Olson Kundig Architects stacked and staggered glu-lam beams into a handsome, comfortable lounge for Design Miami. The chandelier is by Lilienthal | Zamora.

Design Miami, now in its 10th year, has thrived since it moved from the Design District to a tent in the parking lot of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Outside the tent, a colorful pavilion by Jonathan Muecke offered relief from the expanses of white vinyl. Inside, Alan Maskin of Seattle’s Olson Kundig Architects also diverged from the tent aesthetic, stacking and staggering massive glu-lam beams into a handsome, comfortable enclosure, the fair’s Collectors Lounge. (The room is furnished with pieces by partners Jim Olson and Tom Kundig.) When Design Miami closes, the beams, recovered from a building in Los Angeles, will be transferred to Studio 804, a socially conscious design/build program at the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning.

The lounge was the setting for a panel discussion on whether Miami has become “an architecture city.” There was lots of talk of Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Bjarke Ingels, and others who are putting Miami on the architecture map, but as Miami-based architect (and panelist) Rene Gonzalez said, there is a difference between designing individual condo buildings “and having a vision for a city.” Terry Riley, former director of what is now the Perez Art Museum Miami, said that some local institutions, including the University of Miami, need to “recalibrate” their use of architecture, but that a planned campus by Frank Gehry for the YoungArts Foundation, incorporating the tropical modern Bacardi complex, will do good things for the city.

Outside the lounge, collectors ogled vintage furniture; there were several displays of French mid-century design, including a smart tableau of Prouvé, Perriand, etc., from Paris’s Laffanour Galerie Downtown. New York’s Demisch Danant went heavily “Mad Men” with pieces by the likes of Pierre Paulin (the subject of a design district exhibition), and the Joe Sheftel Gallery and Koenig & Clinton came with a collection of iconic works by Memphis master Ettore Sottsass. The retro emphasis may reflect the small number of living designers who can command prices high enough to justify a presence at the fair. But under first year director Rodman Primack, cut-rate booths were made available to newcomers including Patrick Parrish, a New York Gallery that showed gridded metal furniture by Minneapolis’s RO/LU. Gallery ALL (the first Design Miami participant from China) displayed a single item: a huge piece of cabinetry in the shape of Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren’s CCTV tower, but in wood. The price for the piece, by Naihan Li: $120,000. But that was hardly the most expensive attempt to turn iconic architecture into furniture; Studio Job wins that distinction with ornate tables and cabinets based on ornate buildings like Chartres Cathedral, priced at up to $500,000.

One surprise at Design Miami was a booth touting the Marina Abramovic Institute, to be built in Hudson, New York; chaises by Patricia Urquiola are available for $15,000, to benefit the institute. The chaises, a cheerful representative explained, are not just comfortable, but tax deductible.