Design Miami/ Expands to Paris and Names New Curatorial Director, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Maria Cristina Didero. Photography by Stefan Giftthaler

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

Design Miami/ Expands to Paris, Names New Curatorial Director

Design Miami/ is launching its first-ever Paris edition this October, coinciding with sister fair Art Basel’s recent (and controversial) expansion to the Grand Palais. It’s a strategic move for the collectible design fair and online platform, which has long upheld the city’s historical importance in the decorative arts and collaborated with French-based Galerie Patrick Seguin, Galerie Kreo, and Galerie Jacques Lacoste at previous physical editions in Miami and Basel

In addition, Design Miami/ has named author Maria Cristina Didero as global curatorial director. She succeeds Wava Carpenter, who now serves as editor of The Forum/ magazine. Didero has curated exhibitions for the National Building Museum, the Design Museum Holon, and three editions of Fendi’s award-winning booths at Design Miami/ with commissions by Cristina Celestino, Chiara Andreatti, and Sabine Marcelis. The first fair under her purview, at Basel in June, will adhere to this year’s curatorial theme “The Golden Age,” which she describes as an idea that “envisions the world at peace, in which advancements in the arts and technology precipitate unprecedented ease, cooperation, pleasure, and beauty; a time in which every living creature on Earth coexists in harmony.”

Play structures in Denmark by Superflex and

Schoolchildren help design whimsical marble play sculptures at a park in Denmark.

A novel concept in the Danish town of Billund could be a model for how to approach playgrounds. The Portuguese practice and studio Superflex teamed up with local school children to design Play Contact, a series of five pink marble play sculptures. Created for the organization Capital of Children, the process involved giving 122 school-aged kids Lego bricks to experiment with different constructions. “Most [playgrounds] are designed and built based on grown-ups’ notions of children and how they should behave,” Superflex says. “With Play Contract, the balance of power is tipped, and now it’s the children’s turn to devise a playful space for themselves and grown-ups. What kinds of play equipment should be in such a playground? What kind of playground would they like to have when they grow up?”

Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH expresses skepticism about the rise of the metaverse. 

Even though fashion has embraced the world of NFTs, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is taking a wait-and-see approach. “We’re not interested in selling virtual sneakers for 10 Euros,” he recently said while discussing LVMH’s performance in Q4 of 2021. “It’s a purely virtual world and until now, we are in the real world and we sell real products. To be sure, it’s compelling, it’s interesting, it can even be quite fun. We have to see what are the applications of this metaverse and these NFTs.” However, the conglomerate has previously tested the digital waters: Louis Vuitton launched a mobile game with 30 NFTs designed by Beeple, Givenchy sold a series of Chito-illustrated avatars for as much as 5 ETH ($12,325 at the time of publishing), and more recently, Fendi and Ledger collaborated on high-fashion crypto wallets. 

Citing Covid-related delays, Frieze Los Angeles cancels a public sculpture component.

Frieze Los Angeles has canceled plans to stage a free public art exhibition at a Beverly Hills park alongside the art fair’s opening. “We’ve determined that we don’t have sufficient artworks to realize a full-scale public-sculpture installation,” fair representative Belinda Bowring told the Los Angeles Times, citing Covid-related shipping delays and labor shortages as making Frieze Sculpture too difficult to execute. The outdoor sculpture show was going to feature 12 works by the likes of Chris Burden, Woody De Othello, and Ugo Rondinone

Louis Vuitton’s new menswear boutique in the Miami Design District by Marcel Wanders

Marcel Wanders wraps Louis Vuitton’s Miami store in a diamond-patterned facade.

Playing on past collaborations, whimsical Dutch practice Marcel Wanders Studio has unveiled a white-patterned shell for Louis Vuitton’s menswear store in the Miami Design District. The hexagonal motif, informed by the leather straps on Louis Vuitton’s iconic bags, recalls Wanders’ the Diamond Screen room divider he designed for the brand’s Objet Nomades collection and also takes inspiration from the city’s famously modernist architecture. “Starting with a bag strap, we created a module, which became a room divider, which then became a broader interior feature, and finally a large-scale architectural facade,” says creative director Gabriele Chiave.

The New York City Housing Authority is seeking designs for an all-electric heat pump.

Following the deadly fire in a Bronx public housing building that killed 17 people and was likely caused by a space heater, the New York City Housing Authority has issued a design challenge for an affordable new all-electric heat pump to be installed throughout its properties by the end of 2025. The city is asking for a window-based heating system that costs less than $3,000 per unit and can be installed in less than two hours. The winning project, which will be announced in June, will also adhere to the city’s ambitious green targets of reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2050. “I think it’s fair to say that the majority of our systems are at the end of their useful lives,” says Vlada Kenniff, NCYHA’s VP for Energy and Sustainability. “We want to be able to say, ‘You’re not going to have to go and find additional millions of dollars for an electrification option. You can affordably electrify the building now.” 

Ritz Carlton Residences in Pompano Beach. Image courtesy Berga & Gonzalez

Ritz Carlton announces a new residential project in Florida’s Pompano Beach.

Taking cues from its higher-profile neighbors on Florida’s Gold Coast, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the breezy low-key hamlet of Pompano Beach will welcome its first true luxury high-rise with the announcement of the new Ritz-Carlton Residences slated to open in 2025. Split between two asymmetrical buildings, Revuelta Architecture International conceived the oceanfront 32-story Beach Tower with an undulating facade that nods to the flow of waves, while the 14-story Marina Tower, facing the Intercoastal Waterway, resembles a yacht’s bow. 

A follow-up to his first stateside project, the Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach, acclaimed Milan-based designer Piero Lissoni imbued the 205 residences and communal spaces with his signature refined style, balancing a sleek aesthetic with nautical and Mediterranean notes. Organic forms, natural materials, and subtle colors with accents of rich blue—the hue of a statement spiral staircase in the Marina Tower—reflect the property’s idyllic setting. Resort-style amenities include a yacht club with a private marina, beach club, sports courts, tropical pool decks, indoor-outdoor social areas, and on-site culinary spaces to name a few. 

Berlin artists are protesting the use of Tempelhof airport as a site for art exhibitions.

Though Berlin officials plan to transform the former Tempelhof airport into a complex for arts and culture in the long term, they’ve granted curator Walter Smerling’s Foundation for Art and Culture temporary use of the airport’s hangars to stage major exhibitions. The inaugural show, dedicated to French artist Bernar Venet, opened last week. Local artists are protesting the decision and calling for a boycott of the new Kunsthalle Berlin, citing the entity as a “cynical, neoliberal vehicle that will primarily serve to increase the stature and private wealth of all those associated with it.” Further, artists accused Smerling’s company of opaque decision-making and failing to previously pay artists while profiting in the millions.

Today’s attractive distractions:

The artist Concetta Antico, a tetrachromat, can distinguish 100 million different colors.

Scientists created an “everlasting bubble” that lasted almost 500 days without popping.

Paris has started resurfacing the long-buried river Bièvre to combat climate change.

The word “zhuzh” has a diversity of spellings—and a fiery debate about its etymology.

All Stories