Wearable art at Design Miami/ Basel

Words by
Sphere Life

8th March 2016

Blurring the boundaries between style and art, find out why these unique jewellery creations are all the rage at Switzerland's most exciting design forum.

One of of the themes to emerge from this year’s bumper Design Miami/ Basel is exceptionally executed wearable jewellery, showing that once again art and fashion are natural bedfellows. Elisabetta Cipriani, Louisa Guinness and Antonella Villanova are all showing pieces that look as good on the arm as on the mantlepiece. This year Cipriani is showing Rebar in Gold, the first wearable art piece designed by Ai Weiwei. The artist presents arresting pieces of handcrafted 24 karat gold rebar in two lengths: 60cm and 20cm. “It is about commemoration and memory,” Ai Weiwei says. “Whether your memory or the one I have, that’s up to you, so you mold the piece to suit you. I used gold because it’s precious and that’s what life is – precious. If you wear this piece in the name of memory of a life lost or your life ahead, that’s what matters. It’s all about respect for life.”


Even if the budget doesn’t to a Anish Kapoor or Alexander Calder sculpture, then lilliputian forms are an alternative, with their delicately crafted pieces of jewellery, commissioned by Mayfair based Louisa Guinness. This year the gallerist shows wearable works by Kapoor and Calder alongside those of a stellar line up of artists and sculptors including Gavin Turk, Ron Arad and Sam Taylor Wood.

Finally Florentine based Antonella Villanova is showing a collective of artists parallel to two solo shows by the British sculptor, designer and jeweler Peter Chang and Monica Cecchi, from Tuscany, Italy. Chang’s brightly hued resin and PVC rings are playful and jaunty – a stand out accessory and sure to bring a smile to the wearer or look out for Monica Cecchi’s vintage tin pieces.

The fair brings together 46 galleries from around the world, including Galerie ​kreo, featured in our Influencer page in June. This year it is also honouring the late Zaha Hadid with a special presentation of her work. It also sees the return of the Design Curio program, showcasing forgotten curiosities, innovative ideas and new areas of investigation at the cutting edge of design. Artful browsing comes in the form of Berlin bookshop do you read me?! returning to Design Miami/ Basel with a pop-up packed with the most beautiful books and magazines.

Design Miami runs June 14-19 – find out more at basel2016.designmiami.com