A day prior to the preview of Design Miami, America learned it had endured a yearlong recession. But the news didn’t faze the design-art showcase’s 23 participating galleries. VIPs crowded Design Miami’s vernissage, and in interviews several dealers were optimistic that buyers would respond well to the upscale limited editions on display. Perhaps the greatest signal of such confidence: their championing as many fresh-faced designers as bankable stars. In a similarly hopeful vein, a number of Design Miami satellite events launched all-new businesses.
- David Sokol

Total design
Young New Yorkers Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch secured their up-and-coming status at multiple scales this year. The pair was responsible for conceiving the lacy tent commissioned by Design Miami to house its exhibitors—the first time the show has not been held inside an existing Miami Design District building. Moreover, Johnson Trading Gallery devoted half of his sprawling booth to Aranda\Lasch. There, collectors got a more intimate look at the architects’ approach to patternmaking with objects like the Octohedra Stool, a 10-piece run of CNC-milled sandstone, or the robotically cut, hand-assembled table Quasi Console. Johnson Trading Gallery, New York City. www.johnsontradinggallery.com


In bloom
Whereas the designs of Aranda\Lasch are derived from the mathematical patterns found in nature, David Wiseman takes a more literal approach to the subject. His work realistically portrays branches and flowers in bronze, porcelain, and other materials, and was one highlight at R 20th Century, well known for raising the profile of Modernist furniture designers such as Wendell Castle. At Design Miami the gallery introduced Wiseman and four other young designers, but also showed furniture by mid-century Brazilian designer Joaquim Tenreiro. R 20th Century, New York City. www.r20thcentury.com
Photo © Sherry Griffin for R 20th Century, New York 



Chilean cool
Cristina Grajales introduced Sebastián Errázuriz to the U.S. marketplace in 2006 with the launch of one limited-edition product, the wall-mounted Piano Shelf. But at this year’s Design Miami the Chilean designer effectively took over his patron’s booth. Among the deluge of new work was the Delta series: In this contemporary version of treen, Errázuriz routed a block made of plywood sheets into slender, streamlined seating. Cristina Grajales, New York City. www.cristinagrajalesinc.com



Chocolate factory
Recalling Nadja Swarovski, Valentina Fontana launched the brand Altreforme during Design Miami with a tweak of her family business—Fontana Group, a 52-year-old engineer and manufacturer of auto bodies. Using the same machines that manipulate metal into a streamlined chassis, Altreforme realizes monumental, limited-edition furnishings like the bookcase Cioccolata by Turkish designer Aziz Sariyer. This freestanding piece of stamped aluminum resembles the mold of a giant Toblerone bar. Fhome, Calolziocorte, Lecco, Italy. www.altreforme.com

Taking a spin
Figuring that fine artists are better suited to expressing themselves on wall-hanging tapestry instead of rugs, The Rug Company founders Christopher and Suzanne Sharp decided to revive this dying, painstaking craft. The result is a new venture called Banners of Persuasion, which is producing work by 15 invited artists in editions of five. The tapestries range from a revelatory silhouette by Kara Walker to Paul Noble’s transcription of his well-known fictional city Nobson Newtown to warp and weft. Banners of Persuasion, Los Angeles. www.bannersofpersuasion.com