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Design Miami.Basel 2024: Notable Highlights from the Global Forum for Collectible Design

Design Miami.Basel 2024 lit up Basel’s iconic Messeplatz from June 11-16, drawing thousands of design aficionados to the ultimate gathering for collectible design. This year’s fair was an electrifying celebration of past and present, with over 25 international exhibitors and nine debut galleries, featuring tributes to pioneering designers, explorations of materiality, and boundary-pushing displays across its ‘Curio,’ and ‘Design at Large’ programmes.  Below, we round up  our favourites from this extraordinary show.

Friedman Benda, Pulp Galerie, and downtown+ honor late design icon, Gaetano Pesce © Ivan Erofeev

Gaetano Pesce Celebrated at Pulp Galerie

Design Miami.Basel 2024 paid a heartfelt tribute to the late Italian iconoclast Gaetano Pesce, whose innovative spirit left an indelible mark on the design world. The collaborative presentation ‘Gaetano Pesce: A Celebration’ curated by Friedman Benda (New York/LA), Pulp Galerie, and downtown+ (both Paris), greeted visitors with a vibrant homage to Pesce’s visionary work. The exhibition spanned from the 1970s to the present, showcasing his groundbreaking use of resin and expressive forms that redefined the boundaries of design.

Pulp Galerie’s presentation took visitors on a nostalgic journey through rare early works from the private collection of Dutch photographers Petra and Erik Esmerg. Set in a booth inspired by an enchanting Italian garden, highlights included Pesce’s iconic ‘Pratt chair n°7’ (which one the award of Best Historical Design Object) and the ‘Sick Cabinet’, first showcased at the Centre Pompidou in 1996. Standout pieces like the ‘Bookcase’ and ‘Armchair’ exemplified Pesce’s unique use of resin and vibrant colors, embodying his innovative and boundary-pushing spirit. Together, the displays underscored Pesce’s influence on contemporary design, honoring his legacy as a trailblazer whose pieces, described as ‘objects of our time,’ continuously challenged conventional norms and inspired a generation of designers to blend art and functionality in bold, creative ways.

Pulp Galerie at DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL 2024 © Ivan Erofeev

1960s Icons at Galerie Meubles et Lumières

Galerie Meubles et Lumières dazzled visitors with a transfixing presentation of avant-garde French designs from the 1960s. The installation, set within a dramatic black scenography, was a visual feast that earned them the Best Gallery Presentation Award. Key pieces by French visionaries Jean Pierre Laporte, Max Sauze, and Pierre Paulin captured the transformative spirit of the era, reflecting the essence of the cultural revolution that defined the 1960s. Standout pieces included a rare beige-and-white suite of seating by Christian Adam, an exquisite rosewood sideboard by Michel Boyer, and the iconic aluminum and foam Module 400 chairs by Roger Tallon. These pieces, celebrated for their innovative use of materials and bold aesthetics, perfectly encapsulated the avant-garde movement’s defiance of traditional design norms. Founded in 2014 by young antique dealers Alexandre Goult and Guilhem Faget, Galerie Meubles et Lumières has become synonymous with pioneering design, showcasing visionary works that marked a transformative era in design.

Galerie Meubles et Lumiéres at DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL 2024 © Ivan Erofeev

Stories of Materiality at Objects with Narratives

This year’s fair delved deeply into the concept of materiality, spotlighting how traditional materials can be transformed into the extraordinary. Objects with Narratives (Brussels) made a sensational debut with “Liquid Solids” by Ben Storms. The exhibition showcased Storms’ mastery in reimagining materials, creating pieces that felt both ethereal and robust. His innovative designs, including the ‘Solid Liquid’ console and ‘Fluidity’ room divider, merge metal, glass, and Onyx into extraordinary silhouettes that appear to flow and shift, transforming perceptions of solidity. As visitors navigated the pieces, which seemed to float on a water-covered surface, the liquid’s constant motion offered an ever-changing dialogue with each interaction, underscoring the fluid nature of materials.

Storms, a Belgian designer and craftsman, is celebrated for his exploration of the potential of materials. He skillfully pushes the boundaries of traditional design, utilizing advanced techniques to transform raw materials into intriguing forms that emphasize their inherent strength and beauty. Given Storms’ innovative approach, it’s no surprise he’s represented by Objects with Narratives. The Brussels-based gallery is making waves by bridging the gap between art and collectible design, showcasing pieces with rich backstories that leave a lasting impression. Founders Nik Vandewyngaerde, Robbe Vandewyngaerde, and Oskar Eryatmaz flip the dynamics of traditional galleries by empowering artists to control their narrative, with a curatorial approach that focuses on the intrinsic value and storytelling rather than categorizing pieces by specific styles, eras, or price points. 

Objects with Narratives at DESIGN MIAMI.BASEL 2024 © Eliene Willaert

"Last year was a significant milestone in the evolution of Design Miami, and this year will only see the momentum continue. The eighteenth edition of our Basel fair follows the announcement of our global rebrand, and the inaugural Los Angeles edition. I greatly look forward to returning to our flagship location in Basel, to continue our mission at Design Miami: building and cultivating creative collaboration and a global platform for cultural exchange"

Design Miami.Basel 2024 captivated attendees with its bold exploration of collectible design, merging history and innovation into unforgettable exhibits. From honoring design legends to showcasing groundbreaking contemporary works, the fair provided an inspiring and transformative experience, reinforcing its status as a leading event in the design world.