The Best of Miami Design Week

A Recap of Inspiring Highlights and Trends from Miami’s Hottest Design Event

Miami Design Week saw thousands of artists, designers, tastemakers, and critics meet in the sunny metropolis for a special immersive experience. Many of their style stories will echo in the design world long into the future. Anouk Groen, trend forecaster and director at RNA Design, recaps highlights of the event and shares how these trends in art could change interior design for years to come.

Miami Design Week
Images provided by Anouk Groen.

As a trend forecaster, I look forward to Miami Design Week each year as a chance for complete immersion in urban art that inspires me with all the hues and shapes from the creative visionaries we call artists. Each year’s extraordinary and expanding lineup further justifies Miami as a global arts and design center. Since 2002, Miami Design Week (including DesignMiami/ and Art Basel) has become the place to be. The air snaps with collaboration and appreciation as artists, celebrities, and designers congregate among the installations and exhibits.

Street Art as a Design Trend

I first sought out less traditional design areas, which led me to the Wynwood Walls art district, located north of downtown Miami. The Wynwood Walls installation started in 2009 as a way to add transformative beauty to the warehouses in the area. The project spans several buildings, which are the canvases on which appointed graffiti and street artists work. On our way to Wynwood Walls, our Uber driver informed us that less than five years ago, the area was economically depressed and unsafe. Wynwood Walls is assisting in changing all that, and the area is frequently cited as a space for design inspiration.

Image provided by Anouk Groen.

This year’s collection was entitled Fearless, which can embody many different things to an artist. In the video below, artist David Choe asks, “What is fear?” To him, it’s about an unwillingness to express oneself and take risks. Fear is doing the same design repeatedly because you know it works rather than challenging yourself to devise something new.

In general, I found the art themes to be encouraging messages with retro imagery. They provided me a feeling of hope for the future while stirring nostalgia for the past. Here are a few thematic highlights from this year’s Wynwood Walls Fearless collection.

Collective Camo

Collective Camo
Images provided by Anouk Groen.

Camo was big in the world of fashion in 2016. That theme continues in 2017 (and perhaps beyond), this time on walls and in furniture design. I saw assorted instances of camo and camo-inspired design at Miami Design Week. Some exhibits and installations capitalized on camo’s military look to employ political messaging; others used a less precise approach. Regardless, camo proved once again to be a popular design choice, making its way into the interior design scene.

The Wynwood Block breezeway showcased another take on camo. The black-and-white floor-to-ceiling pattern practically pulled you into shops lining the walkway.

Geometric Rainbows

As a lover of color, I was delighted by an assortment of geometric rainbow themes. The bright colors offered a surprising contrast to the camo designs mentioned above. Daring geometric patterns were forecasted for 2016, and Miami Design Week truly delivered. Geometrics have been prominent for a few years now, but adding in the brighter, bolder colors adds a fresh take on the popular trend for 2017 and beyond.

Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel calls himself a color hunter, traveling the world seeking inspiration and color. His work got my interest because of its kaleidoscope style, as well as its 3-D elements. The imagery is inspired by the tensions amid societal structures and humanity’s roots—modern machines’ contrast with global heritage.

Images provided by Anouk Groen.

Another kaleidoscope street artist is the famous Eduardo Kobra. This Brazilian holds a Guinness record for the world’s largest mural spray-painted by a team, a project he completed for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. His vibrant art was impressive thanks to the combination of colors and classic images, which featured famous people, both past and present.

Image provided by Anouk Groen.

The design takeaway here? Be courageous with your use of color to upgrade favorite patterns, like the ubiquitous geometrics, and carry them into future design seasons. We dreamed up this bold Pratt & Lambert&ndashcolor palette to help breathe new life into your favorite patterns.

Pale Cornelian 7-13

Barleycorn 15-9

Deep Mist 19-13

Myth 23-8

Enigmatic 32-15

The Miami Design District: for the Love of Shopping

The Miami Design District is only a half mile away from the Wynwood area, and it has some of the world’s most exclusive style brands. From Cartier to Versace Home to a vast number of art galleries, the Miami Design District is a place to glean inspiration and locate one-of-a-kind pieces.

Image provided by Anouk Groen.

Peekaboo Coloring

Hints of detail can be found in the Design District’s store designs and fashions. Purses with classic leather exteriors and a touch of vivid color for the linings. Furniture featuring different hues or patterns inside drawers. Store designs with multidimensional color, fixtures, and more. I adore the creativity in these designs, which invite you to unearth something further about a piece or store that you love.

One shop that used peekaboo color styling was Fendi. The exterior was luminous white, but the entrance area was painted intense orange. The attention-demanding orange was a fitting contrast to the sleek white. Like the Wynwood Block, this space gets its energy from a punch of color on the inside.

Image provided by Anouk Groen.

Dramatic Gold

Design in Color curators found a trend of hot metals in 2016, an influence that lingers in fashion and interior design. Again, Fendi demonstrated the on-trend look with its chic and extravagant displays. Sunken wall spaces were packed with perfectly aligned golden rods, creating the illusion of forward movement. With the indirect lighting, this display looked even better than the purses it housed.

Images provided by Anouk Groen.

Palm Court

Of course, any design lover knows the Design District’s Palm Court is a must-visit attraction, where you can take in the expert design of Buckminster Fuller in a faithful recreation of his Fly’s Eye Dome. Fuller made the structure in 1965 as an affordable, portable home of the future. Window openings allowed for solar panels and water-collection systems while providing the design its distinct fly’s-eye appearance.

Images provided by Anouk Groen.

The Fly’s Eye serves as a sculptural centerpiece of Palm Court. SB Architects, an active force behind the look and feel of the Miami Design District, supports Fuller’s ideal of architecture being a “machine for the living.” In other words, Fuller intended architectural elements to be not only beautiful but also purposeful. So SB Architects turned the Fly’s Eye Dome into a functional space. The dome provides lighting to parking below while also affording visitors unique views of Palm Court. While Fuller created the Fly’s Eye in the ’60s, the idea of functional beauty in design continues today.

Mark your calendars now. The next Miami Design Week is slated for Dec. 6–10. Can’t wait for December? Review our design calendar, full of local and global events to engage and inspire.