At last night's Vernissage, Design Miami celebrated 10 years of forward-thinking design in furniture, jewelry, and more. But many Miamians who came out to sip champagne and browse the booths were more interested in celebrating the local institutions who'd gained access to the tent for the first time.
Gallery Diet, owned by Nina Johnson-Milewski, featured the work of local designer Emmett Moore, who took full advantage of the opportunity to inject a little South Florida flavor into the historically European-tinged event. Across the Diet booth's flamingo pink floor sat designs including chairs made from the flowery concrete dividers you see on homes across Miami; and a folding shade embellished with racy postcard images of women straight out of an Uncle Luke fantasy.
"[The work] is all universal, individually," explained Moore at the event, "but taken together, I wanted it to give that [local] feel."
Over at Coral Morphologic, Colin Foord and Jared McKay immersed fairgoers in their trippy, neon-hued work. An oculus loaded with waving coral forms in a rainbow of colors was designed, Foord said, to "zen you out."
Foord said that the group has been stretched to its limits lately, between preparing for Design Miami, the upcoming Borscht Film Festival, and working on a BBC documentary about the corals Coral Morphologic rescued from Government Cut earlier this year.
Several other booths echoed themes relevant to Miami, even if they weren't from Miami institutions themselves. Swarovski's luminescent "ice cave" used the fancy crystals in a Jeanne Gang design to address global warming. (Those melting ice caps could soon be the same water that floods the streets of South Beach.) And the Miami Design District featured the work of Zaha Hadid, the architect behind the hotly anticipated downtown skyscraper One Thousand Museum.
This clock isn't especially relevant to Miami at all, but you could sit and stare at it counting down the minutes for a really, really long time.
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And just in case you thought Art Basel had gotten less ridiculous, here is a bejeweled King Kong:
— Janet Morais (@JanetlaKOKET) December 3, 2014
Follow Ciara on Twitter: @ciaralavelle