At Design Miami, designers presented a new luxury code

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Written by Nick Remsen, CNNMiami

Modern codes of the luxury world are evolving. The meaning of the word – and the way luxury is created – has been discussed at length, but the events of the past two years have undoubtedly prompted new definitions or interpretations of the term.

With so much collective screen time, prohibited movements, omniscient social anxiety and a virtual certainty that this new pandemic-induced paradigm is here to stay, how could they not?

The emerging notion of luxury in 2022 – complex as luxury is yet to be defined – is that there is a greater sense of interdisciplinary interconnectivity, material substantiality, virtual influence and, perhaps, point and purpose.

Just look at the homes and interiors area for examples of the change (this is also an appropriate category, considering how much time we’ve been in our accommodations lately). At the just concluded Design Miami, the world’s premier collectable design fair, three clear themes emerged, all of which underpin the new and future recalibration of luxury: digital influence in the physical realm (and vice versa), an emphasis on the fusion of low-fi utility with high-end concepts, and, in particular, a deeper care for boats.
This year, Design Miami also introduced DMBX, an e-commerce platform for the “next generation” of collectors, according to the show. The platform offers more affordable options from well-known designers, whose work could otherwise go great line for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Retail prices on DMBX start at just $ 22.00; the launch is in line with the set lagging values ​​of late industries – luxury is no longer defined by exclusivity and expensiveness.

Draw from digital

Harry Nuriev is an artist, architect and designer born in Russia. He is also the founder of Crosby Studios, a New York and Moscow-based creative practice that has made significant inroads in recent years (Nuriev’s collaborative sofa with Balenciaga, which saw a clear plastic sectional sofa stuffed with stock of damaged or obsolete Balenciaga clothing, went viral in 2019).

Over the past two years, his work has become more conceptual: a state of mind that brings to life an aesthetic that fits into both tangible and virtual worlds. At Design Miami, her installation, titled “The Bedroom,” featured a reflective silver comforter covering the floor with matching pillows and wall panels. Above, a morphing LED light emitted the warm tones of a “Los Angeles sunset”. The artwork felt like it was pulled from a future meta-basement, where avatars might one day spend sleepovers.

“The Bedroom”, Harry Nuriev at Design Miami 2021. Credit: Crosby Studios / Design Miami

“All of my projects are very digital,” Nuriev told CNN Style, sitting on his mercurial quilt. “Sometimes people get confused when they see my work on screens, thinking they’re just projections. Our style is already supposed to be in the metaverse, we just adapt it, in a way, to something. thing you can feel and touch. ”

Nuriev also agreed that with the rise in popularity of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and the advancement of augmented and virtual realities, it is only a matter of time before the digital craze sweeping the world of l art is no longer becoming mainstream in the home (in fact, the first NFT digital home sold this year for $ 500,000). And, it’s probably inevitable that, over time, we own or rent digital residences in addition to our actual dwellings – the metaverse is getting bigger by the hour.

Utility gets hyper-upgraded

At Design Miami, the American plumbing, kitchen and bathroom manufacturing company Kohler launched a collaboration piece with artist Daniel Arsham called “Rock.01”. The partnership between artists and product makers is nothing new, but, on something as mundane and fundamental as a bathroom sink, the link has yet proven that in some ways nothing is off limits. when it comes to merging high-low concepts.

Video: Daniel Arsham injects art into unexpected places

Additionally, the sink – an organic amorphous pile of 3D printed vitreous china and hand-cast brass – is only available in a set of 99, adding a limited-edition item more often seen in galleries at art than in the homes of mass production. household appliance companies.

Daniel Arsham collaborated with Kohler, an American <a class=bathroom and kitchen manufacturing company, to create a high-concept sink.”/>

Daniel Arsham collaborated with Kohler, an American bathroom and kitchen manufacturing company, to create a high-concept sink. Credit: James Harris Photography / Design Miami

Arsham’s sculptural work tends to address questions of time and longevity, and, regarding this project, he said in a statement: “[It] merges the future of 3D printing technology with the most basic methods of hand-cast brass. It is literally the new, building on the old. ”

A deeper consideration for craftsmanship

“The continuation of craftsmanship in its many engaging approaches remains universal,” said Peter Mabeo, the designer and entrepreneur behind the Gaborone, Botswana-based company Mabeo, in a statement regarding his collaboration with Fendi.

The Italian luxury fashion brand (which also has its own furniture line called Fendi Casa) has long been involved with Design Miami, though their orders have generally been more polished – and more manufactured.

This was not the case this year, during which Mabeo worked with Silvia Venturini Fendi, Delfina Delettrez Fendi (the daughter of Silvia’s jewelry designer) and brand artistic director Kim Jones to organize and produce a installation of 10 pieces entitled “Kompa”. The pieces on display were all handmade by craftsmen from Botswana, using centuries-old wood and metalworking techniques. while channeling, in a subtle way, the distinct style of Fendi.

Mabeo's furniture collaboration with Fendi used centuries-old woodworking methods.

the collaboration with furniture from Mabeo Fendi used several centuries old methods of woodworking. Credit: Fendi x Mabeo / Design Miami

For example, a wooden Panga Panga chair, named “Maduo” and made in Botswana’s Mmankgodi Village, reinvents a piece of jewelry designed by Delettrez Fendi with repeated “F” shapes. According to an accompanying booklet regarding the exhibit, the piece represents “how the simplest ideas can be achieved with care and dedication to craftsmanship.” ”

Fendi’s shift from sleek and sexy to something deeper, something more artisanal – and ultimately something more personal – was picked up at Southern Guild, a South African gallery that featured an exhibition titled “Studio Visit “.

There, among towering vases and terracotta benches, founder and CEO Trevyn McGowan expressed a similar sentiment.

“People are looking for a greater connection to something, and with these works there is an apparent calming, alluring and very human feeling,” she said, adding, “I like to think that every piece here transmits the energy of the creators. ”

Southern Guild, a South African gallery, spotlighted four designers for the Miami Fair.

Southern Guild, a South African gallery, spotlighted four designers for the Miami Fair. Credit: James Harris Photography / Design Miami

Southern Guild showcased four designers – Andile Dyalvane, Madoda Fani, Chuma Maweni and Zizipho Poswa – in a cohesive and unmistakably beautiful showcase of local and long-standing craftsmanship that has also served to exemplify traditional and contemporary life in South Africa. Poswa’s towering urns were set with bronze horns, in homage to the spiritual offering at the heart of an ancient African custom called lobola, which is a dowry-like practice. The ceramics around Maweni retain a monastic veneration, rooted in centuries of practice transmitted and yet seeming ultra modern, in tandem.

McGowan points out that this deeper appreciation for boats and meaning is seen in the world, not just in the region she represents.

“People think more and are more sensitive,” she said. “It’s less about the ‘I must-have-this-to-have-this’ mentality, and more about the right passion and connection.”

Top image: futuristic bedroom Harry Nuriev “The Bedroom”, the show at Design Miami 2021.


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