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Art Basel: A Garden of Delights at Design Miami


Photo courtesy of Perrier-Jouët

Perrier-Jouët continues to wow Design Miami/. Not only does the premier champagne company keep fairgoers in a mellow mood with an endless supply of bubbly, but for the past five years it has been introducing the design world to some of the most unique and memorable artistic displays.

This year, for the first time, the French company went outside Europe and selected an American to design its booth. San Francisco-based architect Andrew Kudless created a wonderland of lights, serenity and grace called simply, Strand Garden.

“We have very deep roots in the art nouveau philosophy,” says Axelle de Buffévent, Style Director for Perrier-Jouët. “So, I select designers that have the same philosophy in their way of working and their body of work. It’s about adding beauty to everyday life. It’s about being inspired by nature. It’s about studio work. And it’s about blurring the boundaries in between disciplines. As you can see, Andrew fits perfectly that vision.”

Kudless uses modern techniques to create contemporary design that references the past. The shapes, colors and soft lighting imbue the work with nostalgia from a century ago, a longing for something that is in our collective memory although never experienced in this lifetime. He uses various forms of technology from 3D printing to a CNC router saw to transform thin sheets of oak – 1/32 of an inch thick – into cylinders that, because they are slightly bent, appear to be slowly moving in some unseen current.

Illuminated from within, each strand glows in comforting saffron-gold shade. Dozens of these strands are connected to form two phalanxes that frame the back wall of the booth and partially surround a series of tables and stools designed with 3D printers. Atop one of the tables is a bounteous champagne bucket made from the remains of grapes used to make Chardonnay.

To someone who lives near the ocean, the 8-foot tall curvaceous strands of oak resemble golden seaweed. Illuminated from within, each strand glows in a comforting saffron-gold shade.

Kudless laughs with delight when told his work looks like the bottom of the sea.

“I love that,” he says. “Everyone that I talk to sees something different in it. And that’s kind of the idea, in a way. I was inspired by the work of many artists in art nouveau. When you look at their work collectively, there’s a recurring theme of these strands. Sometimes it’s a woman’s hair. Sometimes it’s a grapevine. Sometimes it’s these bone-like structures, branches, trees, things like that. Sometimes it’s much more abstract. You’re not really sure what it is. It’s flowing lines that evoke a vitality of nature and movement over time.”
By Siobhan Morrissey