Design Miami: Under the Big Top

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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Moorhead&Moorhead's Tent for Design Miami 2010 (Image: Michael Stavaridis)

Design Miami is all about furnishings as art, parties, being someplace warm in December, and more parties. It’s not so much about architecture, except that the most riveting eye-grabber is often an installation by an architect. In 2006, Zaha Hadid, named Designer of the Year, created a plasticene web of wonder that ensorcelled the interior atrium of the Moore Building in the Design District. More recently ArandaLasch created tents set up closer to the action and directly in front of the convention center where Art Basel Miami Beach is located.


This year the tent went to New York architects Moorhead & Moorhead. They worked in collaboration with ArandaLasch who fitted out the interiors. This year’s Designer of the Year, Konstantin Grcic elected to put his installation in the tent-shaded courtyard:  his Netscapes are structurally intense hammocks, swing sets for real swingers, as it were.

Tent vinyl was slit, twisted, and fixed with aluminum rivets. (Photo: Michael Stavaridis)

The morning after opening night, we talked to Granger Moorhead about their tent installation:  “We had to cover a lot of area on a limited budget [$40,000], so we decided to work as much as possible with existing rental tents. We started with those solid vinyl panels that are basically floppy and flat. Then we slit them with an offset pattern and folded them in and out and fixed them with aluminum pop rivets to create tension and to make them volumetric. The openings allowed for light and air and a very pleasant atmosphere for hanging out on the hammocks.”

Two tents are set up side by side with the smaller one serving as an open forecourt with partially slit sides to show off the process and the transition,  a favorite Moorhead & Moorhead motif. The larger portion is left untouched. “We started working on it conceptually six months ago but because it’s in a parking lot, it had to go up really fast, in a week and a half,” said Moorhead. He added that the best part of Design Miami so far was finding a Miami edition of the Shake Shack, but with no lines.

Inside the tent, Konstantin Grcic's Netscape hammocks swing. (Image: Michael Stavaridis)

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