Each Milan Design Week since 2018, the itinerant design exhibition Alcova has flooded dilapidated sites throughout the city with work from some of the industry’s most forward thinkers. At Alcova, it’s not unusual to find a giant furry lamp exhibited next to a chair made from agricultural waste. Credit this inspiring mix to the careful curation and stewardship of Valentina Ciuffi, former editor of Abitare, and Joseph Grima, former editor-in-chief of Domus (in addition to being founders of their own respective design studios).
This December, the duo are headed to Miami for their fair’s first international edition. During Miami Art Week, Alcova Miami will fill the rooms of a recently restored 1950s-era motor hotel with work from an exciting repertoire of established and emerging designers. We caught up with Ciuffi and Grima to learn more about the show’s expansion.
“We try to give space to design that might not otherwise find a place at major international events. It’s important that Alcova not just replicate what’s already out there. We want the design we support to take risks and present ideas that others are not talking about.”
“Miami’s ties to the art and design industries made it the most logical place to expand in the U.S. There is a slightly different type of American design studio that handles production in house, falling somewhere between an independent maker and a small company. This revolves around bespoke productions in small numbers, which falls more in line with the collectible nature of Design Miami, rather than the industrial scale that has historically been associated with Milan.”
“ Alcova Miami will start out smaller than the most recent Milan edition. Our goal is not just to expand the show to a new location, but also to deliver quality. In Miami, we found an amazing space that can accommodate about 40 designers. It is an old courtyard motel with a bar, lounge and rooms that wrap around a central pool.”
“The formula for Alcova is to create a resonance between the people, the work and the architecture. When we began to think about suitable sites in Miami, we settled quite early on the concept of the motel — one of the quintessential archetypes of Miami architecture. We decided upon the Selina Miami Gold Dust because of its positioning at the intersection of Biscayne Boulevard and Little River. The site provides a double dialogue: one with the flow of traffic and the other with the flow of the river.”
“Alcova is a complementary platform for design in Miami. We have opened our selections up to go beyond the scope of traditional collectible design, prioritizing the process of design rather than just the final product. We are working with several designers at various stages in their careers whose work places value on innovation, including Brooklyn’s Forma Rosa Studio and Studio Sam Klemick from L.A. Like in Milan, Alcova Miami will be a lively space where the community can gather and interact with forward-thinking design.”
Valentina Ciuffi and Joseph Grima discuss bringing their beloved design exhibition to sunny Miami.