Design Miami/ Basel 2017 achieves record sales & attendance

Sat 1 Jul, 2017

Design Miami/ Basel concluded its highest turnover edition to-date this week with footfall of 28,800 visitors, including the world’s most significant collectors of modern and contemporary design. 47 leading design galleries from more countries than any past edition exhibited including participation from 12 of the 17 founding galleries and six first-time galleries.

Jen Roberts, CEO of Design Miami/ said, “This edition of the fair confirmed for us that the global market for collectible design is as strong as ever and that the collector base for modern and contemporary design is growing. We noted major acquisitions from attendees around the globe, from New York to Lebanon and in-between.”

Rodman Primack, Chief Creative Officer of Design Miami/ said, “We are in a privileged position with Design Miami/ Basel – with the support of the most influential gallerists and designers in the world – to offer a refreshing and engaging experience each year. This edition cut a broader swath across twentieth century design and included work from less commonly recognized designers like Jacques Dumont, or the Italian architects BBPR, gallery positions that underline Design Miami/Basel’s role as the most important forum for collectible design and location to reach the most sophisticated collectors. Material across the fair was the strongest yet. We were also thrilled to have Thom Browne curate a moving Design at Large exhibition, reminding us that even fantastical expression is rooted in simple hard work; that rigor and discipline are the foundation for all design.”

Basel remains an essential destination for collectors, and, as a result, for gallerists.

“Design Miami/ Basel is the most important fair in the world and we see most of our customers here,” said Marc Benda, Principal of Friedman Benda, which presented a solo exhibition of the late architect Ettore Sottsass, in this 100th anniversary of his life.

The 2017 edition of Design Miami/ Basel saw a flurry of collectors and other notable attendees throughout the week of the fair.

A rare, special commission cabinet by Ettore Sottsass sold at Giustini Stagetti/ Galleria O. Roma to an American buyer for approximately €450,000 who in turn agreed to lend the piece to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its upcoming exhibition of the architect’s work this summer. The cabinet was conceived as the main element for a private apartment in Milan furnished by Ettore Sottsass in the early 1960s called “Casa con la bambina cinese.” The piece was acquired 54 years later directly from the Chinese girl herself.

Another notable successful Sottsass exhibition included a solo presentation at Friedman Benda, where several of the popular designers’ more contemporary pieces were showcased and sold, including a tower cabinet from 1964, a pendant lamp from 1957 and bar cabinet designed in 1996.

Galerie Eric Philippe sold a rare lamp by the late, influential California architect John Lautner for $85,000. Originally designed for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Sturges residence of 1936, which Lautner assisted his mentor on, only two of these lamps are known to exist today, with the second lamp residing in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Galerie Jacques Lacoste sold a number of pieces by Jean Royre, including the Liane Coat Hanger, a one-of-a-kind coat hanger created by Royre in the 1960s as a private commission for Royre’s close friend’s home. This sculptural hanger is an iconic model and an expression of the maturity of his free form and his creative liberty, which characterizes his works during the 60s.

Within the Curio program, which was comprised of ten exhibitors, Oscar Humphries, who showcased a group of chairs made by Carlo Mollino for the RAI Auditorium, Torino, reported the sale of all nine chairs on preview day.

Chamber sold The Sinking Ship by Studio Job, the first in an edition of two, produced exclusively for Chamber and showcased for the first time outside a museum setting within Design Miami/ Basel.

The contemporary offerings at this edition of Design Miami/ Basel were also well received.

Salon 94 Design sold its entire booth which featured debut work by Max Lamb that utilized scraps of polystyrene generated during the production of Lamb’s other Poly Furniture projects. As an assemblage of random offcuts, the nature of the scraps dictate the form of each piece and were coated in a metallic thermal spray, then worked to create a lush finish in either bronze, aluminum, or steel. These pieces were presented in conversation with gold jewelry by Lucas Samara.

Gallery ALL presented a debut collection of furniture by China-based MAD Architects. The entire collection presented, sold to a single buyer, a Lebanese collector, who plans to recreate the stand as displayed at Design Miami/ Basel within their home.

The week noted a steady stream of sales and acquisitions. Prominent themes of post-war Italian design and furniture by architects were favored by collectors this edition, as well as rare and unseen works by leading French designers of the twentieth century.

Experts in historic design of the twentieth century took note of the high-quality of the exhibition program this edition, given the volume of rare and unseen pieces. New York-based, award-winning architect and authority on architecture and decorative arts, Lee Mindel FAIA, said of the gallery offering, “There was such a high-level range of objects from things we have never seen, to the best of the Blue chip and to the most inspiring contemporary pieces utilizing new technologies. Each of the gallerists creating outstanding environments in their spaces as Design Basel/Miami continues to get even better.”

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