In the Mix
Top 10 Historical
Our stellar award jury selects standout historical designs on view at Design Miami/ 2020
Just before Design Miami/ opened its doors on Friday, a jury convened to review every piece in the show and select the “Top Ten” designs in two categories, historical and contemporary. Our stellar jury included Miami design collector and connoisseur Al Eiber, Wolfsonian–FIU Chief Curator Silvia Barisione, Design Miami/ Director of Exhibitions Jillian Choi, and New York architect and design expert Lee Mindel, who served as Jury Chair. With so much exceptional material to choose from, the task wasn’t easy. But after some spirited deliberation, here are the pieces that came out on top in the category of historical design.
In the historical category, Best in Show was awarded to Olde Hope Gallery’s antique wood walking sticks. Crafted in the US between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, each cane is crowned with an archetypal carved fist. This unusual collection charmed the jury with its timeless expression of freedom, diversity, and panache. The gallery had the canes photographed against an American flag quilt backdrop, which perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the show this year.
Given Design Miami’s America(s) theme of this year, many of the Top Ten historical designs allude to significant moments in American cultural history. Number 2 on the list is a drawing by Paolo Soleri, who moved to the Western US in the 1960s and began creating work that embraces the utopian ideals of 20th-century counter-culture movements.
One of only three Hessian Hill chairs from 1931 that are still known to exist, this work by American artist-craftsman Wharton Esherick is as rare as it is beautiful. The jury were thrilled at the find.
And the list continues with…
“In the historical category, we start with a celebration of emancipation and freedom,” explained Mindel, “and end with a piece by George Nelson that expresses all the optimism of the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York.” What more could you hope for from a design show dedicated to “America(s)”? Congratulations to all of the winners—and to all of the Design Miami/ 2020 exhibitors—for making this exceptional year’s show such a success.
Photos © Kris Tamburello for Design Miami, © World Red Eye, or courtesy of the exhibitor