For the first time, Design Miami, the pre-eminent international fair for limited edition design, has commissioned a new temporary structure to house the main body of the show. Laser Cutting Shapes of Columbus, Ohio was chosen to laser cut the enormous panels required to cover the facade.
Created by emerging award-winning New York architectural practice, Aranda\Lasch, the 43,000 ft2 (4,000 m2) space is located at the intersection of NE 39th Street and 1st Court in Miami’s Design District. The commission marks a thrilling addition to the Design Miami curatorial program, underlining the show’s objective to underscore the inseparable relationship between design and architecture.
“We’ve always staged Design Miami in wonderful historical buildings, such as the Moore Building in Miami and the Markthalle in Basel, but this year we decided to use our venue to make a bold architectural statement reflecting the future of design rather than the past,” Ambra Medda, Design Miami’s Director explains. She adds, “We are very excited to be able to collaborate with a young and innovative studio that is not afraid to experiment and take risks. We see this project as the embodiment of today’s spirit, in which traditional boundaries are becoming meaningless and creatives are working across the disciplines of art, architecture and design. These ideas are also echoed inside the show, where we are seeing more limited edition design work created by architects and more gallerists carrying architectural drawings and maquettes.”
“There were two key things we wanted to accomplish,” Ben Aranda of Aranda\Lasch explains of the final design. “We wanted to make the interior ample and light-filled. When you’re exhibiting furniture and design objects, you need a taller, more spacious exhibition area than when you’re hanging things on a wall. We are using a standard tent system but making modifications to accommodate the design show’s needs, and bringing in light in a way which is not normally done in these structures,” Aranda adds.
Another objective was to emphasize the fair’s presence in the neighborhood. Noting that a key element of Design Miami is its exuberant outdoor nature, with fair-goers spilling onto the streets and enjoying the warm climate in December, Aranda\Lasch incorporated a breezeway around the perimeter of the structure, which, “creates a subtle transition between inside and outside and provides people a space to hang-out.”
“One of the challenges of working with standard tent technology is that it’s hard to create a ‘public’ building,” Aranda explains. “Traditionally, public buildings usually have staircases or loggias where people can gather, but with a tent there’s just a vinyl wall, there’s no transition.” Aranda\Lasch’s breezeway is the solution to this dilemma, situated behind a highly customized 30ft (approximately 9 meters) tall façade. This stunning outer membrane features a cut pattern of translucent vinyl, which will create shadow patterns reminiscent of light coming through trees while at the same time allowing a breeze to percolate. “We are deeply invested in exploring pattern as a way to open up design possibilities,” Aranda explains. Laser Cutting Shapes was found to be the perfect match of artistic sensibility and technical excellence for executing the panel design cuts.
The natural theme continues inside with the Palm Court, a central section that is approximately 100ft long by 15ft wide (approximately 30 by 4.5 meters), which will be the site for the Campana Brothers’ Designer of the Year installation. The proportions and ceiling height have been specially calculated to allow room to accommodate a group of palm trees that already exist on the site.
While Design Miami will continue to host Satellite Exhibitions and other events throughout the Design District this December, the new venue will serve as the heart of the show, the centerpiece for the neighborhood during its annual celebration of cutting-edge art and design.
Aranda\Lasch is an award-winning New York architectural studio established in 2003 by Benjamin Aranda (b. 1973) and Chris Lasch (b. 1972). Through computational exploration, Aranda\Lasch makes discoveries in the realm of structure and space, resulting in exquisite crystalline designs for buildings, installations and objects. The firm has an alter-ego practice named terraswarm, which produces urban-scaled interventions as short films and video installations. Their early projects were the subject of the critically acclaimed book, Tooling, published by Princeton Architectural Press. Aranda\Lasch and terraswarm have exhibited their work internationally in galleries and institutions dealing with design and architecture. Objects and furniture designed by Aranda\Lasch are represented by Johnson Trading Gallery in New York. In 2008 they were commissioned by the MoMA in New York to produce a large-scale installation for the design exhibition, Design and the Elastic Mind. Currently they are working with the artist Matthew Ritchie and arts institution T-BA21 on the first “anti-pavilion” – a large and ruined, three-dimensional drawing of the universe, partially installed at the 2008 Venice Biennale first, and fully realized at the Seville Biennale in October. Aranda\Lasch was selected as the 2007 United States Artists Fellow in Architecture & Design.
About Design Miami
Design Miami is the most prominent and substantive forum for international design, representing a convergence of commerce and culture. Its annual shows in Basel, Switzerland (June) and Miami, USA (December) bring together the most influential designers, collectors, dealers, curators and critics from around the world. For more information please visit www.designmiami.com.
Laser Cutting Shapes
Laser Cutting Shapes is a design house located in Columbus Ohio that specializes in laser cutting and fabrication of custom items. Breaking into the Columbus market in August of 2008, they bring state-of-the art technology and equipment cutting a vast variety of non-metal materials - from fabric to paper to plastics to wood, and more. The company supports a cutting system with a 60” x 70” laser bed, with a cutting area of 51” x 63” with the ability of cutting unlimited yardages in textiles. In a short time they have become a trusted source for quality work whose clients include: Harvard University, Zak Posen, Hermes/Paris, Architect Ferda Kolatan and Situ Studio, and now Architects Aranda\Lasch. For more information please visit