Design Miami, the annual international design fair in Florida, is an interior aficionado’s mecca. It’s where you can see everything from rare Art Nouveau furniture to avant garde installations by Harry Nuriev for Balenciaga, to contemporary, culture-defining makers such as self-proclaimed “ghetto potter” Roberto Lugo. And it’s where you can learn about it all: Booths often include easy-to-read explanations alongside each work, accompanied by an attendant who will talk ad nauseam about it. Yes, each piece is for sale. But Design Miami, and its participants, know that their role is also an informative one—70,000 people flock to the event each year, and the crowd is a mix of buyers, perusers, and those who aren’t sure which they are yet.
But not everyone has the time, or means, to fly to Miami and stay there. Nor, in this pandemic day and age, are they necessarily allowed to. A significant and frankly, younger, audience was getting left out.
Design Miami CEO Jennifer Roberts knew the time was right to launch a new website, DM/BX.
Both an e-commerce and educational platform, DM/BX aims to introduce a millennial audience to artists that define our decorative era. There’s everything from teapots by Lugo, geometric vases by Bo and Yang Zhang, modern murano glass sculptures by Laura Sattin, to plates by Katie Stout.
“We had such a great desire to reach a younger audience and support designers, and the creatives in a way that gives them exposure, support, and broadens the collector base,” Roberts tells Vogue. She also says that picking emerging makers was a priority for her: “When I was a student at Christie’s education program in London, the head of the education program told us ‘you can have the sun, you can have the moon, but never forget—there’s a million stars out there too.’ It became: how do we pick those stars? How do we make the most impact?”
And here’s a specific selling point: everything is between 100 and 2,500 dollars. Roberts wanted DM/BX to have an aspirational-yet-attainable vibe, acknowledging the “intimidation factor” many millenials may have when it comes to designer decor. “We’re trying to take down the barriers to make this a more accessible market and hopefully grow more people into being the collectors.”
DM/BX comes at a time where, more and more, people are exploring their interior style. As the world weathers month 18 of the pandemic—and the closures that come with it—homes have become our sanctuaries, where we sleep, work, and socialize. No longer are we content with having a cookie cutter or slapdash-decorated space: if we’re going to spend most of our time there, it should reflect us. “We’re showing pieces that you can’t find in any of the big box stores,” says Roberts. “I do think this younger generation has the drive to live uniquely and to support creatives.”