Step 1 of 2
Join Our Mailing List
Effetto is the marketplace connecting interior designers and collectors with curated selections of high-end furniture and collectibles from the world’s best dealers.

To ensure you get the most relevant news please let us know if you are:
Please select an option to proceed

Miami Art Week continues to grow its design offering

From material experimentation to contract lighting, and yes, collectible furniture, an ever-expanding design industry gains traction at the mammoth cultural event

For art world insiders, early December has always been reserved for Miami: massive gallery marketplaces like Art Basel take up shop for a short five-day run along the city’s palm-tree-lined beaches but also anchor an abundant array of off-site exhibits, showcases, and social happenings. In fact, some intrepid scenesters are known to travel down to the South Florida metropolis merely to take part in the star-studded party circuit the fair engenders. Catering to this crowd is a slew of luxury brands programming extravagant festivities billed with DJs and installation artists de jour. While high-profile collaborations abound, major musicians, fashion figures, and trend-setting influencers come into the fold.

In many ways, this evolving city festival paints a comprehensive picture of the contemporary zeitgeist, especially that of the United States. An eclectic offering of immersive installations, interactive displays, outdoor performances, and cutting-edge presentations that defy categorization expand from Miami Beach to Miami ‘proper’ neighborhoods like Wynwood and Brickell. Within this stirpot of commerce and culture, one can purse out messaging about identity, self-expression, society,  politics, ecology, materiality, and of course, aesthetics. There seems to be something for everyone. 

Entering the conversation as of late is the ever-stratified design industry. Playing off of major collectible fair Design Miami/, international talent collectives, boutique material purveyors, and even bluechip furniture manufacturers are making their voices heard. With major fashion brands mostly absent at Miami Art Week 2023—6-10 December—these consequential forces were able to have an even greater say over the attention span of more than 200 thousand visitors and local enthusiasts. Effect Magazine moves across different parts of town to highlight the key design-oriented activations that defined this year’s exhaustive offering. 

Miami Beach 

Drawing the crowds on the beach adjacent to the Faena hotel was Maze: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self installation by Sebastian ErraZuriz at Miami Art Week 2023 - Effect Magazine
Drawing the crowds on the beach adjacent to the Faena hotel was Maze: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self installation by Sebastian ErraZuriz at Miami Art Week 2023 (Photo: Oriol Tarridas)

Staged in a complex of tents across the street from the main convention center, Design Miami/ celebrated its 19th edition this year with a stellarly succinct showing. With New York’s big three galleries—Carpenters Workshop Gallery, R & Company, Friedman Benda—exhibiting sizable, sumptuously produced works, it was London’s equally well-established Gallery FUMI that garnered the accolade of best presentation. Illuminated ceramic totems by American talent Jeremy Anderson added to the visceral complexity of German designer Lukas Wegwerth‘s towering Armadillo sculptural screen. If that wasn’t enough, noted curator, researcher, and writer Christian Larsen presented renowned performance artist Marina Abramović’s Chairs for Human work installation. Throughout the run of the fair, dancers activated two crystal-lined chairs. The staging shed light on the spiritual and meditative potential of furniture.

Where Design Miami/ truly strived this year, however, was in the return of Curio and main booth showcases promoting lesser-known talents; material experimentation; and reinterpreted craft traditions. Los Angeles platform Marta presented the work of Nigerian talent Nifemi Marcus-Bello, who through the reorientation of a car parts aluminum foundry in Lagos, created uniquely functional furnishings. The refined, almost transcendent works pay homage to this often forgotten ad hoc cottage industry—the resourceful adaptation of second-hand vehicles. 

French-born, New York-based curator and gallerist Alban Roger worked closely with Villa Albertine (cultural office of the French consulate in Miami) and the Mobilier National in Paris to mount an immersive display promoting the latest manifestation of the country’s age-old artisanal savoir-faire. Atelier d’Offard crafted a close to Neoclassical arcade in the practice’s signature materials washi paper and the eco-friendly papier-mâché. This mise-en-scene played host to works by Atelier George, Gala Espel, Chloé Bensahel, and Dimitry Hlinka. The latter’s uniquely organic Amplitude radiator demonstrates the finest woodworking and lacquering techniques in a new, contemporary fashion. 

Across the street at the sprawling Art Basel/ Miami Beach fair, one could also find a few design-related showcases. While leading Mexican interior designer Gloria Cortina outfitted the VIP Casa Dragones Tasting Room in a rich interplay of obsidian evoking Aztek mythology, LVMH paid homage to its long-stand partnership with renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry by displaying his seminal wood and cardboard maquettes alongside new accessories. 

A bit further up the Miami Beach strip, revered polymath Sebastian ErraZuriz erected the monumental Maze: Journey Through the Algorithmic Self installation on the beach adjacent to the Faena hotel and residences complex. The massive sand structure pushed visitors to contemplate the ways in which AI is shaping our world and the importance of still seeking out “IRL” personal and shared human experiences.


