Once a year, in early December, Miami and Miami Beach become the center of the design and art universe. During the week best known as Art Basel, the finest art galleries, collectors and tourists converge on over 50 venues to see the latest and greatest works of art the world has to offer. There is something for everyone in shows such as Art Miami, Context, Aqua, Design Miami, as well as a smattering of private art collections, small boutique galleries, an Elle Decor Designer Show House and self- representing lesser known artists in almost every commercial establishment and pop-up space.
Miami's time to shine has arrived. No longer is this just the hometown of Cuban refugees, but rather a delicious mix of stylish people from all over the world. Anywhere you go, you can hear accented English as well as French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and German. It has become a true melting pot of cultures and perspectives in design, fashion and art.
It is quite clear that while most consider art a luxury, there is another sect of the world's population that consume art. Art Basel is the centerpiece of the spectacle with hundreds of spaces featuring what galleries consider the best in a variety of genres of art. Sponsored by UBS, the Swiss bank and investment firm, Art Basel draws a worldwide audience as well as many celebrities.
Design Miami, a former sideshow, has grown up. The fare here is inspired design from jewelry to cars to furniture and smaller objet d'art. In the hands of designers from interior design to industrial design, this show manages to exhibit innovations in design and architecture, even a display of a charette architecture competition for a prominent Miami site featuring star architects such as Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Jean Nouvel.
Elle Decor magazine sponsored a Designer Show house in Miami Beach's Sunset Island. The house was advertised as a Modern Life Concept House. The large house featured many fine architectural details, which included disappearing glass doors, and a seemingly floating courtyard surrounded by water. A striking room of the home was the nicely eclectic dining room designed by Wade Hallock which included an exposed refrigerated wine cellar to show off your wine collection.
This year in addition to the art events, Miami added a new landmark museum designed by Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron, PAMM or the Perez Art Museum Miami. The museum is strikingly set on Biscayne Bay with most exhibit windows looking outward, making connections to the city beyond.
In the last decade Miami has changed its overall appearance as well. Large buildings have sprouted all along most important avenues and crossroads. Having gone through a construction boom and bust, Miami is once again building itself into a world-class city. This time the city is being built at the hand of recognized architects that would have never set sight on Miami in the past. Miami is definitely a city of today and a prosperous tomorrow.
Put these not-to-be-missed art and design shows on your calendar for next year. It just keeps getting better.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.