Friedman Benda’s annual participation at Design Miami/ premieres works from renowned field leaders, debut collaborations with critical new voices, and launch a historic project with a boundary-pushing icon. Many of the designers presented operate within multidisciplinary creative universes. Here, the dynamic and electrifyingly original vision of the multi-hyphenate is placed forefront, its power undeniable.
A commanding presence is Detroit-based ceramicist, sculptor and designer Ebitenyefa Baralaye’s first collaboration with the gallery. Baralaye creates works that are markers of identity, place and state, as well as the fluid dynamics around them. Design Miami/ sees the launch of a series of glazed stoneware portraits – colossal busts whose features have been rendered in a free-flowing, abstracted clay line. The body of work acts as a vehicle through which to offer reflections on Baralaye’s individual experience of being a Black man in America, while also traversing universal realities of the collective diaspora, in particular struggles with mental health and well-being.
Shaped by social, psychological, and site-specific ideas, the DeArch Desk was borne from the celebrated partnership between James Wines, of the architectural group SITE (Sculpture In The Environment), and revolutionary fashion designer, Willi Smith–who in the late 1970s pioneered the concept of streetwear with his brand, WilliWear. Made available for the first time since its conception for Smith’s WilliWear office, DeArch Desk‘s brick and glass form, frozen in perpetuity in a liminal state of simultaneous formation and decomposition, is a potent articulation of Wines’ visionary, deconstructionist approach consolidated into a singular, iconic object.
Reverberations of the DeArch Desk’s legacy permeate Broken Mirror Pink, a realization from the partnership between Italian design house Gufram, and Snarkitecture – a boundary dissolving creative practice founded by artist Daniel Arsham and architect Alex Mustonen. Disrupting and reinterpreting quotidian materials to imaginative, experiential effect, the jagged edges of Guffram’s signature soft polyurethane enclose Broken Mirror Pink’s glass surface, rupturing the visual plane in an effect resemblant of a crack in the wall.
Daniel Arsham’s manifold approach to creation is further expanded upon via the presentation of his Rubble Couch. A playful re-articulation of a ubiquitous typology, Rubble Couch seemingly exists outside of this current time and place, as interpreted through his distinctive lens.
Chris Schanck’s Mum Chandelier continues this temporal distortion, with the designer pursuing an aesthetic that looks both forward and backward in time, re-imagining classical design motifs through a fantasy/sci-fi matrix. Sculpted from intentionally sourced objects that have fallen outside their means of distribution, Mum Chandelier’s resin-engulfed form recasts detritus anew. The resulting work, Schanck’s most personal to date, developed with his mother, is suggestive of an at once primordial yet futuristic un-furniture.
Another propositional dimension is navigated via Ini Archibong’s Switch, which probes an Afrofuturist potentiality. Imparting Archibong’s deeply personal and spiritual approach to design, Switch embodies the dualities inherent to his practice: past and future, personal and collective, opacity and transparency, opposition and reconciliation, local and global, intangible and physical. One of the earliest works produced by the trailblazing young designer, this never-before-seen table is characteristic of Archibong’s dedication to craftsmanship and the integrity of his chosen materials.
Further sculpturally articulated works will be introduced from Carmen D’Apollonio and Raphael Navot. Los Angeles based artist Carmen D’Apollonio investigates the spectrum from abstraction to figuration, realizing intuitive renditions of familiar objects and human forms, as captured here in a new cast floor lamp. Paris-based multidisciplinary designer Raphael Navot’s Acrostic Overlay Armchair, an asymmetrical, cloud-like composition, displays Navot’s signature sculptural forms and reinterpretation of traditional craftsmanship, with a focus on exquisite materials.
In parallel to the gallery’s program booth, Friedman Benda will also present a solo booth of British designer, artist and creative director, Samuel Ross, launching Ross and the gallery’s partnership. Internationally renowned as the visionary designer behind groundbreaking luxury streetwear brand, A-COLD-WALL*, Ross will present three distinct, but interrelated, bodies of work produced in the partnership to date. Constructed through intentional, ritualistically inflected fabrication processes, Ross’ work pulls formal through lines that collide West African furniture archetypes with Eurocentric tropes of Modernism, Brutalism and Color Theory, traversing a nuanced psycho-socio-geographic terrain located in three centuries of the British Afro-Caribbean Diasporic experience.
Designers on view include: Ini Archibong, Daniel Arsham, Ebitenyefa Baralaye, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Carmen D’Apollonio, Misha Kahn, Joris Laarman, Raphael Navot, Samuel Ross, Chris Schanck, Snarkitecture, James Wines, and Thaddeus Wolfe.