Each December, the Design Miami/ Designer of the Year Award recognizes an internationally renowned designer or studio that has made a mark on design history, pushing the boundaries of the discipline through a singularly innovative and influential vision. This year, Design Miami/ is proud to recognize Acconci Studio.
Vito Acconci founded the architecture and design collaborative Acconci Studio in 1988 as the next evolution of his rich and varied creative practice, which began in the 1960s with a focus on concrete poetry and continued through the ‘70s and ‘80s with a genre-defining body of work in performance and conceptual art. The trajectory of his career demonstrates an acute and steadfast interest in generating unexpected and intense interactions, in actively engaging both people and public places to explore the spectrum of human response. The architectural projects produced by Acconci Studio carry forward this commitment, comprising fluid and shifting spaces and objects aimed at encouraging out-of the-ordinary communal experiences.
Acconci Studio’s boundary-defying approach draws on and intermingles the conceptual basis of Vito’s earlier work, employing art-grounded ideas to “thicken the plot,” in the artist’s words. Yet, Acconci Studio is dedicated to production in the realms of architecture and design because this where there is the greatest possibility to impact everyday living, to surprise, challenge and enchant people as they go about their lives. The comingling of material and ideas to expand the definition of function and to uncover higher purposes for our built environment positions Acconci Studio at the vanguard of design discourse today.
The Design Miami/ Designer of the Year Award grants each winner a commission to create a large-scale work. Over the years, Design Miami/ has seized opportunities to activate the award as a means to “give back” to the Miami community. Previous examples include the fence that Marc Newson designed for the Design and Architecture Senior High in the Miami Design District, and Konstantin Grcic’s Netscape seating structure donated to Miami Art Museum to be used in the public space of the new Herzog & de Meuron building. Moving forward, a permanent and public installation of the Designer of the Year commission will be an integral and unconditional goal of the program. Acconci Studio’s collaborative and interactive mission is ideally suited to this kind of community-enhancing brief.
For this year’s commission, Acconci Studio will produce a climbing-playing structure to be permanently installed in the Miami Design District by 2014. Klein-Bottle Playground, as the structure is called, was originally developed for the humanitarian “Art for the World” program, as part of a touring exhibition of experimental recreational equipment and toys for refugee children. Acconci Studio’s contribution was inspired by the German mathematician Felix Klein, who expanded the concept of a Moebius strip into a structure – a “Klein Bottle” – in which there is no identifiable “inside” or “outside,” as one surface flows continuously into the other. Acconci Studio has transformed this mathematical construct into a playground, in which a series of tubes extend out from and into a central sphere, such that children can climb in, through and on top. The installation of Acconci Studio’s Klein-Bottle Playground in the Miami Design District will provide the first public area in the neighborhood dedicated to children.
During Design Miami/ 2012, an exhibition of Acconci Studio work will be open to the public in the Miami Design District from December 4th through the 9th.
This project has been realized with the support of Miami Design District.