Friedman Benda

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All sales of these limited-edition pieces are final.

In the 1980s, there were few more innovative figures in American design than James Wines, of the architectural group SITE (Sculpture In The Environment), and the fashion trendsetter Willi Smith. At first glance, they seem as different as two designers could be. Wines, who emerged from the conceptual and land art movements of previous decades, is a wily deconstructionist, with a humorous yet incisive critical turn of mind. Smith (who died in 1987) was a wildly successful entrepreneur, whose brand Williwear helped to define the very concept of streetwear, bringing ideas from New York’s Black community into the mainstream. What they shared was a deeply individual and creative response to the built and inhabited environment; and a knack for appropriating forms and motifs and making them, inimitably, their own. Their celebrated collaboration, centering on Williwear showrooms (beginning in 1982) was a meeting of like minds. Both had their own reasons to bring the streetscape indoors, to an effect unlike anything either architecture or fashion had seen before, or since. The desk presented here at Design Miami/ is an edition of the one that Wines originally designed for Smith’s use – a powerful compression of complex architectural ideas into a single object.

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