Lillium III , Joseph Walsh
Gallery Showroom, Haas Brothers
Black Leather Teddy Bear Sofa
Today, you have only to enter the lobby of a contemporary hotel or visit the home of a modern art collector to encounter these arresting hybrid objects. Design Miami, has become a fixture in the calendars of a rising group of collectors who value their furniture as highly as their art, welcoming 36,000 visitors last December.
And for these determinedly individual collectors, the pieces they own express their own idiosyncratic vision as surely as the paintings and sculptures they own. There is nothing timid about contemporary collectors’ taste—so the wit and ingenuity of much design art appeals to their own sense of adventure, and as the market continues to grow, it seems there need be no limit to the artists’ invention …
Notable names on the contemporary scene include leading British designer Max Lamb, who has experimented most recently with the Japanese lacquer technique to create furniture of startlingly bright, patched color, and Irishman Joseph Walsh, who creates romantic beds and dramatic tables from sensuously curved pale ash that astonish with their technical bravura. In a different mood, there are the Brazilian Campana brothers whose exuberant sofas and armchairs are created from materials as unexpected as stuffed animals, or the unsettling bestial furniture, complete with animal horns, of the LA-born Haas brothers, Nikolai and Simon.
Urushi Coffee Table
Split Chair Light Brown
The virtual world has become an increasingly significant marketplace for collectible design. Ambra Medda’s stylish website L’ArcoBaleno offers one edited pick of the most exciting contemporary design, while Artspace and Artsy offer a more focused perspective on the leading designers, art fairs, gallery exhibitions, and auctions. As Alex Gilbert, design specialist at Artsy, puts it, “Design and art are naturally complementary given that they live together in our interior spaces.”
Design has been a category on their website from early on, but has become a serious focus since 2012, and, Gilbert adds, when it comes to translating enquiries into sales, “the category of design has one of the highest rates of conversion.” Since their overall monthly enquiries have increased ten-fold since October 2013, this suggests that, as collectors grow more confident about buying art online, so design may find its way across the world increasingly via the web.
So whether you choose the curvilinear work of Zaha Hadid, the floating lagoon on legs by Vincent Dubourg or the curious objects of Dutch collective Formafantasma, (and wherever in the world these creations originate), you can easily bring this thrilling fusion of the conceptual and the practical into your home.