Vincent Van Duysen's Gravitas collection for ARCA, showcased in Wynwood during Miami Art Week - Effect Magazine
Vincent Van Duysen’s Gravitas collection for ARCA, showcased in Wynwood during Miami Art Week

Straight across Biscayne Bay, Wynwood is a post-industrial area just north of Downtown Miami famous for its graffiti walls and alternative shopping options. The neighborhood now also plays host to a growing number of design brands and even galleries looking to stretch out a bit and operate larger spaces. During this year’s Miami Art Week, New York stalwart design gallery Ralph Pucci opened a 10,000-square-foot outpost in a converted 1960s warehouse. The sprawling venue plays host to different vignettes and an interchanging selection of high-craft furnishings and luminaires. 

Another strong presence is the preeminent Mexican purveyor of high-end stone ARCA. For the past few years, the company has sought to showcase its vast library of material by commissioning different artists and designers to imagine their own installations or capsule furniture series. Adding to the successful projects by Alicja Kwade and Kelly Wearstler launched in the past two years, renowned Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen debuted his especially earth-bound Gravitas collection.

Exuding all that is divine proportion, the comprehensive stone furniture offering combines various organic yet minimalistic settees, loungers, tables, and shelves. With various components meticulously hewn in a consistent juxtaposition of smooth-to-the-touch internal textures and coarse exteriors, the pieces come together as a strong demonstration of stylistic transcendence.  

Miami Design District

Lara Bohinc conceived a series of organic, slightly visually-distorted, sculptures out of sustainably-sourced cork, on display in Miami Design District - Effect Magazine
Lara Bohinc conceived a series of organic, slightly visually-distorted, sculptures out of sustainably-sourced cork, on display in Miami Design District

The ever-expanding Miami Design District (MDD) is the inarguable hub for brands and independent talents alike. The 12-block district has been cultivated by impresario Craig Robins—the cofounder of Design Miami/ as well—for over 20 years. Alongside finely outfitted boutiques for all major luxury fashion and car companies are spaces dedicated to blue-chip furniture brands such as Holly Hunt, Ligne Roset, and B&B Italia. The latter just opened a 21,000-square-foot showroom, also playing host to other Design Holding brands like Arclinea and Louis Poulsen. 

For a few years now, Japanese car brand Lexus has been mounting design-led, interactive installations at the nearby ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art). This year Dutch solar designer Marjan van Aubel made a strong showing with her photovoltaic representation of the zero-emission Catalyst LF-ZC concept car. Basic.Space—the online resource that recently purchased Design Miami/—mounted a number of collaborative projects this year, including a re-edition of French designer Pierre Paulin’s iconic Groovy Chair cast in the company’s proprietary blue. The concept was developed with Paulin, Paulin, Paulin, the Paris-based practice upholding its namesake’s legacy. 

French designer Pierre Paulin’s iconic Groovy Chair at the Paulin Paulin Paulin installation in the Miami Design District during Art Week - Effect Magazine
French designer Pierre Paulin’s iconic furniture at the Paulin, Paulin, Paulin installation in the Miami Design District during Art Week included Dune Ensemble (top center) and (bottom): Groovy Chair (Photos: Adrien Dirand)

Each Miami Art Week, the design-forward shopping district is imbued with a slew of temporary and permanent installations, some more functional than others. Santiago de Chile-based gt2P (great things to People)’s kinetic swing set from 2020 remains a crowd favorite. This year, MDD commissioned London-based Slovenian talent Lara Bohinc to conceive a series of organic, slightly visually-distorted, sculptures out of sustainably-sourced cork. The friendly, almost neotenic, works fuse together different disc-like forms. The otherworldly, pastel-coloured totems were sprinkled throughout the neighborhood alongside 900 egg-shaped birdhouses, hung from trees. 

Farther Afield

Milan-based exhibition platform Alcova—the widely celebrated brainchild of respected culturemakers Valentina Ciuffi and Joseph Grima—made its long-anticipated debut at Miami Art Week this year. Presented in a repurposed motel just a 10-minute drive north of MDD, the 40-strong exhibitor showcase presented some of contemporary design’s most promising up-and-comers: talents experimenting with new modes of form, materiality, and application.

Highlights included Bravitslava-based practice Crafting Plastic’s Sensibles product line. The tensible bioplastic sheets form room dividers that respond to UV light and change color based on different natural reactions. With this range and a few others on display, the studio has made the critical shift from research into viable application.

The collective Uncharted exhibition at Alcova during Miami Art Week 2023 - Effect Magazine
The collective Uncharted exhibition at Alcova during Miami Art Week 2023

The collective Uncharted exhibition brought together a number of groundbreaking America-based independent talents and duos. Transforming one of the motel’s compact guestrooms into an immersive showcase, Caleb Ferris, Forma Rosa Studio, NJ Roseti, Studio Sam Klemick, Tristan Louis Marsh, and Wallpaper Projects each added their own touch to the maximalist environment. Each went beyond their own comfort zone, developing furnishings and finishes with uncommon craft-forward techniques.

Read more:  Design Fairs | Design | Interiors | Antiques | Vintage | Miami | USA | Mid-Century