In the world of contemporary design, there are few fairs more universally heralded than Design Miami/Basel. The counterpart to the Art Basel fairs in Miami, Florida each December and in Basel, Switzerland each June, Design Miami/ has served as one of the preeminent venues for collecting, exhibiting, and discussing highly collectible contemporary design for 12 years now, offering a glimpse into not just the future of style, but the ways in which we think about creativity in design as both producers and consumers.


Kicking off on June 13th, this year’s Design Miami/ is primed to be the most diverse and global exhibition yet, with 47 galleries from 11 countries presenting groundbreaking and innovative furniture, lighting, and decorative objects from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. But with so many options to choose from, we’ve rounded up six of the fair’s biggest and boldest exhibitions, as well as a handful of standout pieces, to add to your “must-see” list this year.




Design at Large, curated by Thom Browne

Thom Browne. Courtesy of Cercei.


The centerpiece of every year’s Design Miami/, Design at Large presents extensive, larger-than-life collections of classical and contemporary design meant to serve as a “a site of discovery for visitors to the fair,” according to the event’s website, with themes often inspired by current topics within the industry.  


This year’s Design at Large will be curated by American fashion designer Thom Browne. Having collaborated with Brooks Brothers on their incredibly successful “Black Fleece” collection and dressed the likes of former first lady Michelle Obama, Browne is largely known for his almost genderless interpretations of what defines both mens and womens clothing, often drawing inspiration from one as a means for creating the other. The collection he is curating this year, however, will focus on the ever-changing landscape of desk design, offering a retrospective spanning the past 100 years and focusing, somewhat contrarily to his own nature, on more conventional masters of the medium like Jean Prouve and Charlotte Perriand.


Centennial of Ettore Sottsass

Cabinet no. 81, Ettore Sottsass, 2005. Wood, 95x43x222 cm. Courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist.
Cabinet no. 76, Ettore Sottsass. Courtesy of Friedman Benda and the artist.


Known by some as the “godfather of Italian cool,” Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) was a designer whose work truly knew no bounds. Working in furniture, jewellery, glass, ceramics, textiles, lighting and office machine design (with the culmination of the latter being his Valentine typewriter), his oft eclectic designs bore the inspiration of his frequent trips across the United States and India. His friendships with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Allen Ginsberg, and Ernest Hemingway eventually led him to found the prestigious Memphis, a design collective whose brightly colored, laminated post-modernist furniture dominated the 1980s design scene and still sell for exorbitant amounts today.  


In a celebration of what would’ve been his 100th birthday, Friedman Benda will be presenting rarely seen works from Sottsass’ most pivotal periods, showcasing the complexity and elegance of the iconic designer’s vision.


Andre Sornay by Galerie Alain Marcelpoil

Console by Andre Sornay c.1935 at Marcelpoil Alain. Courtesy of Michel Goiffon


If you’ve ever stepped foot inside an IKEA before, then chances are you’re at least unknowingly familiar with the work of Andre Sornay -- or rather, the fabrication techniques he used to create them. Though his modernist masterpieces bear little in resemblance to the Swiss furniture juggernaut in both style and cost, it was his revolutionary cloutage  design -- which involved hammering nails in equally-spaced proportion along the edge of furniture -- and his system of modular function involving a pre-fitted series of interconnecting metal poles that helped laid the groundwork for how IKEA (and stores like it) create and manufacture products today.


In 2010, Galerie Alain Marcelpoil published Signe Sornay, an extensively-researched book devoted to Sornay ( and in close collaboration with his family). In what is sure to be one of the most popular events of Miami Design/, Marcelpoil will be following up with large-scale solo presentation of Sornay’s work.


Centennial of the October Revolution

Jean Prouvé 6x6 Demountable House, Assembling the prototype at the Ateliers Jean Prouvé, rue de Janrdiniers, Nancy (France), 1944 © Fonds Jean Prouvé, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Pompidou.
Jean Prouvé 6x 9 Demountable House, 1944, DesignMiami Basel, 2007, Courtesy Galerie Patrick Seguin.


The profound impact that politics can have on art and design (and vice versa) is a well documented one, and this year, Design Miami/ will mark the centennial anniversary of the October Revolution -- the Bolshevik-led occupation of Russian government buildings which served as a precursor to Russian Revolution of 1917 -- with a series of Soviet propaganda from the 1920s to the 1970s under the title “Political Responses in Design.”


Featured among the series will be a trio of 1960s red and white glass vases replicating the French design of Emile Galle, a demountable 6 x 9 meter Jean Prouvé house from 1944, and a collection of works from the architecture collective BBPR.


Of course, with Design Miami/ being on the forefront of innovative design, it would be a massive oversight to skip by its displays from some of today’s most forward-thinking contemporary designers. A few highlights include…




Francois Buchet’s Azo Table

Azo Table by Francois Bauchet at Galerie kreo. Coutresy of Sylvia Chan and Galerie kreo.


Composed of a new material that fuses sand, resin, and concrete to ergonomic and elegant perfection, Buchet’s Azo table at Galerie kreo challenges the perception of just what raw materials can be abstracted from nature to create beautiful, everyday furniture.



Sam Orlando Miller’s Stella Velata 1 and Stella Velata 2

Stella Velata 1 & Stella Velata 2 by Sam Orlando Miller, 2017, at Gallery FUMI. Courtesy of Helen Miller for Gallery FUMI


A cutting edge work of mirrored glass, Sam Orlando Miller’s Stella Velata 1 and Stella Velata 2 at Gallery FUMI merge the visible with the invisible, creating a sleek, yet powerful illusion that follows you across the room.


Sideboard by Pierre Chapo

Sideboard by Pierre Chapo 1970 at Magen H Gallery. Courtesy Magen H Gallery.


Pierre Chapo’s (1927-1987) masterful skills as a wood craftsman are embodied in each and every piece he designed, and this sideboard at Magen H Gallery stands as yet another example of his dedicated approach to organic sculpture and design.


Beth Katleman’s White Rabbit Mirror

Beth Katleman, White Rabbit, USA, 2017. Currently on offer at Todd Merrill Studio.

An astounding work of opium-infused surreality, this “Alice in Wonderland” influenced mirror by Beth Katleman at Todd Merrill Studio mines themes of excess, lost innocence, and a world turned upside down in the latest of her handmade, historically inspired porcelain works.