Looking for unique furniture to revive your home and workspace? Look no further than Miami.
The Atus lounge chair from the Atus Collection by Bea Pernia PHOTO COURTESY OF BEA INTERIORS DESIGN
In a city known for cutting-edge artistry, four acclaimed creatives have infiltrated Miami’s furniture design field through unexpected avenues, and with exciting and boundary-pushing effect.
The careers of Bea Pernia, Emmett Moore, Germane Barnes and James Quinaz are rooted in interior design, art, architecture and art direction, respectively. Using their individual experience as a point of departure, they have produced custom and bespoke furniture that today shows alongside the world’s best at design fairs as well as art museums and galleries.
“Our local designers reflect Miami’s richness and creative freedom and are being sought after by collectors and interior designers from around the world. It’s an incredibly exciting time for furniture design,” says Grela Orihuela, vice president of fairs at Design Miami/.
In a growing cosmopolitan city where unique functional design becomes increasingly more in demand by locals and visitors alike, this is only the beginning.
Bea Pernia. PHOTO COURTESY OF BEA INTERIORS DESIGN
American Venezuelan interior designer Bea Pernia founded her studio, Bea Interior Designs (beainteriorsdesign.com), in 2000, expanding 12 years later to craft the interiors of multimillion-dollar private homes, boutique hotels and hospitality concepts, including Miami’s Hiyakawa restaurant with her signature wavelike ceiling. Pernia’s creative approach to interiors has always included designing custom furniture, which was pushed to the fore at the 2021 Design Miami/, where she debuted her Atus Collection, made in collaboration with natural material supplier Arca. Pernia designed the booth as a healing home, with a bespoke Murano glass lamp as well as a chair, end table, coffee table and desk made from cozy and luxurious materials including marble, wood and Siberian faux fur.
Expanding on this collection, Pernia designed a long Atus lounge chair activating the inherent qualities of its marble and wood. A weathered teak ergonomic top melds to a raw marble base that shows the veins of the stone newly excavated from a quarry in Portugal. Appearing simultaneously timeless and aged, part of nature and modified, the long Atus lounge chair offers a solid yet sensual resting place at home, or outdoors exposed to its akin elements.
Exemplary of Pernia’s practice, the long Atus lounge chair combines classical materials with contemporary techniques, pushing often hard and solid materials into organic, light form creating beautiful tensions between function, tactility and sensuality.
Germane Barnes PHOTO: COURTESY OF STUDIO BARNES
2021 was an extraordinary year for Germane Barnes (germanebarnes.com). In addition to his role as assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture and a major installation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Barnes was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture. He ended the year with a Lexus-commissioned installation titled ON/at Design Miami/. Adopting the complex language of Miami’s built environment, Barnes merged bright lights and art deco arches, as well as wood and concrete, a combination he describes as indicative of South Florida’s tropical modernism. Within the installation, Barnes designed tables with wooden bases laser cut with upturned arches grounded by vaulted concrete and topped with custom glass or encased acrylic tops. These stylistic combinations underpin his creative practice, which is led by the rationality of architecture and the politics of space, as well as artistic imagination. This trifecta is also seen in Barnes’ creation of Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown (Throne Chairs), a colorful political porch chair. The layered design amplifies Black identity through references to braiding techniques, hair combs and crowns used within Black diasporic practices and more. Barnes abides by the techniques of architecture, design and art, while upsetting conventional narratives by introducing sociopolitical agendas that question their equity, equality and relevance. In this way, Barnes constructs his own language for living through building and making.
Table designed by Germane Barnes presented by Lexus for Design Miami/ 2021 PHOTO: COURTESY OF STUDIO BARNES
Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown (Throne Chairs). PHOTO: BY BLAIR REID JR.
Moore’s Intergalactic PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMETT MOORE AND NINA JOHNSON GALLERY
Emmett Moore (emmettmoore.com) lends a unique creative tang to his furniture creations thanks to a background bridging his design training experience with architecture and work as an artist. A Miami native, Moore oft en references his upbringing with themes that are familiar and nostalgic, while applying precise consideration for aesthetic and function. This exactitude combined with a freedom to blur art and design boundaries have made Moore one of Miami’s most celebrated creatives—consequently, he is the first local designer to have been featured in a Design Miami/solo booth. Despite this recognition, Moore maintains a penchant for play. His latest coffee-table design, titled After School, has multicolored legs protruding through a beautifully finished found piece of mahogany that has been inscribed with insignia from his youth. Debuted at the 2021 FOG Design + Art fair, the lamp he calls Intergalactic combines found materials with coral rock appearing as a dada-esque sculpture, abstracted in form and color, playful in appearance while casting tasteful ambient light. Moore’s long interest in upcycling continues with Love Bridge, a chandelier made of found keys, chains and more, infusing a new creation with the history and wonder of these objects’ past lives. Despite his immense success in the design field, Moore maintains a thriving art career. Represented by renowned Miami gallery Nina Johnson, Moore’s 2021 solo exhibition, Boat House, featured art and design within his own home, melding ideas of personal and private, life and spectacle.
Love Bridge PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMETT MOORE AND NINA JOHNSON GALLERY
After School. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMETT MOORE AND NINA JOHNSON GALLERY
James Quinaz’s Mira de Aire table, a solid white oak writing desk, pictured in the Everglades PHOTO COURTESY OF QUINAZ STUDIO
After staging the windows for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York for six years, James Quinaz can envision anything. In 2020, midpandemic, Quinaz moved to Miami and founded Quinaz Studio (quinazstudio.com) with gifted Miami entrepreneur David Harrison to focus on sustainable furniture and creative production. Combining techniques rooted in traditional carpentry with big thinking, Quinaz lent a contemporary approach to fine furniture—a dichotomy that underpinned his 2021 popup studio and exhibition titled BAY STORE in the Miami Design District. Here, Quinaz transformed detritus, found while kayaking around Biscayne Bay, into chic collectible furniture designs named after the weight of their materials. The 37.3 Pounds coffee table is a pristinely finished coffee table that effortlessly melds a tree branch with a metal-framed glass top, appearing as if sourced for the design, rather than being creatively improvised. The ingenuity of BAY STORE caught the eye of Design Miami/, which commissioned Quinaz Studio to create a custom Gator shelving unit and showcase furniture from his Mira de Aire series at the 2021 fair. The Gator shelving unit is named for its triangular slats that recall alligator teeth, a true Floridian influence. This toothy inspiration is carried through Quinaz’s Mira de Aire oak table named after a town in Portugal known for its many caves, and a reference to Quinaz’s own heritage. Finished below with peaked triangles that recall alligator teeth, the table’s 2,000 geometric wood blocks are hand cut and joined to recall the process of stalactites accumulating in caves over time. Quinaz’s respect for nature and the handmade combined with an exact contemporary lens has made his Miami studio a leader for innovative furniture that is quintessential and consciously artful.
Photography by: Photo Courtesy: Bea Interiors Design