which captures his early engagement with symbols of American patriotism and counterculture. September 7-October 27


Kristin McKirdy at Pierre Marie Giraud

Kristin McKirdy, Cibles, 2022/2023, © Hugard & Vanoverschelde Studio

In Brussels, Pierre Marie Giraud opens its doors soon to an exhibition spotlighting acclaimed ceramicist Kristin McKirdy. The Toronto-born, Paris-based talent is particularly known for both her technical mastery and her flat-cut geometric volumes, in which dull and rough skins conceal sleek, gleaming, colorful cores. Her upcoming show presents her popular “target” bowls, where vibrantly hued spots hide in crevices, as well as new works, including a series of large, double-walled containers; sculptural work that evokes human presence (often with a dose of humor); and an installation of matte and weathered ambiguous forms, punctuated by smooth colorful discs. September 7-30

Signe Emdal: Fantasia 

Silky Way (2023) by Signe Emdal. Icelandic wool, mo- hair, cotton warp. Photos © Kristine Funch; Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Maria Wettergren

Also this month, Danish textile artist Signe Emdal’s dreamy textiles land in Paris at Galerie Maria Wettergren. The solo exhibition, entitled Fantasia, will feature Emdal’s playfully romantic textile sculptures, handwoven in Icelandic wool. Taking inspiration from textile traditions from around the globe, as well as everything from science fiction to deep sea species, music, and more, the resulting, delicate works vibrate with the slightest air vibration, seemingly poised to come alive at any moment for viewers’ enjoyment. September 8-November 25. 

Stephen Burks: Spirit Houses

The Spirit House (2022) by Stephen Burks Man Made. The work is a contemporary altar for honoring lost loved ones inspired by Southeast Asian traditions of memorialization. Photo by Caroline Tompkins; Courtesy of the designer

On September 8, Chicago’s Volume Gallery opens its first solo show with American industrial designer Stephen Burks. Entitled Spirit Houses, the exhibition presents a collection of modern altars intended to affirm the importance of spiritual nourishment in our era—as well as design’s role in supporting humans’ healthy engagement with one another and our surroundings. Inspired by West African and Asian traditions of memorialization, Burks’ new pieces create space to honor the ideas and people we hold most dear—and to incorporate the sacred into everyday life.

The show expands on elements of Shelter in Place, Burks’ recent exhibition at High Museum of Art, which surveyed the past ten years of his practice and presented new, speculative pieces exploring radical design’s potential to address issues of belonging, loss, race, self-care, and spirituality in the wake of Covid-19 and global uprisings like Black Lives Matter. His new altars act as daily reminders of our connection to something bigger than ourselves. On view ’til October 28.

Life Cycles & Emerging Ecologies at MoMA

Glen Small's Drawing of a flying house (1973), from Biomorphic Biosphere Project, 1969–82.  Ink and watercolor on paper.  Collection of Glen Small; Courtesy of the artist and MoMA

New York’s MoMA kicks off its fall program with a pair of exhibitions that consider design’s role in carving out a healthier future for all. The first, Emerging Ecologies: Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism, organized by Carson Chan, presents both realized and unrealized projects addressing ecological concerns by architects who practiced in the US from the 1930s to ’90s. Over 150 models, diagrams, and more spotlight innovative, sometimes fantastical projects by famous and less familiar architects that reconstruct how the rise of the environmental movement in the US informed architectural thought. These are accompanied by seven newly commissioned audio recordings featuring contemporary practitioners—Jeanne Gang, Meredith Gaglio, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, and others—sharing their thoughts on what today’s architects can do to mitigate against climate change. September 17, 2023 - January 20, 2024

Cow Dung Lamps by Adhi Nugraha (2021).  Photo by Studio Periphery; Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The second, Life Cycles: The Materials of Contemporary Design, explores design as an agent of positive change through objects that highlight the entire life cycle of the materials from which they’re made. From bricks composed of crop waste and mycelium to honeycomb vases fabricated by bees, the objects on display demonstrate design’s capacity to offer new strategies to repair our planet. The show is organized by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, and Maya Ellerkmann, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design. September 2, 2023-July 7, 2024

Art & Nature at Cristina Grajales Gallery

From left: Sculptural Floor Lamp by Aaron Poritz and Whisperer by Xiao Mao, on view this month at Cristina Grajales in New York. Photos courtesy of Cristina Grajales

