Design Miami 2013: What's Old Is New Again

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Photo by Jose D. Duran
The decorative arts sort of get a bad rap. But while everyone oohs and aahs at the blue-chip pieces for sale at Art Basel, you can't sit on a Picasso -- well, you can, but it's not going to be worth much once you stand up.

That's why Design Miami still remains an oddity amongst the satellite fairs -- it's utilitarian art. You can sit on it, eat off it, but your books on it, prop your feet up.

As we stepped inside what appeared to be a modular home installed in the middle of the tent by Galerie Patrick Seguin, we stopped a representative to ask questions.

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Photo by Jose D. Duran
So is the home modular?

"Um, what do you mean?" she said in heavily accented English.

Is it customizable?

"You can change the panels."

How much would something like this go for? Half a million?

"More."

A million?

"A bit more."

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Photo by Jose D. Duran
She seemed genuinely shocked and embarrassed that we asked about the price, but the home, designed by Jean Prouvé in 1945, was meant to provide an affordable way to mass produce homes without losing much style in a post-war France. It seems a bit mind-boggling to see "Maison 8x8" sell for over a million dollars when you think about the house's original intention. Nevertheless, the representative told us that any interested buyer could have the home shipped to them in crates anywhere in the world.

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Photo by Jose D. Duran
But for those looking for something a bit more permanent, Miami developers Terra Group and former Miami Art Museum curator Terrence Riley presented "Four (4): New Visions for Living in Miami," which presented plans that were proposed for what we imagine became the Grove at Grand Bay project. The exhibit is meant to show how architects address the challenges of a certain project.

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