Kalashnikov with gold edging - The Fragiles exhibition at Design Miami
von Vera Siegmund | Dec 20, 2007

Be it a collector's cup, a porcelain figure, crystal glass or your favorite plate, it is often the fragile things with which we surround ourselves that could be souvenirs, commodities or cult objects. As transient as they are, they still have a fetish character. And it was this which was right at the forefront of the Fragiles exhibition. Curated by publishers "Die Gestalten Verlag", more than 50 designers and artists presented their mainly figurative glass, porcelain and ceramic visions at this exhibition as part of the Design Miami show. Hardly any other event at the young design fair, which takes place parallel to Art Basel Miami Beach, showed more clearly the present mingling of art and design.
The fragile artifacts ranged from teacup lamps decorated in gold by Martin Lundmark via candlesticks in the shape of porcelain doll heads such as "Little Joseph" by Maxim Velcovsky to a hand-painted Kalashnikov made of porcelain by Charles Krafft. Prices ranged from $30 to $30,000. In the run-up to the event, Arne Quinze was introduced to the Bavarian crystal manufactory Theresienthal so that they could collaborate - an experiment to bring about a creative collision of zeitgeist and traditional handcrafted products. The resulting range of vases named "Fluids" evidently involved suddenly cooling the glass in the middle of the melting and shaping process. An amorphous body, colored on the inside, spirals upwards on elongated, organic stilt legs - the glass still seems to be soft and to continue changing shape. Among completely bizarre objects such as Jason Miller's "Kronleuchter" ("Chandelier") made of intertwined porcelain deer antlers and the playful "Ceramic Cell Phone" by Christie Wright, there were also thoroughly useful vases - by Jaime Hayon for Bisazza, Marcel Wanders, Tjep and Emma Woffenden & Tord Boontje. In terms of "proper" crockery, two particularly eye-catching designs were the black crockery set "Beads & Pieces" by Hella Jongerius, made by Peruvian craftspeople, and Mimi Joung's coffee cup "Imperial," painted with roses and with a spoon cut out from the saucer.
Purely extraordinary fragilities.
The book on the Fragiles showcase will be published in spring 2008 by Die Gestalten

© Photographs by Alex Kroke for Die Gestalten Verlag