Last year Jason Jacques Gallery partnered up with the world renowned gem, mineral, and fossil specialists at Granda Gallery for a barrier smashing mashup of design and natural objects when we rented the Prairie House across from Art Basel for a week of rave-reviewed events— and we thrilled to announce another Jason Jacques Gallery × Granada Gallery collaboration in Miami.
All of history's greatest designers have sought out the most interesting and provocative of natural materials, from the gems and precious metals used by the Wiener Werkstatte to the teams of scouts Jacques Emile Ruhlmann sent to the jungles to source rich woods.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Nature is the greatest artist and designer of all— the single, originary force whose influence we cannot escape.
We want to provide an opportunity for visitors to the fair to see incredible prehistoric relics in person. Nature, though it’s mysterious and much-studied processes, inadvertently produces striking designs: incredible forms with incredible functions. Thus, it is no coincidence that much of the work in the hall surrounding these creatures directly or indirectly references the natural world. It is also no coincidence that at this time in human history we are looking to Nature for inspiration more than ever.
Good design does not end at individual objects— it extends to every aspect of an environment, whether it’s a living or working space, public or private, indoor or outdoor. It follows that the idea of Nature as something separate or remote from daily human life is a fallacy; a natural object is just as much at home in your living room as it is in your garden.
We hope that begins to answer the question about why we brought dinosaur fossils to Design Miami. A similar question was asked a few weeks ago when “Stan” the Tyrannosaurus sold for $32 M at a Christie’s 20th century evening sale. Critics of cross-pollination between collectable fields of interest used to feel this way about cars too— but we’re moving into the future rather than fixating on past distinctions. Are great car designs not sculptures? You decide. Virgil Abloh, after all, been making a compelling argument for the sculptural status of handbags (which most people consider strictly to be design objects) since 2017.
We already have our opinion firmly squared with the market's obvious answer.
A fossilized, juvenile (which is to say apartment-scale) Allosaurus skeleton is a rare find. Looking at it ought to fill even the most ardent stoic with the heady nostalgia of childhood wonder: it is a very literal glimpse back through time.
These two dinosaurs on display depict a hunting scene between a juvenile Allosaurus and full grown Camptosaurs. The Allosaurus, a rare find since it’s a juvenile, is playing its usual role of predator. The Camptosaurus, cast as the prey, is especially notable for its perfectly preserved skull— likely the most complete skull of this species ever found. They both lived about 154 million years ago and roamed the same habitat, the geographic region now known as Wyoming.
Though they are essentially North American animals native to what we now consider the Western United States, this pair of once-living objects date to the Jurassic period. They moved through a vastly different land and inhabited a world which would be unrecognizable to us; properly speaking, the post-Pangea landmass could not even be called North America.
We would do well to note that fossilized remains do not consist of bones themselves. They are made of stone, which over the course of tens of thousands of years replaces bone through a process called mineralization. This mirrors, curiously, a broad and ongoing line of questioning in the field of design regarding the multiplicity of forms a given material can take.
All things considered, they are a monumental reminder of time's passing. To consider them alongside these other objects is to acknowledge that we, and those environments which we create for ourselves, are spatially and temporally linked not only to human history and pre-history, but to the richly interconnected world around us.