in an intermingling of performance art, conceptual installation, and notable design history, thom browne is staging a scenographic tableau of historic desks at this year’s design miami/ basel. for the fair’s annual design at large program, the american fashion designer has assembled fifteen of the most significant desks from the last century — including pieces from the likes of jean prouvé and ron arad. positioned opposite the vast grid of furniture is a conceptual landscape of trees and fabric animals, which browne presented at his fall/winter men’s runway show back in 2014. 

thom browne design miami basel
the american fashion designer has assembled fifteen of the most significant desks from the last century
image courtesy of thom browne

 

 

the centennial of important desks in design history is animated by a choreographed performance conceived specifically for design miami/ basel. the gestures are enacted by a cast of local design and architecture students who interact with the installation and engage in various, mundane processes of creation. browne seeks to convey the current shifts in traditional work styles and the evolution of the desk typology, particularly in an age where the role of the office is increasingly vague.

thom browne design miami basel
the installation is presented as part of the fair’s annual ‘design at large’ program
image by james harris, courtesy of design miami/ basel

 

 

the selected works catalog significant movements in design history, and innovations in materials and styles. objects presented in the grid range from the ‘president’ desk by french designer pierre guariche — a sleek horizontal unit with two sliding drawers — to the sinuously sculpted, mirrored polished steel ‘two legs and a table’ by israeli creative ron arad.

thom browne design miami basel
the installation blends performance art, conceptual installation, and notable design history
image by james harris, courtesy of design miami/ basel

thom browne design miami basel
the selected works catalog significant movements in design history
image by james harris, courtesy of design miami/ basel

thom browne design miami basel
the desks are animated by a choreographed performance
image courtesy of thom browne

thom browne design miami basel
a cast of local design and architecture students engage with the installation 
image courtesy of thom browne

thom browne design miami basel
the figures enact various mundane processes of creation
image courtesy of thom browne

thom browne design miami basel
the scenographic tableau of historic desks takes shape at this year’s design miami/ basel
image courtesy of thom browne

thom browne design miami basel
positioned opposite the vast grid of furniture is a conceptual landscape of trees and fabric animals
image courtesy of thom browne

thom browne design miami basel
browne presented the conceptual installation at his fall/winter men’s runway show back in 2014
image courtesy of thom browne

thom browne design miami basel
animals are canvassed in printed fabrics 
image courtesy of thom browne

 

 

 

design miami/ basel is a global forum for design, where the world’s leading galleries gather to present museum-quality exhibitions and installations of furniture, lighting and art objects. held annually every june in basel, switzerland, the show balances commercial opportunities with cultural programming — from a platform of panels and lectures ranging from design, architecture, art and fashion; to special commissions from both emerging and established creatives.

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