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BASEL'S BABY SISTER
Design.05 Miami offers furniture as art
This year the world's wealthiest and most respected collectors will have a chance to leave Art Basel Miami Beach with not just pieces of art, but pieces of furniture. From December 1 through 5 at the historic Moore Building, at 191 NE 40th Street in the Design District, serious collectors and design enthusiasts are invited to buy a ticket for design.05 Miami. The event, officially endorsed by Art Basel Miami Beach, brings together 15 of the world's foremost galleries dealing with museum-quality furniture and decorative arts. Beyond selling exquisite design, the event is a chance for industry leaders to gather and discuss the state of postwar furniture design.
"Design.05 is not just showing or selling design," said Ambra Medda, a Miami gallerist who organized the event with Amy Lau, an interior designer from New York. "It was conceived to unify every facet of the industry - culture, history and business - through displays, seminars and mini-events."
It is a triumph that it is happening at all. Lau said, "We were able to achieve remarkable results precisely because we didn't know how difficult organizing an international design fair really was."
New York galleries make up the bulk of the American participants; among them are Antik, Barry Friedman Gallery, Cristina Grajales and R 20th Century. The event's international participants (six of which have ever exhibited at a U.S. fair) represent a scattering of key cities, and include David Gill Gallery of London; Nilufar from Milan; Galerie Patrick Seguin, Philippe Jousse and Galerie Francois Laffanour, all from Paris, and the lone Asian inclusion, Contrast Gallery of Hong Kong.
"Design.05 has a chance to become the best design show in the world," said Zesty Meyers, a co-owner of R 20th Century. The crown jewel of the gallery's offerings, which include Wendell Castle creations priced from $60,000 to $300,000 is a $250,000 four- wood chair by Joaquim Tenreiro.
The Galerie Patrick Seguin is offering a Jean Prouve University desk from 1953, one of three made ($240,000); a prototype Prouve Reclining Armchair from 1948 ($140,000); a Pierre Jeanneret Lighting Table, from 1952 to 1956 ($280,000), and a Charlotte Perriand Free Form desk from 1958 ($220,000).
At the center of design.05 is a site-specific architectural installation by Zaha Hadid, the event's inaugural Designer of the Year and a recent recipient of the Pritzker Architectural Prize. Occupying the Moore Building's four-floor atrium, Hadid's installation will mar the place where she and Craig Robins, the developer behind the Design District and the Aqua residential project, have a public discussion on December 4 at 6 p.m. The installation will be on display past the close of design.05.
In a satellite event, the highly respected Moss Gallery of New York is taking over the Buick Building for 05 Degrees of Separation, a display of furniture, including Maarten Baas's Robie chair, available for $12,000. (Moss will remain there until the close of design.05, on Monday afternoon.) The Moss Gallery will also offer a chandelier by Tord Boontje and pieces by Gaetano Pesce and by the Campana Brothers. "This is the world premier of Tord Boontje's newest Blossom Chandelier," said Franklin Getchell, the president of Moss.
The theater at the Moss Gallery will have talks as well. On December 2 at 8 p.m., Murray Moss will lead a discussion on Crashing the Party: Designart with Gaetano Pesce, Mickey Wolfson, James Zemaitis of Sotheby's and Terry Riley of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The next day, the curator Barbara Bloemink, curatorial director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, will lead a discussion called Multi-Colors in Design with Yves Behar and Mary Murphy of Maharam.
From December 1 through 10, Barry Friedman Gallery will take over the Collins Building, at 139 NE 39th Street, for a site-specific installation by Ron Arad called Paved with Good Intentions. The exhibit, Arad's first solo show in the U.S., consists of a labyrinth - a "road to hell" - created from 69 mirror-polished, stainless steel tabletops that appear to float along the floor and up the walls. Like everything else at design.05 and its satellite exhibitions, the tabletops are for sale, priced from $30,000 to $50,000.
"We feel Design.05 is going to make a big impact," said Marc Benda, the director of Barry Friedman. "This event brings together the world's of art and design like never before." For the gallery's main display, at the Moore Building, Benda is showing limited-edition works by Marc Newson and Shiro Kuramata, along with pieces by Ettore Sottsass, a key figure in the Italian design world, priced from $25,000 to $55,000.
At the Buena Vista Building, at 180 NE 39th Street, Luminaire and Edra, in association with Surface magazine, will present Second Nature, an exhibit that is a collaboration between Nasir Kassamali, founder of Luminaire, the sculptor Federico Uribe and Massimo Morozzi, creative director of Edra. Second Nature is a nature-themed show, with handmade furniture, botanical art, 120 rotating planets and contemporary furniture pieces from Edra. The exhibit runs from December 1 through 9.
And when visitors of Design.05 get tired, they can relax in one of two lounge areas created especially for the event. Luminaire has designed a media lounge in the Moore Building with Edra furniture; it will offer many of the world's foremost design publications, including Surface, Metropolis and Florida InsideOut. Luminaire will also transform its contract showroom, on Second Avenue in the Moore Building, into a bookstore full of architecture and design publications.
Enzo Enea, the Swiss landscape architect, has created a serene garden lounge adjacent to the Moore building filled with bamboo and water lily ponds, as well as furniture designed by Enea; it will remain open past the close of design.05.
Design.05 will open Thursday night, at 8 p.m. for V.I.P.s and those with invitations. It will open to the public on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday night, during the Art loves Design Party, form 6 p.m. to midnight. It will also be open on Sunday night and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday. There is a $16 admission fee to the Moore Building.
"Art and design go hand and hand, and Miami is becoming more and more important culturally," said Ambra Medda, co-organizer of the event. "It is starting to be on people's maps."