Design Miami is being recast for 2010, with a new location and a new tent. Manhattan architects Aranda\Lasch have designed a larger, 50,000-square-foot tent for the 2010 fair, and it’s going to be white. Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch, who designed the last two tents for Design Miami (and whose firm is headquartered way downtown at 212 Forsyth Street on the Lower East Side), are the only U.S. firm at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition currently on view in Venice, Italy.
For the 2008 Design Miami tent, also done in white, Aranda\Lasch added a brilliant touch: draped ornamentation with laser-cut foliage, Louis Sullivan-style. The 2009 tent, which was "only" 35,000 square feet, was a purple, inverted ziggurat, a bold riff on shingle siding.
The firm’s 2010 design is certain to gain it more fans than ever, as it is to be sited at a new location at Meridian Avenue and 19th Street in Miami Beach. That’s the parking lot adjacent to the Convention Center, which houses Art Basel Miami Beach. Satellite exhibitions are planned for the design fair’s its former venue in the Design District downtown.
What happens to the old tents? They are not discarded, but "put back into a rentable pool of tent structures," according to a Design Miami spokesperson. And these tents are not cheap. Floridian fair organizer David Lester spent well over $500,000 for his white and navy trimmed creation, which helped jumpstart his Palm Beach fair. Now it is being used by a Tucson jeweler.
Boyms to Doha
The famed Manhattan husband-and-wife design team of Constantin and Laurene Boym have just taken up roost in Doha, Qatar, where Constantin now serves as director of graduate design studies for the Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.
This is a major appointment. Boym Partners Inc. is a powerhouse in the design world, with work in the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. They have turned out dinnerware for Alessi, watches for Swatch and lighting for Flos as well as museum installations at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Their move to the Arab world signals the increasing importance of the Middle East market to design as well as the fine arts.
"It’s the first graduate design program in the entire Gulf region," says the Russia-born Constantin Boym. "Students are coming from the Emirates and beyond," he says. Eight students including one from Crotia are enrolled so far. Faculty includes a Royal College of Art grad.
What will be the impact of this new design department? "The culture has a rich design legacy already and we’ll tap into native crafts such as jewelry and weaving," says Boym. It’s only a matter of time that a Doha design grad wins the coveted Designer of the Year Award from Design Miami.
The latest superstar artist to court the luxury brand marketplace is Anish Kapoor. The London-based sculptor has designed a ring for Bulgari’s B.ZERO1 Collection, and examples have been spotted in that Roman jeweler’s outposts on Fifth Avenue and New Bond Street as well as smaller shops like the one in Rome’s Termini airport.
Buyers can consider it their own mini-Kapoor sculpture, a toroid of curved reflective surfaces. Made of steel with bands of pink gold, it’s bargain-priced at $940. Bulgari trumpets the ring as "a special edition," but it’s not numbered. Still, this could be the new wedding band for the art crowd.
In addition, Bulgari has tapped Kapoor to create a sculpture to be auctioned off for charity in the spring. Stay tuned for details on the work in progress.
While the new design sensibility has spread far and wide in the first decade of the 21st century, one particular man was celebrated for his sublime sense of style. That would be Brussels dealer Philippe Denys (1949-2010), whose death last month leaves a huge gap.
Anyone who took in Denys’ tightly curated exhibitions at The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht fell under his spell. Denys’s singular stands were quietly spectacular and, unlike many others, always different. He had an uncanny ability to unearth rare Poul Kjaerholm, Verner Panton and Arne Jacobsen objects and mix them with mid-century Italian items made by the likes of Guglielmo Ulrich along with pottery by Scandinavian ceramicists no one had heard of but suddenly everyone wanted. A testament to his unrivalled taste, his stands were always a sell out by practically day two of TEFAF.
Though his wife and daughter may carry on his gallery, at present it is in a state of "reorganization."
Balenciaga in New York
Leave it to the team of Vogue creative director Hamish Bowles and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta to up the cachet of the late Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972) this fall. Bowles and de la Renta are behind what is certain to be the coming season’s show-stopping fashion exhibition, "Balenciaga: Spanish Master," Nov. 19, 2010–Feb. 19, 2011.
The survey is not at the Metropolitan Museum, however, but rather at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute on Park Avenue, opposite the Armory. Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain is slated to open the show.
Heralded as "Fashion’s Picasso" by Cecil Beaton, Balenciaga gave us the matador look, the Infanta gown, flamenco-inspired dresses and an attention to fabric and detail that continues to this day
With the exhibition designed by set designer Stefan Beckman, whose client list includes Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Cartier and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, this upcoming show is certain to draw not just the fashion crowd but also a heavy Latin contingent. And Rizzoli is doing the book, of course.
In the vintage fashion trade, Balenciaga has long had blue chip status. His togs can be found at Didier Ludot in Paris, Barneys in New York and Decades in Los Angeles. Prices run the gamut and can head into the five-figure zone for special commissions.
Right now, Decades -- the ne plus ultra vintage clothing shop for starlets and collectors -- is sporting a metallic brocade coat from 1966 for a very reasonable $4,200.
Have a Cecily Brown bacchanal!
Can’t afford a Cecily Brown painting? Then consider her first jigsaw puzzle, which only debuted last week. Artware Editions turned out the 672-piece puzzle emblazoned with Brown’s brand of the dissolute, her 2008 Carnival and Lent. "She loves puzzles and choose the image because it was complex visually," says Jon Tomlinson, who co-founded Artware Editions. A signed puzzle in an edition of 30 retails for $500 while one from the edition of 200 is only $150.
Oddly enough, the economic downturn has not overly affected the Soho-based Artware editions. "July was one our best months since the crash, with our sales up 50 percent," he says.
Biggest sellers? Roy McMakin juice glasses with the pithy saying "Life changes" in a set of four for $200. Then, telling of the contemporary taste for the squeamish, Tony Oursler’s lamp featuring images of eyeballs and teenage faces has also been moving briskly, priced at $975 in an edition of 50.
"More than a decade ago, museum stores wanted unique examples by artists," says Tomlinson. "Now it’s all about making money with most seeking volume with a large discount," he says. He cites the Cooper-Hewitt as one of the few museums whose stores are seeking distinctive work by artists.
BROOK S. MASON is U.S. correspondent for the Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Financial Times and other publications.