This month would have normally welcomed flocks of design aficionados to the historic Swiss city of Basel for the summer edition of Design Miami/. Joining a growing list of canceled art and design events, the fair was first postponed from June to September, before being scrapped altogether due to COVID-19. Instead of going dark, however, the fair has been exploring ways to support its international roster of design galleries. It quickly got to work launching its first-ever retail platform, as well as a selection of commissioned works on paper by some of the world’s biggest designers, artists, and architects, with proceeds supporting areas most affected by the pandemic.
“We believe that our new online platform will be a valuable addition to the Design Miami/ portfolio and become a destination where visitors can browse and purchase the best in collectible design from the foremost experts in the field as they would at our fairs,” says Design Miami/ CEO Jennifer Roberts.
The new Design Miami/ Shop, which launched on Thursday, June 25, features 800 pieces from 52 international galleries. Almost every gallery that was due to participate has contributed works to the platform. Visitors will find objects starting at just $100, all the way up to exceptional historic works like a demountable home by Jean Prouvé for a cool $1.5 million. Collectors can browse the catalogue by product, era, and gallery, as well as find specially curated areas, such as Contemporary Ceramics, Brazilian Modernism, and French Mid-Century.
As the pandemic unfolded, it became increasingly important to use the fair’s network for the greater good, too. A collection of 100 limited-edition, one-of-a-kind drawings and illustrations by leading design talents was created in partnership with Anava Projects, an organization recently formed by curators Anna Carnick and Wava Carpenter to support “design for good.”
The designers were asked to create works that described their experience during the pandemic. Featuring contributions by the likes of Annabelle Selldorf, Humberto Campana, David Adjaye, and Formafantasma, they will be available for purchase via the design fair’s new Shop platform, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting GlobalGiving’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. This initiative directs resources to the evolving frontlines of the crisis around the world and helps essential workers in areas that have been most devastated by COVID-19.