Design Miami Basel 2022 explores the Golden Age

Returning to its usual June slot, Design Miami/Basel presents some of the best contemporary and historical design through a new edition led by Wallpaper* Milan editor Maria Cristina Didero, serving as curatorial director. With over 20 new international galleries presenting across the Gallery, Curio and Podium showcases, the 2022 edition reaffirms the fair’s global approach.

‘We are delighted to return to Basel this year with a particularly exciting line-up of galleries, curios, special projects and partners,’ says Design Miami‘s VP of fairs, Grela Orihuela. ‘Through the breadth and depth of their presentations, we look forward to prompting timely discussion around this year’s theme, The Golden Age.’

Commenting on her choice for the fair’s theme, Didero adds: ‘Even during the hardest of struggles, as a society we should always focus and strive to be better. We must remember that challenges have always driven humanity forward. Human beings have come up with answers to the world’s most pressing questions, often during moments in which the very roots of our life are being tested by external forces, over which it seems we have no control.’

Design Miami/Basel 2022: highlights

Design Miami/Basel 2022 theme: The Golden Age

The Golden Age, podium installation view. On the right is ‘Margherita’, a table and chairs set by Gufram, the result of a 1966 collaboration between the company’s creative director Giuseppe Raimondi and artist Ugo Nespolo

Exploring the theme of The Golden Age, Design Miami/Basel 2022 sets the tone for the fair’s other editions this year, in Paris and Miami, looking at the concept across different cultures through time and space, from utopian future to idealized history. In Basel, the theme focuses on the past, with historical objects celebrating 20th-century icons.

For the first time, the fair’s Podium (a curated selling exhibition) comes to the Basel fair, with a special display inspired by the theme. ‘The exhibition offers the opportunity to explore a large range of presentations of amazing pieces from different contexts, times and geographies,’ says Didero. ‘Podium becomes a platform to reflect on how these pieces can ignite discussions around today’s design scene.’

Installation view with Faye Toogood’s ‘Masking Tape Light’ in the foreground

‘The Golden Age is not the age we are living now, but it’s an idyllic future, a possible place where animals, plants, human beings can live in harmony,’ says Didero. ‘We wanted a positive spin after the times of the pandemic: we have put together a selection of pieces that represent the beauty and spirit of design, and give justice to its history.’

The exhibition includes historical pieces such as Vladimir Kagan’s ‘Capricorn’ chair, the ‘Eros’ marble table by Angelo Mangiarotti, the ‘Water Lilies Bowl’ by Pierre Paulin and Carlo Mollino’s ‘Stackable’ beds, from Casa del Sole. Among the contemporary pieces are a trio of vessels by Diego Cibelli, created during the pandemic using found objects, a lamp by Misha Kahn, and a lighting piece by Faye Toogood. ‘The selection of pieces is much about the emotions they can tell, they are not related to one another, but they are here because each of them is very important and outspoken,’ Didero continues. ‘I see a lot of emotion involved and sensibility within these objects.’

Installations at Design Miami/Basel: Special Satellite Projects

Pulse Topology by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, presented by Superblue

For their second time in Basel, Superblue presents a takeover of the 2,500 sq ft ground floor space with Pulse Topology, an interactive installation by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Comprising 6,000 light bulbs suspended at different heights, creating a series of ‘intimate landscapes’ that invite visitors to walk through. Pulse sensors record visitor heartbeats; Every time a new participant interacts with the artwork, their pulse is added to the light’s rhythm above.

Also part of the Satellite Projects is a display of works by Joseph Walsh Studio, featuring furniture whose fluid forms are inspired by nature, and a further display of Diego Cibelli’s porcelain works, titled ‘Meditation in an Emergency’ and presented by Galleria Antonella Villanova.

Design Miami/Basel Curio Displays

‘Un/Tamed’ by Faina Gallery

As always an integral part of the fair, the Curio program features 17 presentations pushing the boundaries of design, interpreting traditional ideas in innovative ways. For Design Miami/Basel 2022, the Curios include work by Ukrainian designer Victoria Yakusha’s Faina Gallerypresenting an exploration of childhood memories based on the archetypal shape of a goat.

‘Altar of Imagination’ by Kiki Van Eijk

Also on display within the Curio section are pieces by Philippe Starck from the 1980s and 1990s, presented by Paul Bourdet Fine Furniture and pieces featuring originally designed for 3 Suisses and Driade; and Dutch designer Kiki Van Eijk’s ‘Altar of Imagination’, brought to the fair by Rademakers Gallery, bringing to the fair a sample of the Dutch designer’s mix of whimsical creativity and skilled craftsmanship.

WKND Lab

Elsewhere in the Curio section, WKND Lab showcases traditional Korean crafts with a contemporary spin, highlighting the avant-garde nature of Korean artisanal techniques. The displays feature Jagar, a traditional Korean lacquer technique using a biodegradable wood resin, applied to objects whose contemporary aesthetics are intended to introduce the historical method to younger generations

Responding to the fair’s theme, the displays throughout the Messe Basel showcase a richness of ideas, both past and future. ‘[We explore how] The perseverance, flexibility, resilience and adaptability of humanity has led us to innovation and hope,’ concludes Didero. ‘We must continue this now more than ever.’ §

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