The sixth edition of Design Miami opened yesterday in its bespoke tent just across from Art Basel Miami Beach—some miles from its original locale in the Design District. The advantage of such a move had already been proven at this year’s Design Miami Basel where its Swiss sister fair attracted an entirely new clientele by moving next to the main art fair. Dealers were quick to hail the relocation. Patrick Seguin, one of the originators of Design Miami, said: “In Basel, our visibility and business acceler- ated from one to ten, it will be the same here.” The move also signalled the return of key dealers such as Barry Friedman, who had dropped out after the inaugural edition. “Now for sure it’s the design fair of the nation. Nothing else comes close,” he said. Even so, the fair remains elite with just 15 dealers, over half of whom come from New York. Stands are well stocked with works by leading designers including Wendell Castle, whose giant 2010 Don Juan rocking chair in dyed black mahogany is at Barry Friedman, priced at $115,000.
High prices were achieved within the first hour of the VIP preview. New York dealer Todd Merrill sold an Enignum II Table (asking price of $145,000) by Irish artist Joseph Walsh to renowned architect Rafael Viñoly and his wife, interior decorator Diana Viñoly. Two other early sales suggest the returning strength of the market: a Campana Brothers sofa from the “Mono Sushi” series at Perimeter Art and Design sold to a US collector for $130,000 and Sebastian Errazuriz’s Porcupine cabinet at Cristina Grajales Gallery, singled out by Caroline Baumann, associate director of New York’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum as her pick of the fair, sold to a US collector for $60,000. Entrepreneur George Kravis, fashion designer Calvin Klein and model Naomi Campbell were spotted at the preview. It was a far cry from the early days of the fair’s chaotic opening parties held in the Design District’s atmospheric Moore building, and another sign that Design Miami has reached maturity.