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Miami Beach’s Bass Museum reopens after two-year renovation
Jean Nouvel’s Miami Beach high-rise is back on schedule
Miami’s flyaway cranes could damage high-rises during Irma
While Houston and other parts of Texas grapple with the fallout from Hurricane Harvey, another storm, Irma, has shaped up to be the third most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, with Category 5 winds measuring up to 185 miles per hour as of Wednesday evening.
Having watched Irma pummel through the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, the City of Miami—which has long known of its innate susceptibility to flooding and erosion—prepares itself for what may well be an incredibly devastating blow this weekend.One of the more urgent concerns raised by the city is the damage that could be wrought by 20 to 25 construction cranes scattered throughout the city, which can withstand winds only up to 145 miles per hour and take two weeks to properly disassemble. Since the storm's potential path was only projected last Friday, there will not be enough time to take down the equipment.
Late yesterday, Miami-Dade County issued a mandatory evacuation order for its coastal cities, including Miami Beach, and the city is continuing its preparation efforts by clearing the downtown harbor, closing public parks, and supplying sandbags for flood protection efforts. For those living in affected areas, the Florida State Emergency Response Team has activated an Emergency Information Line at 1-800-342-3557.
Consider that the counterbalances on tower cranes weigh about 20,000 to 30,000 pounds.— City of Miami (@CityofMiami) September 6, 2017
While seafood might be de rigueur in the culinary scene of Miami, few local restaurants can lay claim to the unique, boldly crafted environment found at Bazaar Mar, the newest eatery in the SLS Brickell tower. The ambitious interior design by Philippe Starck and innovative cuisine by chef José Andrés marks the team’s fourth collaboration under the Bazaar name, an offering from hospitality developer SLS Hotels. The company, which owns similar real estate ventures in Beverly Hills, South Beach, and Las Vegas, recently completed the SLS Brickell, one of many new high-rises sprouting up downtown and in the Brickell neighborhood.
SLS enlisted the distinctive architectural skills of Miami-headquartered Arquitectonica to design the tower, which also houses over 450 condominiums and a 132-key hotel. Towers like SLS Brickell are changing the Miami skyline while also creating a rich landscape for projects like Bazaar Mar to serve the burgeoning resident and tourist populations.
When it comes to the food, however, SLS entrusted Spanish-born Andrés—a James Beard Award winner and pioneer of molecular gastronomy—to be the charismatic public face of Bazaar Mar. His vision for the menu is an attractive mix of disparate textures, aromas, and aesthetics. This spirit of inventiveness translates seamlessly into Starck’s scheme for the interior design, which equals Andrés penchant for theatrics and hyperbole. Starck crafted a nautical fantasy complete with mythical sea beasts, picturesque coastal vignettes, and a distinctive white-and-navy color palette.
The 7,200-square-foot Bazaar Mar is composed of two dining rooms and a raw bar materially connected by more than 6,000 hand-painted tiles featuring the drawings of artist Sergio Mora and manufactured in Spain by Cerámica Artística San Ginés. The azulejo tilework, painted in a Delft Blue pastiche typical of 16th-century Dutch pottery, completely covers the walls and ceiling. The murals are ornamented with gilded crustaceans and cabaret-style mermaids that dissolve otherwise-solid walls into surrealist other worlds. Likenesses of people involved in the project, including Chef Andrés, appear throughout the murals. The furnishings include smooth marble-topped tables, upholstered love seats, and stark white wooden chairs, creating an evocative atmosphere from which the maritime narrative emerges.
The bright dining room contrasts with a offset cocktail bar finished in black and gold tiles of the same stylized motif. The total effect of Starck’s design reflects both its seaside locale and the rapidly evolving Miami art and architecture scene.
More is More
Why is Maximalism taking over the world?
Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s maximalist vision of domestic bliss involves saturating every corner with color, texture, and pattern. Their traveling installation of housewares by Seletti, in collaboration with their magazine TOILETPAPER (mounted this past December by Fondation Beyeler in Art Basel Miami Beach as Maze of Questions, and in New York’s Cadillac House this spring as TOILETPAPER Paradise by Visionaire), covers a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with images that are both seductive and absurd—blood-red nail polish on disembodied women’s fingers, cloudlike kernels of popcorn floating through space, and large-scale spaghetti noodles—on ostensibly every available surface, embracing both an Italian postmodernist and a 1950s American-housewife nostalgia.
