- Words by Mr Nick Vinson, Vinson&Co
In December, Miami is the favoured meeting place for the international art and design worlds. They jet in for Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the world's leading art fairs, and for Design Miami/, the "global forum for design", as it refers to itself. Alongside the collectors at Design Miami/ you'll find architects, designers, enthusiasts, critics and museum directors. The latter attend because the work on show is considered of the quality they require - and nothing pumps a reputation or a price tag more than being part of an important museum collection.
Inside the fair, galleries from all over the globe display the prized - and equally pricey - output from 20th-century design's masters, including Messrs Jean Prouvé, Jean Royère and Ms Charlotte Perriand, pieces with provenance that are milestones in the history of design. Contemporary work is also represented, either as one-offs or produced in small editions of 12 or so, which in addition to their exemplary construction and finish, makes them highly collectable. Design Miami/ also commissions installations, including the fair's entrance pavilion, which this year was fashioned out of aluminium and 500 tonnes of sand (a nod to its location) by emerging design studio formlessfinder. Plus there are guided tours, programmes for kids and on-site talks with headline guests such as architect Mr Richard Meier or tastemaker Ms Martha Stewart.
The presence of big fashion brands, keen to rub shoulders with the art and design community, means the Miami fairs could be confused for another fashion week. Louis Vuitton hosted a barbecue at Ms Charlotte Perriand's prefab holiday house, designed in 1934 but never before built, while Fendi, a partner of the fair since 2008, hosted the opening drinks and commissioned Ms Maria Pergay to produce new work. Colette, meanwhile, partnered with local retailer Alchemist on an art "drive-thru", and Berluti commissioned Mr Maarten Baas to create new work for its Miami store and also hosted a dinner. Some of these, among many others, were projects that caught our eye.