While Mother Nature brought her own surprises to Miami in the form of stormy weather, she couldn’t possibly drown out the creative spirit that filled the streets during Design Miami/. At our Belong. Here. Now. space, the moments of unexpected delight and inspiration were all around. Even our hosts—the designers and creative influencers we brought together to create inspirational moments for guests—found themselves in awe of these moments of delight. Moments that were small yet spectacular—and worth sharing with the rest of the world.
Three of our Belong. Here. Now. hosts–Emilie Baltz, Hisham Bharoocha, and Red Hong Yi–took the time to share their own found moments of inspiration through a photo journal. Even beyond their own mediums and “Hosted Moments” at Airbnb’s Belong. Here. Now. space, they found delight in the creative elements, installations, even the unpredictable rainstorms. If you were there, maybe you caught some of these moments as well. And if you missed out? Well, at least you can get a taste here.
Red is a Malaysian artist best known for using unconventional yet everyday materials — chopsticks, dyed carnations, sunflower seeds — to make a statement about globalization and mass production throughout Asia. For Belong. Here. Now., Red used social media to invite people from all over the world to share about the most meaningful objects they own. Expressed through a large-scale balloon installation, our space symbolized a warm welcome from Red’s global community, as well as a unique, collaborative experience built on human connection.
Here are some moments that spoke to Red during Design Miami/:
“Probably my favourite piece at Design Miami/ was jewelry that was intricately fabricated from 18 karat gold and made to look like cardboard! It made me question the role of identity in an object and the use of mundane versus fine materials for objects around us.”
“It was interesting observing the expressions on visitors’ faces as they read the stories attached to the balloons. This space symbolises a warm welcome by people all over the world who have opened themselves up by sharing their most cherished memories. I hope that visitors walked away that day with greater clarity in the meaning of their relationships and lives.”
“There was a series of furniture called ‘Afreaks’ by the Haas Brothers and Sisters that looked so fun, like they were props from an Alice in Wonderland play! They were covered in colourful beads and I felt like I was wandering through a magical fairytale land when I walked through this space.”
As a Japanese-born artist based in Brooklyn, Hisham presently focuses on creating work that shows the absurdity and logic of how the mind functions, what kind of relationships it creates between experiences, and images that we absorb through our senses moment by moment. He does that through music, visual art, and photography. He believes the creation of an art piece requires many small marks that add up to create a larger picture, a finished image that communicates beyond the capacity of expression through words.
Here were a few of his favorite takeaway moments from Design Miami/.
“Everything at Design Miami/ was so inspiring: So much amazing design and fine art work, meeting so many interesting people, all of the special events. I was also inspired by all the different people who go to these events. So many eccentrics.”
“I feel so at home in the Art Basel world since I’ve worked in the fine art world for the most part, but I also ride the line between design and visual art. I do my best visual work when I make the time to be on my own, in my own mind, discovering connections between ideas and doing research, working through them physically.”
“My work is quite organic. Sometimes it starts with the physical gesture of cutting paper, drawing a line or a paint stroke which leads to informed strokes. Sometimes I have a vision and I work towards that, evolving with it as I go since artwork rarely comes out exactly as planned. That is the beauty of it. And that’s what I got to share with others at Belong. Here. Now.”
As a founding member of NEW INC (the first museum-led incubator hosted at the New Museum) and an experiential food artist, Emilie focuses on creating sensory stories that cultivate play, delight, and curiosity. Her Ice Block Experience at Belong. Here. Now. consisted of three colored ice blocks, each with little talismans frozen inside. Through changing colored lights and sound, visitors were able to interact with each piece. As each block melted, objects were freed for the taking.
These are Emilie’s most standout moments from her time at Design Miami/.
“I was walking home one night, and there was this nondescript bar with a purple neon sign that seemed totally out of place. It reminded me of the importance of looking for happiness in the most unlikely of places.”
“The unexpected monsoon season made us run for cover early in the week and hide under the piano as shelter for rain! Yinka and Paola Antonelli and I used said musical instrument as shelter. It was a moment that made me feel like a kid again. Sometimes we need to belong to our childhood again as a means of rekindling our sense of wonder.”
“I stumbled (almost literally!) on these Moss People by Kim Simonsson in the Design Miami/ tent. These porcelain figures are covered in green flocking that gives the illusion of moss growing out of these childlike figures. It reminded me that we’re all part of the same system, always developing together–sometimes on the inside, sometimes on the outside, but in the end, all part of the same natural world that belongs to us all.”
“When I was younger, I wanted nothing more than to be on Broadway singing in musical theater. So the sing along in the Airbnb space was a highlight of my time! There is nothing more freeing than screaming show tunes and playing the kazoo. Who knew that screaming Rogers and Hammerstein could bring so many people together?! This is my new party trick. For serious.”
“I came across the piece ‘Life Serves Up the Occasional Pink Unicorn’ by Anicka Yi at the Rubell family collection, and felt a little tickle of unexpected magic as I leaned in closer and realized that these were tempura flowers on the tableau, coated in resin! The interplay of precious and perishable materials, fixed in permanence offered a little unexpected shiver of delight!”