For its 16th edition, Design Miami/ Basel will center on the theme of “The Golden Age: Rooted in the Past.”
But the hybrid in-person and virtual design fair is not just about what’s behind us, says new curatorial director Maria Cristina Didero. “The theme is a direct reflection on the times through which we are living,” she says. “We currently find ourselves in a period of crisis, both for humanity and for the planet. However, periods of crisis have historically been followed by periods of great change and revival, driven forward by urgency and necessity. My theme is a direct invitation, or better a wish to reflect on how innovation in the arts, design and technology could lead us to a brighter future.”
Eros coffee table (c.1970s) by Angelo Mangiarotti presented by Morentz Gallery. Image courtesy of Morentz Gallery
Everything from rare historical objects to never-before-seen contemporary pieces will be on display at the event, which will take place from June 14-19 at Messeplatz in Basel, Switzerland, with over 50 exhibitors, more than 20 of whom are brand new to the event. As part of its digital component, there will be opportunities to shop the show floor online, as well as virtual tours and talks. “Design Miami/ has diversified its offering as a multidimensional platform,” Didero says. “The fair now offers a truly hybrid model, opening its content up to international audiences. Our hybrid talks program will be available both in-person and digitally, so that we can share timely conversations to audiences all over the world. We will also offer a shoppable online experience that ties into the content available on the show floor, engaging audiences and collectors who will not be able to join us in person.”
But many are expected to return in person, as well. “We’re delighted to see such enthusiasm from the galleries to return to Basel in June,” said Jennifer Roberts, CEO of Design Miami/, the Switzerland-based event’s sister show, in a statement.
CHOC CHISEL, 2022 by Marie Piselli at Marie Piselli, courtesy of Marie Piselli.
For her first edition, Didero has created a new element to the event—Podium, a curated selling exhibition of museum-quality works, also focused on the “Golden Age” theme. Podium will feature historical and contemporary designers, including a two-seater armchair dubbed How High the Moon by Shiro Kuramata, presented by Friedman Benda Gallery. The piece reinterprets the traditional upholstered sofas—visually fragile yet sturdy. Podium will also feature a series of vases, Sakura TRP by Maarten Vrolijk, presented by Galerie Scène Ouverte, which pushes the boundaries of traditional glass blowing, and mystical and precious jewelry pieces by Daniel Kruger, shown by Galleria Antonella Villanova.
“I have always taken a humanistic approach to my curatorial work—I am deeply fascinated by how people react to objects, and how this in turn shapes creative ideas,” Didero explains. “I am looking forward to seeing how people respond to this year’s curatorial theme, particularly though the Podium exhibition. It was very interesting putting together this exhibition in close collaboration with the gallerists, as the take on the thematic could get very personal.”
(Design Miami/ Basel’s Podium exhibition works will be for sale on www.designmiami.com, starting on June 14.)
Photo: Millefiori Lamps (2021) by Joy de Rohan Chabot, presented by Galerie Chastel-Marechal. Courtesy of Galerie Chastel-Marechal
Also new this year: The inaugural Special Satellite Projects, “which offers a series of collaborations providing varied and exciting presentations around the fair, including a large-scale installation from Superblue that will take over the ground floor event hall,” Didero says.
One returning element of the Basel event is The Design Miami/ Curio platform, in which 18 designers will present surprising cabinets of curiosity. “The Curio platform is designed to offer an alternative to the gallery booths,” Didero explains. “It presents immersive environments around a single theme, offering ‘cabinets of curiosity’ that punctuate the fair’s exhibition program with inventive and thought-provoking snapshots of the contemporary design landscape. It is a very interesting and intriguing program.”
This year’s Curios offer a unique perspective on contemporary and historic design, featuring work from around the world, including those from Ukrainian designer Victoria Yakusha and French designers Maria Piselli and Philippe Starck.
And while there will be talk about the past at the event, Didero is looking to the future, too. “I’m looking forward to building on the legacy of the previous curatorial directors, collaborating with the Design Miami/ team to demonstrate the power of design to make change, and sharing this power with audiences around the globe via our digital programming,” she says.