Under the direction of the first Italian woman, Maria Cristina Didero. Design Miami/Basel is throwing us into a Golden Age for design and culture
From June 14-19, 2022, Basel, Switzerland will welcome visitors from all over the world for the 16th edition of Design Miami/Basel. This year, Design Miami has the creative direction of the new Curatorial Director, Maria Cristina Didero who decided this year’s theme would be dubbed The Golden Age. As a way of confronting the period we are facing and a wish for those who desire to commit themselves to creating. The specific theme for Design Miami/Basel is The Golden Age: Rooted in the Past. Which will lead way for Design Miami fair The Golden Age: Rooted in the Future.
Design Miami holds annual editions in Miami, Basel, and new to this year, Paris. These global fairs have become a global powerhouse in the field of design. Promoting historic and contemporary collectible designs at various events and fairs, brings together contenders from galleries, collectors, producers, and buyers. For Europe, Design Miami/Basel is the design and art fair in Europe.
There will be over 50 exhibitor presentations, around 30 new designers. Friedman Benda will present 2 exhibitions, with new works by American designer and sculptor, Misha Kahn. Visitors can find some historical 20th century pieces available at the Morentz Gallery, alongside the Galerie Matthieu Richard. For more contemporary art, there will be a curio by Faina, from Antwerp. With an angle on people and the planet.
Maria Cristina Didero will be the first Italian woman curator to lead Design Miami and has assumed the title of Curatorial Director, succeeding Aric Chen. Didero is no stranger to international fairs. She has designed exhibitions for international institutions, exhibitions, and fairs around the world, from New York to Paris, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, and many more. For years, Didero has been a fixture at Design Miami and makes sure to visit every year.
As a prominent figure in the word of the design industry as a recognisable figure in the world of design curation, Maria Cristina was already very familiar with Design Miami. Her and her husband, who notably works in contemporary arts, make it a family tradition to visit Design Miami every December. «The fair has always been open to culture and exchange. The fair is a square, a meeting point and it’s important to meet new people. It’s one of the main points of design Miami», asserts Didero. A certain sensitivity to style and design is in her blood. She’s collaborated with various brands such as Lexus, Fendi, and Valextra, to create installations and exhibitions using her refined taste.
Didero’s approach to design is rather humanistic. She’s more interested in showing people and the process that led to the result, rather than the final object itself. She tries to combine humans with objects in a way that tells a story. Not to get confused with storytelling as a process.
Within her shows, Maria Cristina plays often on human feeling, empathy, and struggle. The human hands that created the certain object. Why it was created, for whom, what was its purpose. She’s interested in finding out how the creative of an object where born.
The Golden Age is Upon Us
Maria Cristina decided the theme for this year should be titled The Golden Age, and this theme will be applied to Design Miami’s flagship fairs in Basel and Miami. She thinks of it as a wish for the future. A concept that brings us together and reboots the artistic world. It’s a vision that calls for a peaceful world. Where advances in art and technology allow for the flourishing of partnerships between Earth and the creatures inhabiting it. After these past couple years of the pandemic, the unprecedented times that have been inflicted on us. Too much enthusiasm thrown at us is thought to have been too positive, almost fake.
The Golden Age is idyllic. It speaks upon the idea to live in harmony with humans, animals, it’s a heaven on earth. Didero wanted to work on the idea that if we all come together, from arts, tech, and beauty; people can join hands to improve our current global situation. Improve circumstances to lead to a better life, such as ending the war in Ukraine, or saving our dying planet. The idea was born from looking around at her surroundings, to think forward and unite forces to do good.
The Golden Age is not the age we are currently living in. It’s based on the notion of togetherness and revival. The desire is to see eventual modernization in technology, beauty, culture, and education. A major principal of Didero’s concept concerns sustainability. We should be troubled by the fact that we must do something to save ourselves and Earth. Maria Cristina is a heavy advocate for sustainability and visitors can find plenty pieces surrounding that theme within the fairs. «Everybody talks about sustainability, but we need to be talking about it more». Stresses Didero. Using her newfound platform, the new Curational Director hopes that the more we talk and interact, the more we can find solutions.
