What we will see at Design Miami/ Basel

Grela Orihuela, vice-president of Design Miami, the fair running June 13 - 18, 2023, gives us a preview of what we will see in Basel next week

Afrikya, 2022, Hamed Ouattara, Foreign Agent

Design Miami/ Basel, fair dedicated to collectible design, together with Art Basel, the world’s leading art fair, form a small microcosm that takes over the quiet Swiss city of Basel for an entire week. There are two special projects in this edition: At the Skatepark, in which designer Caroline Van Hoek will present works of jewelry that are inspired by skateparks, Flap³, an interactive artwork by Cyril Lancelin that will use 12 Soli radar sensors – a miniature radar developed by Google ATAP that understands human motions at various scales – to allow viewers to influence the form of the artwork, and create a unique ever-evolving shape through their movements and speed.

Design Miami/ Basel

Furthermore, this year’s edition of Design Miami/ Basel will combine both historical and contemporary design, presenting a remarkable overview of the evolution of collectible design history. This special edition of the Basel fair has been designed as a celebration of many of the galleries that have shaped the market for collectible design as we know it today. Grela Orihuela, Vice President of Design Miami, tells us about it.

Grela Orihuela Photo © Rocco Ceselin

What can we expect from this edition of Design Miami/ Basel?
I’m so excited about this year’s edition of the fair. We will be offering an engaging program with a particular focus on the iconic 20th century design that has become synonymous with our Basel edition. We hope visitors will welcome the intimate feeling of the presentation, showcasing a selective format that has been designed as a celebration of the galleries that have shaped the market for collectible design, both historic and contemporary, as we know it today.

Cité Chair, 1932, Jean Prouvé at Galerie Patrick Seguin

What are the main highlights this year?
The presentation on show at Basel will offer our visitors the opportunity to experience some of the most established names in the industry. I hope every visitor will come away with their own personal favorite and unique take on the fair. Personally, I am particularly excited by two of our debut galleries. Lausanne-based gallery, Foreign Agent, will showcase an exciting presentation of works by acclaimed designers specializing in contemporary African art and design. Meanwhile, Galerie Gastou, one of our Paris-based galleries, will present an eclectic array of works united by themes of brutalism and surrealism. And of course, I am always excited to see Galerie Patrick Seguin’s presentation of wonderful masterpieces by Jean Prouvé.

Roly Poly Chair, Faye Toogood, Friedman Benda Photo © Angus Mill

Is this a positive moment for collectible design?
Absolutely. I think the collectible design scene is currently growing and expanding to a wider audience. I think we can credit this largely to global communication tools – such as social media. I also believe this is a result of increased education and storytelling around the collectible design world that has contributed to how design is interpreted and perceived. Great design has the ability to evoke both an emotional and intellectual response. It is the catalyst for a stronger connection to the way we live.

Hand Grenade suspension lamp, 1958, Alvar Aalto, Gokelaere & Robinson
Shanghai Chair, Daniel Arsham, Friedman Benda. Photo © Timothy Doyon

What is the relationship between the Miami edition and the Basel edition, and what is the international development strategy of the fair?
The Miami Beach fair was first, almost 20 years ago now, shortly followed by the Basel fair. The Basel programming tends to focus on historic design in comparison to the Miami edition which leans more to the contemporary. Having said that, our approach to the event programming for each fair is always evolving – we consult the perspectives of our valued community of collectors, gallerists, curators, collecting institutions and visitors, to create a special edition each year that reflects the current and ever changing design landscape.

Sideboard, 1952 by Jean Prouvé at Galerie Downtown-Laffanour

Which are the strongest markets for this sector?
We still consider Miami and Basel as epicenters for collectible design, and always greatly look forward to convening with the international design community in these cities each year – but it’s exciting to see strong growth across the world with a noticeable boom in the Asian market in recent years. Of course, every region requires a unique approach that works with and promotes its existing design ecosystem. As the global forum for collectible design, Design Miami/ is in a uniquely exciting position to help grow and create markets through collaborations and amplification – whether that be through support of existing events, or new activations. We look forward to seeing where the mission will continue to take us.