Also in New York, Cristina Grajales launches two shows inspired by the relationship between art and nature, both featuring exhibition design by interior designer Young Huh. The first, Fu Xiaotong and Xiao Mao: Recent Works—a collaborative presentation by Grajales and Chambers Fine Art—showcases Mao's organic plaster sculptures and Xiaotong's topographical paper investigations (the latter marked by delicate needlework) in dialogue with 20th-century furniture by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne. Meanwhile, Material Nature presents Aaron Poritz’s sculptural furniture and lighting, highlighting the natural patterns found in wood and hand-blown glass, and Randy Polumbo’s distinctive wall panels, alive with mycelium, embodying the magic of growth. ’Til October 29th


From Drawing to Design at ammann//gallery

Installation view of From Drawing to Design; Courtesy of ammann // gallery

Now showing: ammann//gallery in Cologne presents From Drawing to Design: Masters of the 80s, featuring standout works by pioneering postmodern design groups Studio Alchimia and Memphis in conversation with drawings and paintings of the era. The show features ten works on paper—including two tempera paintings, Looking Koto Ku Buildings from Sumida River by Bruno Gregori and Farfalle by Carla Ceccariglia—as well as fifteen iconic design pieces that represent the groups’ fearless approaches, such as Poltrona di Proust (pictured above), hand-painted in the style of pointillism, by Alessandro Mendini for Alchimia, and Shiro Kuramata’s minimalist Kyoto side table for Memphis. The show is curated by Gabrielle Ammann, and on view until October 20. 


Hamed Ouattara & Fernando Laposse at Friedman Benda

Dugu (Country) by Hamed Ouattara (2022); engine oil drums and sheet metal. Photo by Timothy Doyon; Courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist

This month in LA, Friedman Benda presents Bolibana, the American debut of Burkinabé artist-designer Hamed Ouattara. In the Bamana language of West Africa, Bolibana refers to the unusual end of a journey, or a transformation. Known for upcycling discarded materials, such as oil drums, into distinctively colorful works, Ouattara engages with industrial debris to offer an unexpected end to the story of waste and global trade—marrying traditional techniques and craft to comment on issues like overconsumption and sustainability. September 13-December 21

Avocado Daybed by Fernando Laposse (2023). Courtesy of Friedman Benda and Fernando Laposse

At its New York outpost, the gallery presents Fernando Laposse’s Ghosts of Our Town, the Mexican designer’s first solo show with the gallery. Laposse presents new pieces resulting from his ongoing material investigations of Mexican agricultural byproducts—specifically, corn, agave, and avocado. Following extensive research on the repercussions of trade and consumption on small farming communities in Mexico (which include environmental crisis, forced migration, and more), Laposse’s work—developed and crafted in close collaboration with residents of those same locales—draws an arc between disruption and restoration, dissolution and hope, with the aim of longterm healing and sustainability. As he says, “efforts to to regenerate the land go hand in hand with efforts to regenerate community.”  September 7-October 14

Abel Cárcamo at Galerie Scene Ouverte

Rhinoceros by Abel Cárcamo in stained solid ash wood (2023); Photo courtesy of Galerie Scene Ouverte

Chilean-born, Paris-based designer Abel Cárcamo’s very first solo show, Transición, opens next week at Galerie Scene Ouverte. The young talent’s handcrafted, sculptural furniture and objects are composed of noble materials like wood and bronze, and collectively celebrate the idea of transitions—between tradition and modernity, solid and void, thin and thick—that mirror Cárcamo’s own internal search for balance. On view in Paris September 6-November 4


Kostas Lambridis at Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Kostas Lambridis: Fused Before Charred table. Photo courtesy of Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Finally, Greek designer Kostas Lambridis makes his first stateside solo exhibition this month at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York. Reverse Fireworks in Slow Motion delves into the essence of his chosen materials, presenting nine new works in metal, wood, mineral, and plastic. Lambridis (a protégé of Nacho Carbonell), describes the act of working with each material, in moments, as awe-inducing, like that of “capturing the spectacle of a Fireworks in reverse slow motion.” The resulting forms challenge the idea of Fireworks as fleeting bursts devoid of lasting impact—rather they are meant to invite longterm fascination. September 8-November 23


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