Andre Balazs’s Exquisite Properties
Real estate and hospitality titan, Andre Balazs is known for his over-the-top projects, but the curation of Design at Large might take the cake. Acting as an impressive entrance to the fair, the hangar-sized installation features four structures that reflect on themes of modularity and sustainability. While Jean Prouvé’s Filling Station and Shigeru Ban’s paper house are enchanting, it is Atelier Van Lieshout’s Poolhouse (2015) that is perhaps the most intriguing shelter thanks to its deliciously primitive form and paradoxical functionality.
Studio Swine’s Shiny Future
Co-founded by architect Azusa Murakami and artist Alexander Groves, Studio Swine puts out whimsical creations as varied as its practice, which encompasses furniture, video and everything in between. Clients like Heineken and Microsoft are already impressed with the Anglo-Japanese duo’s ability to bring excitement to the familiar. Design Miami/ and Swarovski have taken notice—awarding them this year’s Designer of the Future award. For the fair they created an appropriately futuristic crystal lair—where visitors will find pieces like a cymatic table and a digital hourglass.
Tom Kundig’s Log Cabin
Following on the heels of a successful partnership in 2014, architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig returns to the fair with an all new collectors’ lounge that is even grander than his first. Titled Outpost Basel, Kundig’s modular wooden structure synthesizes traditional Japanese techniques, Pacific-Northwest aesthetics, and Austrian craftsmanship in a way that feels poetic rather than forced.
Demish Danant’s Radical Revival
A walk through Demish Danant’s immersive Radical Rabat installation is a crash course in the Arabic influence on French designers in the 1970s. The visually striking booth stars the work of artists like Maria Pergay and Michael Boyer, who drew inspiration from the textiles, architecture, and ceramics of their North African neighbors. While Pierre Paulin’s iconic Pacha chairs are hard to overlook, it’s a display of Sheila Hick’s monstrous Prayer Rugs from the late 1960s that steals the show.
Guatemala Comes to Basel
Fresh off the plane from AG Ossaye, Rudy Weissenberg's design-art residency in Guatemala City, up-and-comer Andy Coolquitt presents a new collection of furniture inspired by local techniques. Part of the fair’s Curio section, Coolquitt’s sleek and cheerful tables and lights are juxtaposed against the tropical patterns of mid-20th century Guatemalan ceramics. The combination is as colorful as it is illuminating.