Fun Rules at Design Miami/Basel with Whimsical Furniture, Lamps, and Livable Sculptures
The international jet set should approve.
To celebrate its 10-year milestone, Design Miami/Basel’s 45 exhibitors brought their A-game to Art Basel this year.
Art and design connoisseurs from around the world flocked to the convention center across the street from the main fair to see the most monumental reiteration of the fair so far, which included 12 founding galleries.
The Miami edition focused its attention on whimsical furniture, lamps, and other livable, functional objects (or completely non-functional but beautiful objects), while this year’s Basel edition is less constricted by space. As a result, the fair provides a treasure trove of brightly-colored mobile homes, and other uniquely-designed dwelling spaces (See What Design Miami Has That Other Fairs Don’t).
The center’s ground floor plays host to the fair’s first “Design-at-Large” sector, which was curated by hotelier and entrepreneur André Balazs.
Walking into the exhibit felt more like entering a less flashy car show, dedicated to beautifully designed mobile homes. As many of these objects would never fit into the typical gallery booth, this felt like the sister to Art Basel’s “Unlimited” fair, which debuted the same day.
For those with nostalgia for the 1970s, you can live out the itinerant artist lifestyle à la Marina Abramović and Ulay’s Volkswagen adventures with a pea-green Type 2 camper van, complete with plaid resting quarters and a working stove and sink (above).
Carpenters Workshop Gallery in Paris and London brought an incredible biomorphic abode by Atelier Van Lieshout called The Original Dwelling (above).
The white cavernous home resembled a hedonist’s fantasy; a suspended shower head floated outside, a carved crevice presented a perfectly-stacked bar, and a playroom and bedroom are illuminated by bubble-like windows. The structure itself could double as “nouveau” outdoor furniture.
Adjacent to Original Dwelling is a 2015 prototype of an emergency shelter by Better Shelter, a Norwegian social company formed from a partnership between IKEA foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The innovative house is made from recyclable plastic, steel frame, and uses solar panels to provide renewable energy; the structure comes in a compact box that can be assembled in just four hours and lasts up to three years. Astoundingly useful, the Better Shelter home highlights why design is a necessity to us, where at most times, it may seem to be frivolous.
When ascending the escalators to the gallery booth area, see visitors standing atop French architect Edouard François’s Flower House sipping champagne and looking into the titanium abyss. The architect describes the structure on the Design/Miami website as a “24-carat gold meteorite fallen from the sky in the center of the city of Basel.”
However, while its shiny yellow exterior draws you in, the practicality of the house seems to be lost once you enter its ill-lit interior.
Inside the gallery-sized booths of the fair upstairs is a beautifully crafted demountable home by master architect Jean Prouvé, adapted by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners at Galerie Patrick Seguin.
Accessorized with round canister-like pods for its kitchen and bathroom, no inch feels unnecessary. Its kitchen comes with all the essentials: a sink, two stoves, a microwave, and plenty of cabinet space, while its bathroom housed in another spherical hull has a toilet, sink, and shower divided by small wooden curves .
These mobile, or easily assembled, homes above feel like vessels, transporting you toward unexpected possibilities by superbly marrying form and function. Below, see a slideshow of the innovative designs we came across during the preview.
Design Miami/Basel 2015 takes place from Jun 15-21, 2015 in Basel, Switzerland.
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