A few latest entries
Design Miami/Basel conglomerates work from established and emerging designers across a variety of fields. With a series of shows that feature collectable lighting, furniture, and other objects. One of Design Basel’s highlights is always their new talents. This year, there will be 30 new designers debuting in the fair. Every gallery has their own designer, the main Golden Age Exhibition collects some pieces form every gallery to bring to their satellite area with the new designers.
The process is conducted with careful research: the committee is selecting the final gallery line-up for each fair’s edition. Works are selected by galleries on site. They are vetted by a committee of experts to ensure their authenticity, and above all they need to be able respect the high standards of Design Miami
She does the research in advance and she decides who would be best for which fair. Galleries have their own process when curating the young designers. The fair selects the curators and satellite projects. For Maria Cristina, when picking designers, she is influenced by her own approach, more about people and less about objects. She is more interested in knowing the approach that allowed for the final product to arrive. The piece must be relevant and have a motive as to why it was created.
Visitors can marvel upon designers from all over the world
As every year, the fair will feature emerging established and emerging designers from all over the world. For example, to name a few of them, the Ukrainian-born designer Victoria Yakusha, whose mission is to tell her country’s cultural heritage and artisan craftsmanship via modern design. Her works were in line with The Golden Age and designed a presentation titled Stepping on Ukrainian Soil. The center point of the Curio will be an intricate handwoven 2.5-meter-long tapestry, titled Zemlia, which is Ukrainian for “Earth”.
It will also feature a curio by Particle, a company who supports the artistic duo, Lanzavecchia and Wai. These are two designers from completely different cultures. Wai hailing from Singapore and Lanzavecchia from Italy, who’s work feeds into one another’s respective backgrounds, knowledge, and skills to create something completely new. Their Curio is titled Veleni, meaning “Poisons” in Italian. The project is about a table, with ornate pieces such as glasses and carafes, that are the centrepieces of the table. All the pieces are done in glass and real poison has been embedded into every piece. This isn’t your typical kind of liquid poison – think about everyday objects such as expired pills, microplastics and tire scraps. The artists created this to show the paradox that is the world we live in, it’s a table full of beauty but in reality, full of poison. “I learned from the artists that in 1 week. We eat the same amount of plastic that equals to the size of a credit card”, claims Maria Cristina.
She learned this fact from the artists who wanted to play on the very idea of what you put close to your mouth, most probably has been embedded with some sort of poison. “it’s very metaphorical but strong, think of it as a wakeup call regarding suitability and understanding that poison is closer to us than we think. Poison is in our everyday lives.”
Particle will also be displaying some NFT works of art. This isn’t the centerpiece or main idea, but they will be bringing NFT’s to please collectors searching for digital art.
From Basel to Paris and Miami
The Golden Age will continue its journey throughout the world. Due to the fact Basel is one of the older cities in Europe, rich in culture, The Golden Age for Design Basel focuses more on historical pieces and artists, with pieces from the likes of Jean Prouvé, for example. In Basel, the Golden Age is rooted in the past. As we move to Miami, The Golden Age evolves to the future. Miami is about what’s happening right now at this very moment. It’s also in Miami where the fair accepts more young designers, looking to give them a chance.
Paris is still a work in progress, Maria Cristina claims she’s got some interesting ideas regarding how to fit The Golden Age within the new fair. Rest assured, visitors will not be disappointed.
Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, the fair in Shanghai did not happened. Due to the fact Design Miami Shanghai won’t occur, organizers are hoping for a major influx of visitors. It so happens to be that Salon del Mobile is occurring the week before Art Basel. “I’m really hoping people will decide to stay in Europe and come visit us in Base after Salon del Mobile in Milan”, says Dedero. In the end, Basel is only a few hours by train and car from Milan.
Messe Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Design Miami/Basel is an exhibition of international design. It is one of the most important and influential design fairs in Europe.