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What are the characteristics that tie the pieces of the Miami Design District’s world-renowned public art collection together? It is the art that celebrates life, legacy, and visionary creativity. 

To explore the magnanimity of our public collection, we have launched the exciting new series: Curious Conversations on Creativity, which will examine the different artists, their works, and how they relate to each other. 

In this post, we are excited to explore the nuanced relationship between the visionary designers, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec (The Bouroullec Brothers), and the prolific architect, Zaha Hadid, who were both commissioned to create site-specific pieces for the neighborhood. 
The Bouroullec Brothers' creations can be found within the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and others; their creativity and ingenuity have landed them the reputation of being some of the most celebrated designers in the world. 

Their penchant for creating pieces with “poetic functionality,” made them a natural choice for Miami Design District to commission a special project for the Paseo Ponti pedestrian street. The result, opened to the public during Design Miami/ 2017, is Nuage. The structure brilliantly adds beauty to the journey from Palm Court to Paradise Plaza, scattering reflected sea-glass hues on the ground, from its glass rooftop while simultaneously providing respite from Florida’s sun and rain. 


In the overall feeling of the piece – the cloud-inspired motif, lacking any 90-degree angles – one can detect that the young designers have been influenced by the pioneering style of Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the competitive Pritzker Architecture Prize. Their influence from Zaha extends beyond Nuage however, as the inspiration for Miami Design District’s commission was drawn from a series of black ceramic vases, (showcased in the Brother’s monograph, “Drawing” 2015, see below).


Brother's Vases

Zaha’s relationship to Miami Design District formally first began in 2005, when she was honored as the inaugural recipient of Design Miami’s Designer of the Year award, which was paired with a commission for the District. 

Internationally known as the "Queen of the Curves,” (her work uniquely lacked any 90-degree angles), Hadid took her unique style and transformed the historic the neo-classical Moore Building (1921) with a neo-futurism free-standing sculpture, that calls forward her admiration for organic shapes and curved lines. The beauty of the piece lies in its perfectly blended contrast to the original details of the building. 


Moore Elastika

What is curious, however, is that Zaha’s relationship to the Brother’s extends beyond far beyond the Design District.

In 1993, Hadid’s career was jump-started by a commission from Vitra, the furniture company - whose German campus is home to buildings designed by the world’s best, including Frank Gehry, Tadao Ando, and of course, Zaha Hadid. For Vitra, Hadid redesigned a fire station in Weil am Rhein - her first complex project, and one that is still recognized as one of her best works. 

Zaha Hadid German Fire Station

After her unexpected passing in March 2016 - Vitra invited the Bouroullec Brothers (who they have collaborated with since 2000 on their Home Collection series), to design an exhibition that paid homage to the late architect. 

What ties the two artists together – and solidifies how their works at Miami Design District bind their relationship – is that the Brother’s looked to their existing Nuage series for inspiration for their homage to Hadid. 

They re-transformed Nuage into silver vases defined by circular, cloud motifs … for the “Queen of Curves”. The Exhibition was named “For Zaha,” and distinctly shares the same muted white color scheme and undulating curves of the Moore building’s Elastika piece. The exhibition was held in Hadid’s fire station at Weil-am-Rhein.

For Zaha

The relationship between the Bouroullec Brothers and Zaha Hadid is poetically described in the conversation between their pieces that live permanently in the Miami Design District. Both pieces – Nuage & Elastika  are awaiting your next visit to the District. 


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