In the Mix

The Golden Age

Maria Cristina Didero

Ahead of the 2022 Design Miami/Basel fair, curator Maria Cristina Didero expands on the theme of this year’s presentation.

Drifting, oscillating in the unknown, we can only aim for The Golden Age.


The curatorial theme The Golden Age wishes to offer a variety of points of view and experiences from the striving world, following two years of the pandemic. Often invoked, not only in times of turmoil, The Golden Age epitomizes hope, lighting the path towards our highest aspirations, calling for flexibility, adaptation, and most of all power, talent and a certain kind of ingenuity. In a time in which human beings are challenged in unprecedented ways, The Golden Age could become a source of inspiration to envision a brighter future for our planet and us all.

The Golden Age is a widespread concept, a shared notion of general society’s well-being. A desired achievement, this utopian time is a reverie inhabiting our minds, a peaceful moment, a wish we make for our future. Envisioned as prosperous and harmonious, The Golden Age is propulsive of technological and creative developments, benefitting Earth and people; it fuels our appetite for an ideal, joyful—yet imaginary—living.

Design Miami/ Curatorial Director Maria Cristina Didero; Photograph by Stefan Giftthaler

History has proven that every moment of crisis is also an occasion for change. Challenges have always brought humanity forward: human beings have come up with answers to the world’s most pressing questions, more often in times in which the very roots of our lives are tested by external forces, when it seems we have no control. So The Golden Age serves as a dreamland–it is clearly not the time we’re living yet–but it presents an energetic wish, a needed destination to head toward and focus our forces. Envisioning this era of harmony and optimism, we can allow ourselves to experiment, think, and wonder, to evolve and explore our past, present, and future.

Throughout the coming year, at each of the three editions of Design Miami/ 2022, the exhibiting designers, the objects on display, the inspirations that have arisen, the conversations that have been spurred, the theme of The Golden Age will look at and articulate different temporalities and locations to establish cultural connections and conversations. Floating and dancing through time, we begin in the past at Design Miami/ Basel, where some of the world’s  most inspiring historical pieces of furniture will be on view. We’ll manifest our roots at this fair’s edition–proudly exhibiting our history—but not only. Renowned and pioneering pieces by masters like Ponti, Le Corbusier, Sottsass, and Perriand will reassure and inspire us. Quietly embedded in our collective imagination, these items are visual, physical records of our evolving existence. They might serve as a reference, but should never be idols. 

Confident of our origins and past, the Paris edition will focus on the greatly overlooked present – offering a wide range to explore. By celebrating and honoring our today—by truly embracing those whose work reflects the world around us—a sense of identity and self-recognition will permeate. With promises from the past and hopes for the future, we try to trace our current reality. A time that is lived rather than acknowledged, the focus on our present allows The Golden Age theme to permeate the exhibition space as an increasingly intensifying wish. A rich dialogue will ensue, addressing the most relevant issues of the world of culture and beyond.

Finally, in Miami, The Golden Age looks to the future and eradicates the barriers that divide humans from nature, high and low culture, luxury and pop, rich and diffused materials, old from new technique. While looking to the future, the legacy of the past should become a source of inspiration for shaping our next world. The Golden Age: Looking to the Future is diverse, inclusive, open. Here, the future, sprawling with fresh conversations and positivity, will greet us with beauty and bliss: We’ll look for the right questions rather than correct answers.

At its core, The Golden Age is an expression of our collective inner force, a reminder to use our wit to overcome difficulties, and to experience a new sense of harmony, with greater respect for human beings and our planet. The Golden Age is a state of mind and a prospect: With optimism, we are out to seek the best expressions of its formidable imaginative power. ◆