Design Miami: A Global Forum for Collectible Design

Jasmine Judge, Design Editor

Held from Dec. 1 to Dec. 5, Design Miami/ 2021 brought together Miami’s best designers, art curators, gallerists and critics for its 17th annual convention. Different from most traditional art fairs, Design Miami/ featured exhibitions of twentieth-century furniture, lighting and contemporary objects d’art from designers across the globe.

In 2000, Design Miami co-founder and real estate developer Craig Robins set about restoring the once-abandoned Miami Design District into one of the foremost centers for creativity and artistic innovation in the world. Today, the Design District is acclaimed as a hub for the finest food, fashion and art in the city of Miami.

Inspired by the renewal of the neighborhood, Robins – alongside design consultant and co-founder Ambra Medda – initiated the “Design.05” fair in 2005 to provide a forum for international designers to gather and enjoy the work of their peers, as well as gain the chance to have their work evaluated by world-renowned critics.

“Design gives me an aspect of creative freedom and it lets me put my feelings and expressions into art instead of having to be verbal with my emotions,” Palmetto  sophomore and graphic designer for the Palm Echo Yearbook Marly Young said.

Once the convention received enough notice from the art community, Robins and Medda changed the name to Design Miami/, and a branch expanded to Basel, Switzerland within one year of establishment. Known as Design Miami/ Basel, both shows now occur in conjunction with their celebrated sister show, Art Basel. Current CEO Jenna Roberts now oversees all Design Miami/ affairs for both the Florida and Switzerland conventions.

This year’s theme centered on “Human Nature,” an examination of humans’ evolving relationship with the natural world. The featured designers of the 2021 show, which took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, interpreted this concept in each of  their own unique ways.

It will be interesting to see various types of artwork regarding the human psyche, especially in this time of Covid that everyone globally has been affected by,” Palmetto AP Art History teacher Christine Moros said.

Rapid outbreaks of COVID-19 during November and December meant that Design Miami/ 2020 could accommodate fewer works and designers, as restrictions on international travel limited the number of people in attendance. This year, however, curatorial director Wava Carpenter looked to make the show more extensive and diverse than ever before.