The installation coincided with Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard’s dystopic department store installation, The Casual Pleasure of Disappointment, a February “happening” in collaboration with Red Bull, the lifestyle brand formerly known for its energy drinks. Melgaard created a derelict department store and stuffed it not only with clothes designed in reference to a few of his favorite things (Bash Back!, a pro-queer activist group, for example, or Chris Kraus’s landmark novel I Love Dick) but also with selections from his own wardrobe, piled like heaps of garbage for the public to take, Hunger Games-style.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Yayoi Kusama’s ongoing Hirshhorn Museum retrospective features an array of her iconic Infinity Mirror Rooms, in addition to The Obliteration Room, a seminal 2002 work in which viewers are given dot stickers of various colors and sizes to cover the interior of an all-white home—refrigerator, tables, chairs, sofa, and all. Over the course of the exhibition, the interior becomes an increasingly vibrant, pulsing collage.
These four distinct artists share a common aspiration for the absolutely maximal, which, contrary to the abstract, discrete gestures of minimalism, creates an extremely personal alternative physical landscape. Art bleeds into the design sphere, taking into account the space in which it is shown: in all of these cases, the familiar environments of the domestic or commercial space.
Both museums and non-art brands alike have caught on to the allure of maximalism, its immersiveness and, perhaps more importantly, its interactivity; more than ever, viewers are invited to do the unthinkable and lay their hands on the art. Social media is also certainly complicit in this maximalist resurgence, thanks to Instagram and the prevalence of the #artselfie. Apart from its widespread free publicity and appeal to sheer vanity, the #artselfie offers a kind of tactility in the digital age. Visitors physically insert themselves into the composition of a work and take its visual properties home with them to keep. Particularly in an era in which two-dimensional work is readily available on screens, it’s the maximal that encourages the public to make a physical, often emotional, connection to a work of art.
The other function social media serves for the rise of maximalism is its inherent ability to widen one’s worldview. For younger artist and designers who grew up as so-called digital natives, the internet offers both infinite surface area for their mood boards and instant access to the visual history of the world, regardless of era or location. “For them, history is a treasure trove,” Chicago Architecture Biennial cocurator Mark Lee said in a recent Artforum interview. “They don’t feel shame or guilt to retrieve from it.”
Two young designers experiencing a meteoric rise (and who happen to share a studio) are Misha Kahn and Katie Stout, whose respective practices—both rough-hewn, eccentric, and often displayed within textured, oozing, psychedelic environments—mix kitsch and pop culture with astute art-historical references. When naming his sources of inspiration, Kahn often takes out his phone as a visual aid, naming Eskimo carvings, Gwen Stefani, and Pee-wee’s Playhouse among them. And for Stout, Dolly Parton, Raymour & Flanigan, and Charlotte Perriand are equally influential on her body of work. The world of maximalism embraces imperfection and provocation, banishing isolation and passivity on both the part of the work and the viewer. The source material is both art history and personal history, untidily accumulated and repackaged—once more, with feeling.
When Suchi Reddy, founder of New York–based Reddymade Design, was tasked with redesigning a 12,000-square-foot home in Miami Beach, Florida, she learned that the job would involve not only designing the space, but also helping the client curate an extensive contemporary art collection. Situated on Sunset Island, the home is affectionately known as the “Sweet Spot,” and Reddy’s vision was a careful balance of architecture, art, and design.
The 1939 waterfront house was built by a Cuban sugar baron in a hybrid style of Caribbean colonial and Hollywood regency. Reddy’s design transformed the estate into a comfortable contemporary home that also showcases the client’s art collection. Each space was carefully designed with that collection in mind, with additional work introduced by Reddy, including pieces by Gerhard Richter, Marina Abramovic, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Erin Shirreff, Kate Shepherd, and Barry X Ball. The architecture plays directly with the art—for example, the curving main staircase winds around a 17-foot-long light installation by artist Pae White, chosen by Reddy precisely for the space.
Throughout the six-bedroom, eight-and-a-half-bath home, each room was treated as a separate design opportunity. “Part of the challenge was that every room is fairly large, and to create intimacy and comfort within a large space can be quite a difficult task,” Reddy said. “I took a sculptural approach to designing the spaces as a response. Each room was conceived as a ‘gallery’ of sorts, with curated objects, furniture, and art.”
As would be expected of such a project, the detailing of each space is meticulous. From elaborate molding to a variety of floor finishes, every surface is considered. In some cases, Reddy worked with existing elements. “The lounge near the bar had walls with plaster palm trees—not a staple of modern design strategies,” she explained. “I decided to treat them as texture that was filled out by the curtains between them, and change the focus to the center of the room by creating a circular seating area that becomes a focal point, drawing you through the axis of the house.”
A major portion of the design was the choice of furniture. The dining room features a floating glass table designed by Poetic Lab. Another room centers around a thick telescope glass coffee table by KGBL. Colorful textiles play a key role in many of the spaces. In the living room, sculptural furniture is clad in bright African wax-print fabrics, one of Reddy’s own passions. “My Indian heritage gives me a very deep appreciation of textiles and texture,” said Reddy. “And that love informs every space, not with an Indian influence, but with a sensibility for spaces that feel sensual.”