In the Mix
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!
The New Figuration at Friedman Benda
Now showing: New York’s Friedman Benda presents The New Figuration, an exhibition curated by Glenn Adamson that considers the current trend towards figurative representation in design—and its pressing relevance. “Design is inherently figurative,” Adamson notes. “After all, chairs have arms, legs, a back and seat. Yet this potential has remained largely implicit in modern or contemporary design.” The show brings together the work of seven contemporary designers who embrace the figurative, each one presenting a distinct perspective: Saelia Aparicio, Carmen D’Apollonio, Yining Fei, Anna Aagaard Jensen, Toomas Toomepuu, Chris Schanck, and Barbora Zilinskaite. Adamson observes: “Above all, figuration necessarily raises a completely different set of criteria: who an object is meant to represent, as well as what.” Open through April 19th.
Johannes Nagel at FUMI
In London, Gallery FUMI has just opened the doors to FARBFELD, a solo show featuring 19 new, experimental pieces by acclaimed German ceramicist Johannes Nagel. The exhibition’s title comes from the German word for “color field,” and references both post-war abstract painting and Nagel’s own painstaking work in developing innovative new color combinations and glazes. On view through May 7.
Big Woods at Cristina Grajales
At Cristina Grajales in New York, you’ll find Big Woods, a new collection of wooden objects from Brooklyn-based designer Aaron Poritz. The evocative, often dreamy forms range from sculpture to functional furniture pieces—including a vanity, desk, bar, floor lamp, and coffee table. The work is framed as an ode to the Massachusetts woodlands of Poritz’s youth, and the pieces, which Portiz describes as “abstractions of the human body,” are constructed from a variety of subtractive fabrication processes—hand and robotic carving, charring, and stack lamination—in bleached ash and ancient oak. Open ’til April 21st.
No Monument at The Noguchi Museum
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in New York presents No Monument: In the Wake of the Japanese American Incarceration, an exhibition featuring experimental sculptural and photographic works by a focused selection of Japanese American artists. Guest curated by Genji Amino with Christina Hiromi Hobbs, the show features work by the likes of Ruth Asawa, Isamu Noguchi, and other luminaries, as well as works made by as yet unidentified Japanese Americans in the concentration camps, which now reside in the collection of the Japanese American National Museum.
No Monument marks the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 (signed on February 19, 1942), which authorized the forced removal and mass incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans by the US government during World War II. Today, at a moment when anti-Asian sentiment and hate crimes are at a shocking high, when the lessons from our collective history can feel threatened by rising xenophobia and racism, projects such as this feel all the more urgent—and powerful. On view through May 15.
Sweet Water in Madrid
As part of Madrid Design Festival, CentroCentro has organized Sweet Water, an exhibition centering around designers’ responses to the issue of water scarcity. Curated by Ana Domínguez Siemens, Sweet Water showcases 60+ works by international designers, bringing together objects related to water storage, distribution, and purification solutions, projects designed to raise awareness, and a selection of furniture, fabrics and garments made from plastic removed from the ocean. Participating designers include Álvaro Catalán de Ocón, Jaime Hayon, Shahar Livne Studio Makkink & Bey, Patricia Urquiola, and Studio Sway, among others. Open ’til August 21.
Sporarium at Friends Artspace
In late 2021, Margaret Bakke opened the doors to Friends Artspace, a new art and design gallery set in a renovated, detached garage beside her suburban family home in Arlington Virginia. The space has quickly made a name for itself, thanks to strong exhibitions featuring work by the likes of Misha Kahn, Anna Aagaard Jensen, Sabine Marcelis, Brit van Nerven, and others. The latest exhibition, Sporarium, features fantastical pieces by Brooklyn-based, Japanese lighting designer and ceramicist Yuko Nishikawa. Her delightful, often creature-like ceramic pendants and lamps—all organic forms and soft colors—feel equal parts whimsical and cool. On view ’til May 27th.
Jane Atfield at Emma Scully
New York’s Emma Scully Gallery celebrates the 30th anniversary of British designer Jane Atfield’s RCP2 Chair—the first piece of furniture made exclusively from consumer waste recycled plastics—with an exhibition and re-edition. Following the debut of her first recycled plastic chair at her 1992 RCA graduation show, Atfield developed MADE OF WASTE, an agency for recycled materials, where she explored new ways to incorporate recycled materials in design. The colorful RCP2 chair, whose simple form was inspired by Gerrit Rietveld’s 1923 Military Side Chair, championed the radical honesty of its materiality, where the former life of the chair as waste-consumer product is exposed. (A blue MADE OF WASTE edition went on to be included in the permanent collections of the V&A, The Design Museum London, and the British Crafts Council.) Scully has commissioned a series of re-editioned chairs, produced by the RCP2’s original plastic manufacturer, Yemm and Hart, along with the production of a unique table. On view through April 30.
Donté Hayes: Future Artifacts
In Miami, Mindy Solomon Gallery is currently showing Future Artifacts, an exhibition spotlighting American ceramicist Donté Hayes. Hayes draws on inspirational sources as rich and varied as science fiction, hip hop, African diasporic experiences, pop culture, personal history, and beyond. The new show features his latest, intricately crafted pieces—part of an ongoing series Hayes began during his time as a graduate student, sparked by feelings of isolation he experienced as a Black man in that space. Describing the work, Hayes says, “I compare the construction and deconstruction of materials to the remix in rap music and how human beings adapt to different environments and reinvent new identities… These modern artifacts preserve, empower, and document the past and present to initiate healing and understanding for the future.” On view through April 30th.
Ingrained at Superhouse
NYC’s Superhouse Vitrine presents Ingrained, a group exhibition of six women and non-binary artists and designers working with wood. In addition to spotlighting these makers’ impressive talents and the medium’s versatility, founder Stephen Markos notes that the show also aims to challenge the traditionally male-dominated industry. “This exhibition does not purport to be a conclusive survey of women and non-binary makers working with wood, as most of the artists and designers on view are just from New York City. But it is meant to generate discourse about the lack of representation today and in some small way work to rectify that disparity.” Featured artists include Sarah Burns, Natalie Ochoa, Nifemi Ogunro, Isabel Rower, Myriam Simard-Parent, and Shaina Tabak. Until May 8th.
Extended: Bas van Beek’s Shameless
The Wolfsonian-FIU in Miami has announced it is extending Dutch designer Bas van Beek’s acclaimed Shameless show, which launched last December, through August 7th. Perhaps best known for repurposing historical design, van Beek’s work blurs the lines between old and new, turning admired, familiar objects into unexpected contemporary work. His US solo debut features projects that respond directly to the Museum’s collection—such as a heretofore unmade Frank Lloyd Wright design for a porcelain coffee service. Describing the idea behind the show, the designer tells us: “Shamelessness is liberating. It gets you out of thinking modestly or according to the rules that the discipline of design imposes on designers—those modern rules of innovation and originality that don’t recognize how much we owe to our ancestors. Shamelessness allows you to honor what has been done properly by reusing it for today.”♦