Design Miami was once again in Miami in conjunction with Art Basel and the numerous satellite fairs. This was Art Basel’s 20th anniversary and it has certainly transformed the art scene in Miami. Each year in early December, curators, collectors and art afficionados swarm to the city to experience contemporary art firsthand, to select pieces to buy for their collections or museums, or just to be part of the art scene.
Parties are everywhere and the fashion and furniture manufacturers have joined in. Dolce and Gabbana showcased their fine jewelry with several craftsmen and craftswomen working on pieces during the show. The results on display sold for hundreds of thousands and up to $15 million. All created under the strict supervision of partners Dolce and Gabbana. This year the show’s theme was “The Golden Age: Looking to the Future” through the lens of design, and it was filled with striking, colorful pieces. We gravitated to the historical works, but some of the new pieces also caught our eye.
These chairs designed by Max Lamb were each made from a single piece of wood. The artist/designer cut the wood to make the legs and back of the chair. Once assembled, he applied gold leaf (right) and platinum leaf (left). Price: $40,000 each.
Roberto Lugo’s “Conversation Pieces” are ceramics that take inspiration from traditional objects, such as a blue and white vase with handles, and juxtaposes them with influences from his urban background, decorative details not normally found on ceramics. Price: $35,000. There were several pieces in the show and, at last visit, all but one had sold.
Suzanne Ramié (1905–1974) was making modern studio ceramics at her and her husband’s pottery, Madoura, in Vallauris, France, in the 1940s. Picasso became a frequent visitor, working alongside the craftsmen and creating his own work. Suzanne and Georges Ramié’ collaborated with Picasso on making editions and ceramic multiples. Suzanne Ramié continued to produce her own work, and this lamp is a product of a design from her artist friend Alberto Magnelli (whose painting can sell for more than a million dollars). She created this lamp base from one of his drawings. Her work is hard to find, and most of the pieces in the booth sold quickly to a few collectors. Price for the lamp: $42,000.
Poppy vase, 21 inches high, c.1900. This Eosin-glazed ceramic vase was made by Zsolnay in Hungary. The iridescent (Eosin) glaze was first used in Vienna about 1899-1900. I liked its bright iridescent colors. Price: $75,000.
This fire screen is attributed to Adalbert Szabo, a Hungarian metalworker, working in France around 1930. It is wrought iron, cut metal and mesh and measures 29 by 38 3/4 by 10 inches. Szabo created all of the Art Deco ironwork for the ship, the S.S. “Normandie.” Price: $125,000.
This chair by Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992) sold on the second day to an important American museum. It is an early and important work by the Brazilian architect, made in the early 1960s. Other examples are in museums, but this one is noteworthy for its excellent condition and the original production tag still on the bottom of the chair showing it was number 41. The chair was in the same family for the last 70 years and, when located, was being used as an everyday chair to watch TV. Asking price: $190,000.
Roberto Lugo has a more affordable “village potter bodega” line. He creates unique 21st-century ceramics reflecting his “graffiti” art, such as this Butter Dish. Price: $750.
Dolce & Gabbana had a large presence in Miami this year. At Design Miami they showcased their elaborate, unique jewelry. Each unique piece is handcrafted under the strict supervision of partners Dolce and Gabbana. (You could watch several craftsmen and women creating the jewelry during the show.) Some finished pieces, ranging in price from a few hundred thousand dollars to fifteen million dollars, were on display in heavily locked and guarded cases. They also set up a “pop-up” furnishings store in another part of the city in a three-story building. Each floor was more over-the top than the one before—rooms with furnishings in all gold, all blue and white, in leopard and in multicolor.