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Last week, visitors of Design Miami were greeted by a flock of pink, foam, architectural models, rendered in miniature and held aloft by a network of beams. It was a most unusual installation. None of the 200 designs had been built, and most of them probably never will be. And that was the whole point.
Titled Unbuilt, the canopy was Design Miami’s official entryway pavilion for this year’s fair—and it was unusual for several reasons. For starters, it’s uncommon for a high-end art fair to celebrate something as rough or routine as preliminary architectural designs. Pavilions are almost always experimental—they’re about showcasing and testing cutting edge ideas and methods of fabrication. There’s nothing new about foam architectural models; they’re a familiar step in most designers’ process.
Plus, consider the following: The opportunity to design a pavilion is almost always awarded to professional architects or design studios. […]