Design Miami & Art Basel 2017: Brand Spaces
This year’s Art Basel and Design Miami events (December 5-10) created the perfect opportunity for brands to creatively collaborate on projects, capturing the attention of the experience-hungry Miami crowd. We select the highlights.
- Cos’s Interactive Playground: Swedish fashion brand Cos and London-based Studio Swine reprised their immersive experience New Spring (see Milan 2017: Branded Spaces) in Miami. It featured the same crowd-pleasing tree-like installation, which expels bubbles of scented ‘mist’ for visitors to play with – but found a much brighter home in the double-height Art Deco Temple House building on South Beach. A mezzanine-level Cos pop-up shop and rooftop garden offered some much-needed respite from the bustle of the shows.
- American Express’s Mesmerising Maze: UK-based set designer Es Devlin created Room 2022 – a 7,000 sq ft immersive installation within the luxury Miami Beach Edition hotel for American Express. Inspired by the idea of waking up in unfamiliar surroundings, the experience began in a muted-toned, reimagined hotel room, where guests gathered on a bed and armchairs to watch a wall-to-wall video by Devlin.
Visitors were then invited to navigate their way through a corridor of numbered doors. Some were closed, or led visitors back to the start, while others revealed a 360-degree zoetrope (which creates the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of images) showing a video that bathed the viewer in colour, and a mirror-maze room.
- BMW’s Science & Art Fusion: The German car manufacturer collaborated with Dutch artist collective Studio Drift on an installation merging science, technology and art. Three hundred drones, each fitted with a light source, were flown in an illuminated starling-inspired swarm high above the beach at the luxury Faena Hotel.
- Fendi Revisits Material Archive: Italian luxury brand Fendi collaborated with Milanese furniture designer Chiara Andreatti on an installation titled Welcome!. Created within a living-room setting, the Fendi material universe was brought to life through Cuoio Romano (a type of calfskin leather) furnishings, the use of selleria hand-stitching (used on Fendi bags and accessories), and Fendi’s iconic Pequin pattern.
- Airbnb Narrates Host Stories: Airbnb presented Belgian furniture studio Muller Van Severen’s installation The Wild Thing. The studio recreated its own living room, inviting guests to discover the designers’ personal histories through audio triggered by a visitor’s proximity to individual objects. The studio’s home in Belgium was simultaneously rented out on Airbnb.
- Prada Installation Ventures into ‘Real Life’: The Prada Double Club Miami by Belgian artist Carsten Höller was an invite-only neon and foliage-filled art installation, designed to be experienced as a fully functioning nightclub. Housed in a former ice factory/film studio, the space was intended to move the art experience from a restrictive gallery environment to a “real life” setting.
- 3rd Audemars Piguet Art Commission: Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet collaborated with American visual artist Lars Jan on a climate-change-themed installation. Titled Slow-Moving Luminaries, the immersive kinetic installation took the form of a two-storey pavilion on South Beach. On the ground floor, visitors were guided around architectural model-like sculptures that rose and fell onto dense flora and fauna.
Atop the structure, a pool of water was revealed alongside rising sculptures that popped up to form a cohesive miniature skyline. A comment on the fragility of the natural and manmade worlds, the flow of visitors around the lower space also spelt out SOS.
- Retailers Embrace the Arts: Stores are increasingly taking on the role of gallerist, with international luxury brand Loewe hosting Change Encounter III – an exhibition of ceramics, photography and paintings. Gucci has debuted its new flagship store with a mural by Spanish artist collaborator Coco Capitan. Meanwhile, in a clever promotion ahead of the opening of its Miami store, LA retailer Tenoversix turned the empty space over to a gallery for an exhibition of paintings.