Design Miami.LA

Design Miami.LA

Leave it to the unorthodox, upending, and often downright weird (in the best possible way) Design Miami to butt heads in an unspoken war of coasts for design excellence. Yes, there’s a Design Miami.LA, and, yes, it happened smack dab in the middle of NYCxDesign and ICFF! Not to spread ourselves too thin, but we thought the L.A. incarnation of this now nearly quarterly event warranted some coverage. Forthwith, a quick look at some eye-catchers from this mish-mash of super sunny cities.

Carpenters Workshop Gallery: Frederik Molenschot Bridge Beat Chair Oak

Bridge Oak chair side view at Design Miami.LA

Carpenters Workshop Gallery is known for big, bold expressive work within the admirable constraints of sustainability and upcycling. Frederik Molenschot’s Bridge Beat Chair Oak is all of the aforementioned and more. This raucous hunk of a chair is like a living Oak tailor-made for repose. “Robust, sculptural, anthropomorphic,” Bridge Beat Chair is made from recycled railway sleepers, awakening us to the great potential of discards and detritus.

Bridge Oak front at Design Miami.LA
Chair side view

Virgil Abloh Alaska Chair

Alaska Chair at Design Miami.LA

Also from Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, Virgil Abloh’s Alaska Chair is a quirky bit of genius, an enigmatic piece resplendent in bronze and gold and off-kilter in the most charming of ways. With legs askew and uneven and a door stop wedged beneath one (as if to balance out the whole ensemble), Alaska challenges our notions about apt proportions, stability, and functionality. It’s tilted and beautiful and icily incomprehensible—just like its namesake.

Side view of Alaska Chair at Design Miami.LA

Friedman Benda: Carmen D’Apollonio’s Let Me Pay My Taxes Today!

Carmen D'Apollonio lamp

D’Apollonio’s ceramic and linen lamp is a curiosity, a comical gesture, an illustrative example of the sculptor’s process: “My work is simple; it often gives way to humor. As if clay had its way of being, its own personality.” So what to say about this humanesque figure that appears to be melting onto the countertop while exclaiming eagerness and joy in paying taxes, of all things? Perhaps best to let the artist have the closing words: “Each lamp becomes its own character and seems like a little human. I never know what’s going to happen. One piece leads to another piece and there is no control. I just go with the flow.”

Front view of lamp

Darren Romanelli Sunrise Lounge

Sunrise Lounge with vintage fabric with indigenous motif as seen at Design Miami.LA

We love the name of the piece for its evocation of the Phoenix, that mythical bird that rises from the ashes of its own destruction. Designer Romanelli is known for discovering vintage discards and re-contextualizing them into new narratives: “I love finding something out of a pile that once had so much energy in the marketplace and now is just a ghost of a story. Being able to breathe new life into that vintage piece, doctor it up as something new.” Design Miami.LA showcases how Sunrise is an enchanting mishmash of indigenous pattern and 70s heavy stripes. It’s comfy and colorful and clever and definitely tells a new story.

Rear view of cushy chair at Design Miami.LA
Fabric detail

Frida Escobedo Creek Chair

Creek Chair front view with pools of nickel beading

Arguably a spiritual counterpart to Sunrise but yet very, very different, Frida Escobedo’s Creek Chair is like a Komondor dog with silken locks of precious pearls. While execution of this piece did not, in fact, require the services of thousands of oysters, it did necessitate painstaking threading of nickel ball chain—to the tune of thousands of the slippery suckers. Creek Chair conveys a sense of unkempt elegance, a kind of fluid growth suggestive of reluctance to trim the most bountiful and beautiful of curly locks.

Creek Chair detail of nickel chain exhibited at Design Miami.LA
Front view partial view Creek chair

Joseph Walsh Studio Dommus Dining Table

Joseph Walsh Studio Dommus Dining Table view from above

Based in the woodsy environs of County Cork, Ireland, Joseph Walsh Studio categorizes their oeuvre as “Magnus,” “Opus,” and “Dommus,” the latter two being of monumental, non-transportable scale, and the third (translated loosely as “house” or “domestic”) more suited for actual living. A sinuous bit of sculpture with a beautifully crafted wood top, the Dommus Dining Table toes the line between art and design. Dommus is part of Joseph Walsh’s Erosion Series, each of which capture the “layered fluidity,” of organic objects. Dommus is stylized and sensualized. It’s an especialy dynamic piece, evoking the unbound movement of natural things—from wind to water to human bodies.

Table with single chair against red accent wall
Handcrafted wooden dining table with two chairs in open space painted white

Draga and Aurel Flare Table IV, IT, 2023

Flare Table made of Lucite with shots of red, yellow, green blue
From Todd Merrill Studio, Flare is a tour de force in Lucite that uses the material to explore transparency, translucency, tonal interplay, reflection, and refraction. A compelling piece that harnesses our atavistic fascination with ethereal objects, Flare invites participation and exploration. Its very nature changes depending on your angle of approach, conditions of light and sun, even the surrounding infrastructure: “With its ever-changing appearance from different angles, the table epitomize the essence of a flare, representing intuition, revelation, and the joy of discovery.”
Lucite table detail
Flare table detailed view of top at Design Miami.LA

Jonathan Prince x Zdeněk Lhotský Spectrum Cubes

Spectrum Cube green
Our last piece at Design Miami.LA continues the theme of transparency while adding a little bit of love. a collaboration between sculptor Jonathan Prince, Czech glass artist Zdeněk Lhotský, and Alexandra Grant’s grantLOVE project, Spectrum glass cubes are comprised of six shades of cast glass that together explore the origins of perception and sight. With its selection of ROYGBIV colors, Spectrum deconstructs the internal cerebral experience of witnessing reality: “Our world is a black box until our brain, using the eyes as sensors, puts together what we see. That is not the ‘real’ world. It is a construction that we create.” As the world’s oldest atelier dedicated to cast glass sculpture, the Czech-based Lhotsky Studio knows a thing or two about the ways these colors combine to form the basis of perception: “Just as glass alters the trajectory and qualities of light, the brain interprets and shapes the raw sensory data it receives to form our individual realities… each unique Spectrum cube invites the observer to understand the world not as a fixed entity, but as a dynamic interplay of perception and cognition.” Prince and Lhotský privilege one color, however, in this process of internal visualization and external expression, reserving violet, “the color representing the highest vibration,” for artist Alexandra Grant’s iconic Love symbol, etched on the surface.
Cubes shown in several colors
Cast glass sculpture in blue
Love Cube in Violet

Design Miami.LA wrapped up on May 21. See here for further details and info. on the next iteration, just around the corner in Basel, June 10-16.

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