Art Basel Miami Beach is absolutely white hot. This convergence of art, design, fashion and celebrity has the same kind of heady atmosphere experienced at major film festivals like Cannes or Sundance where creativity meets big business. And it’s that same nature of talent spotting that fuels the excitement – whether its at the main event or the dozen or so alternative showcases that spring up each year. At times the atmosphere is more street theatre than art fair. Now in its 2nd year Design Miami took a firm hold in the rejuvenated design district where blocks are closed off to traffic for gallery open-houses. The stunning, period Moore Building is home to Design Miami where exhibits of furniture and product design were thoughtfully edited. You really do get the sense that you’ll find things here that you won’t see anywhere else.
Staying at The Gramercy Park Hotel you are acutely aware of how hotels can be the most on-the-money narrators of a cultural zeitgeist – especially in New York where hotels are theatres of experience. The creative partnership of Ian Schrager and artist Julian Schanbel seems to be responding to a need for sensual stimulation in this hotel that exudes bohemian decadence. From the rich, deep colours to the musk scented candles there is eccentricity in the design and luxury in the execution. Nice touches in the room include ipods of specially curated music, divine bed linen and blood red crystal glasses in the mini bar.
I just returned from Istanbul where I attended The Herald Tribune Luxury Conference. It is always inspirational and I was particularly interested in attending this year because they devoted the second day to ‘design and luxury’ with Alice Rawsthorn who is their new columnist introducing Thomas Heatherwick and Paola Antonelli from MOMA. Matteo Cordero di Montezemolo also spoke about companies within the Charme Group comprising Poltrona Frau, Cappellini, Cassina and Gebruder Thonet Vienna. Finally, design is on the agenda – and brings a new and timely dimension to the luxury goods market.
We also had fun – the picture shows Sheikh Majed Al Sabah and his colleague from Villa Moda, Cindy Ho in the Grand Bazaar.