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Design Miami has become the go-to fair for novel forms of creative expression, especially for bespoke designs that are more art than product. This year is no different. Besides offering fairgoers fascinating talks about Blackness in design and curio cabinets by gallerists and innovators, the event halls are chockfull of the latest pieces by such talents as Sou Fujimoto and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

There are also multiple collaborative installations that have brought designers and brands together directly.

Enlisting outside designers to reinterpret a product, material or brand is nothing new. Mini, Nike and Caesarstone, for instance, are just three companies that have each developed unique programs that invite star talents to explore concepts that aren’t intended to become products. Rather, the goal is to create a visual and tactile viewer experience. At Design Miami, Airbnb, Fendi and Louis Vuitton have each teamed up with a design studio to create a one-off installation. Here’s how they turned out.


A Wild Thing, by Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen

One of Airbnb’s most appealing features is staying at a stranger’s home. With that in mind, the online lodging company enlisted Belgium studio Muller Van Severen to recreate the shared home of its founding principals, Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen. Simultaneously inviting and mysterious, the replication includes details that make this “fake” version an intimate portrait of a home away from home.

Interactive light boxes have also been embedded and feature recordings from the Muller-Van Severen household in action. The added audio, of a kitchen in use or the crackling blaze of the fireplace, are triggered by visitors as they walk though the space.


Welcome!, by Chiara Andreatti

Welcome! – an installation realized by Fendi in collaboration with curator Maria Cristina Didero and industrial designer Chiara Andreatti of Milan – is based on the most social room in a house: the living room.

Fendi has a long history of working with such rich materials as fur, brass and leather, and Andreatti has tapped into that legacy by interpreting some of the Italian luxury brand’s most iconic objects and materials, in both direct and subtle ways. The Selleria stitch, which is a Fendi signature, for instance, is featured in her Himalayan wood throw rug. And the four-metre-long sofa, patterned in black and tobacco stripes, recalls the classic Shopper sofa from the 1970s. The room also features a handmade walnut coffee table, sculptural decorative pieces made from matte white ceramic, and brass lighting fixtures that look like wide-brimmed hats.


Objets Nomades by The Campana brothers

In previous years, Louis Vuitton has teamed up with the likes of Marcel Wanders and Atelier Oï, to see what creative outsiders can come up with when given access to the world’s most coveted handcrafted leather. This year, Fernando and Humberto Campana have taken up the challenge, and they haven’t failed to impress.

Among the half-dozen pieces on display is the modular Bombuca sofa that resembles a clamshell or giant running shoe. Each of the seat’s petal-like sections has a rigid base and the cushions are in five shades of blue leather. The designers have said the various hues are intended to be a portrait of the light of Miami: “A picture of the celestial tropical luminosity, reflected by the deepness of the ocean.” It is actually extremely light and can be picked up and carried to the beach.

Design Miami runs December 6 to 10 at Meridian Avenue and 19th Street, just adjacent to the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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