French design show lands in Miami's blossoming artistic landscape

Fri May 15, 2015 4:28pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - The popular Parisian luxury design show, Maison&Objet, drew crowds of visitors this week to Miami Beach for the event's first appearance in the United States, the latest cultural addition to South Florida's artistic boom.

Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese accents mingled as thousands of people pored over home furnishings like massive, custom-woven rugs and $10,000-plus tables.

Miami presents a lucrative arena for high-end designers these days as street art and galleries crop up throughout the area, and developers place leading artists' works in new luxury condominiums designed by top architects like Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaus.

“The timing is perfect,” said Gust Bertels, owner of Belgium-based Sempre, maker of furniture using natural materials like wood and stone. Bertels’ booth, a wood structure covered in palm fronds, drew picture-snapping crowds throughout the four-day show that ended Friday.

The fair is serendipitously being held in the days leading up to the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize ceremony at Miami Beach's Frank Gehry-designed New World Center.

“It is a sign that now Miami is recognized for art, architecture, and design,” said Philippe Brocart, managing director of SAFI, owner of Maison&Object and a subsidiary of French professional artisan's organization Ateliers d'Art de France and Reed Expositions France.

The Pritzker will be given to the late German Frei Otto, famed for his use of sprawling, lightweight structures.

Maison&Objet, which hosts another annual show in Singapore, has signed on through 2018 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which also hosts Art Basel Miami Beach, which in 2014 brought more than 73,000 attendees for the top contemporary art fair in the Americas.   Continued...

Italian-made crystal foosball sets are shown on display at the Maison & Objet show in Miami, Florida May 15, 2015. REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson