Highlights from the Subdued Design Miami/ 2010

The Modern Primitives installation is a collaboration between famed Italian design house Fendi and architecture and design firm Aranda\Lasch.
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This year, something about Design Miami/ seemed stuck, as in not moving forward. Appropriately it's being held in a parking lot. Besides the move to the Miami Beach Convention Center's asphalt (in a show of furthering it's ties to Art Basel Miami Beach as the only sanctioned satellite fair), Design Miami/ is also without a permanent replacement for recently departed co-founder and director Ambra Medda and down-grounded from showing 27 galleries last year to a scant 15.

While the move may have been reportedly good for business, the fair lacked the spectacle quality it once had. Perhaps organizers felt they didn't need to cox Basel's buyers across the bridge with a guaranteed design carnival, and instead went with a more subdued affair.

Last year, there were daily live performance by the rock band OK Go, a marvelous showcase of Marteen Baas's work (which included people locked in cabinets manually manipulating time pieces), and a live poetry workshop masterminded by former New Times colleague P. Scott Cunningham.

This year, the only sort of performance installation is a collaboration between Fendi and fair stalwarts Aranda\Lasch. It hadn't yet started during the press preview, but the New York design and architecture duo (who also designed the fairs improved layout this year) will be working with craftsman from Fendi during the exhibit.

Konstantin Grcic's (in swing chair above) offering as winner of the Designer of the Year award was far more subtle than Baas's last year. His "Netscape" installation sat outside the fair and was constituted of a jumble of hammock seats designed to instigate social interaction. Yes, unlike most pieces at the fair you're invited to sit down (they're not particularly comfortable if you're wondering).

Of course, the fair still remains a unique experience with plenty of strong offerings. Though if you decide to stop by and pay the $25 admission fee, keep in mind it definitely seems to cater towards the serious buyer this year and not, like years past, so much to the looky-loo.

Inside Hugo Franca and Raymond Jungles show cased a selection of furniture all carved out of the trunk of a 1,000 year-old Pequi tree and situated within an indoor jungle-scape.

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