Design Miami/ Basel 2018: my favourites

in Design Travels

Today we go visit Design Miami/ (opened in a new window/tab), one of the most relevant global fairs of collectible design. During its two yearly appointments (Miami - USA in December and Basel - Switzerland in June) it gathers designers, galleries and critics from all around the world.

I found a lot of interesting inspirations last week in Basel and I’ve narrowed them to 5 favourites.

A (Con)Temporary Home - Studio Superluna & ETEL

Some of the masterpieces of the Brazilian furniture company ETEL (opened in a new window/tab) have been displayed at Design Miami/ Basel 2018 in A (Con)Temporary Home.

The installation – designed by the Italian Studio Superluna (opened in a new window/tab) – created a comfortable home-like ambiance with some iconic pieces from ETEL. Welcoming lounge and dining areas greeted the visitors, together with the smell of wood typical of ETEL showrooms.
Petalas coffee table was also there! And if you follow me on Instagram (opened in a new window/tab) you already know how much I like it!

Lounge setting created at Design Miami/ Basel with iconic ETEL products<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Etel (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
A second lounge setting created at Design Miami/ Basel with iconic ETEL products<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Etel (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
Detail of the coffee table texture<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign

Precarious & Magma - Nouvel Limited

Precarious, the vase and Magma, the wall lamp, were the two products showcased at Design Miami/ Basel 2018 in the installation of Nouvel Limited (opened in a new window/tab), a Mexican glass manufacturer. Fighting gravity, they both bring glass design to its most dramatic extent.

Overall view of the Nouvel Limited installation at Design Miami/ Basel<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign

Precarious, designed by Héctor Esrawe (opened in a new window/tab), Emiliano Godoy (opened in a new window/tab) and Brian Thoreen (opened in a new window/tab), is a blown-glass vase. Once it cools down and hardens, the glass sustains two brass pieces, that serve as a base in the final product. A really precarious design, where the two components could not exist without each other.

The Precarious vase, made of blown glass and brass<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Héctor Esrawe (opened in a new window/tab)

Magma, designed by EWE Studio (opened in a new window/tab), is a modular wall light fixture. The opaque glass surface and irregular shape really make this light fixture look like lava, ready to pour down the wall.

The Magma light fixture, that looks like pouring lava<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: EWE Studio (opened in a new window/tab)

Watercolour Collection - Nendo

Yes, that Nendo (opened in a new window/tab). The famous Japanese design studio was also part of Design Miami/ Basel 2018.
Brought to the fair by the American gallery Friedman Benda (opened in a new window/tab), the Watercolour Collection is composed of 18 white metal furniture pieces, with a gentle blue colouring inspired by watercolours.

View of some pieces from the Watercolour Collection presented at Design Miami/ Basel by Nendo<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign
More pieces from the Watercolour Collection by Nendo<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign
A high table from the Watercolour Collection by Nendo<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign

The pieces would have already been beautiful by themselves. But the display – a long and white gallery – gave them an extra touch of magic.

<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span> (opened in a new window/tab)
VIDEO

Also thanks to its regular participation to Milan Design Week, the name Nendo now associates with the idea of stunning and peaceful installations in the mind of any design-lover. And this one at Design Miami/ Basel 2018 was yet another amazing example!

Endless form – Zhang Zhoujie Digital Lab

Where artificial intelligence meets design.

It all starts with a chair-shaped series of sensors, that collects body shape data when people sit on it. From there, a software elaborates the shape of a personalized chair, that fits the user’s body perfectly.

A chair created with the aid of artificial intelligence to fit the user’s body perfectly<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign

Fifty chairs (opened in a new window/tab) produced with this method were exposed at the entrance of the fair and they were literally the first thing I saw at this Design Miami/ Basel 2018!

The fifty chairs displayed at the entrance of the fair<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: DforDesign

Smart home and crystal - Swarovski

The Swarovski Designers of the Future Award gives young designers the opportunity to develop an innovative design using Swarovski crystals. Blending cutting edge technology with a challenging brief, the results are always spectacular pieces, that answer to some of the challenges of modern living.
This year the theme was smart living, and the role that crystals could have in it. The three winning projects were presented during the fair, and definitely made for the most sparkling corner of Design Miami/ Basel 2018!

The three winning designers of -The Swarovski designers of the future award- with their creations<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: L’Officiel USA (opened in a new window/tab)

Blurring Tiles

In a world dominated by technology, we sometimes forget to simply look around and enjoy the beauty of our environment. This thinking inspired Study O Portable (opened in a new window/tab) to use the reflective properties of crystal to develop everyday objects like room dividers and coffee tables that recall nature in the way colours blur and light is reflected. The geometric blue, green and clear tiles they’re made of seem to blur when in light, resulting in a charming gradient of colours.

Overview of the products developed by Study O Portable<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Visual& (opened in a new window/tab)
Detail of the tiled texture of the products developed by Study O Portable<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Visual& (opened in a new window/tab)

Dream Machine

The connected world we live in can end up feeling restless. And Frank Kolkman (opened in a new window/tab) has designed Dream Machine to respond to this challenge. Made of Swarovski sticks, this device generates light and sound effects that synchronize with brainwaves, allowing deep relaxation.

The Dream Machine, designed by Frank Kolkman<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Visual& (opened in a new window/tab)
View of the Dream Machine in action<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: L’Officiel USA (opened in a new window/tab)

Crystals and smart home

Smart home would not exist without technology home assistants (read Amazon Echo (opened in a new window/tab) or Google Home (opened in a new window/tab)). Yosuke Ushigome (opened in a new window/tab) has challenged the very nature of the interaction between humans and technology. Inspired by the emotional sense of beauty that crystals generate, he has explored how crystal could become a way to interact with smart home devices more naturally. Just imagine having to caress a shiny crystal to switch your coffee machine on! How cool would that be!

A big Swarovski crystal, that could work as an interface between humans and smart home devices<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Visual& (opened in a new window/tab)

So many beautiful discoveries and inspirations! Bye bye Design Miami/ Basel, I’ll see you next year!

For more insights on the fair, check out my Instagram stories (opened in a new window/tab)! And to see more of Basel, come visit the Kunsthalle restaurant, featuring an amazing original chandelier by Verner Panton (opened in a new window/tab)!

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