Welcoming all to Design Miami, Pitch takes views the vinyl tent as a provocation, not to reconsider the canopy as an overhead shelter, but rather, to rethink the ground—to pitch the tent upside-down as a landscape. Visitors enter and exit the fair over, under, and through a geometric landscape that is both familiar and unexpected: structurally and materially similar to the existing tents, yet habitable and spatial in new reinvigorated ways. Sloped surfaces provide shaded seating for events and leisure, framing a courtyard and reorienting the entrance toward the Botanic Garden, Convention Center, and the ocean. The interior surfaces of the pavilion are covered in low-resilience polyurethane “‘memory”’ foam, which provides a safe and comfortable surface for play and relaxation. During the week of the show, the constant deformation of the foam is gradually imprinted on its surface and becomes a record of the event. In addition to the two existing Design Miami tents, the underside of the large slope is used as a partially enclosed public exhibition space. This “‘third tent”’ will feature work from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and will extend the fair-going experience to all visitors.
The immediate context of Pitch is a plays on the materiality and geometry of both the tents as its immediate context, but also and the as widely recognizable features of Design Miami. Although the pavilion appears to join seamlessly with the existing tents, it is structurally and tectonically independent. A PVC- coated polyester cloth is selected for its structural properties; offsite, it is patterned and fabricated to fit a steel-and-aluminum frame system, which is delivered to the site in prefabricated triangular sections, on standardized on flatbed trucks. Using ana standardordinary “‘luff grove”’ connection, a rope-edge of the PVC is threaded into the frame and then stretched taught in two directions over each triangle in two directions with lacing. This, ensuresing the membrane is evenly tensioned across the warp and weft of the fabric. The preassembled frames are then bolted together flat and erected by a small team. Once assembled, the frames are pinned to the pavement and fastened to a strategically located helical pier, and the sections of the steel tubes are filled with concrete to counteract uplift. In the event of hurricane-force winds, the entire structure can be quickly unbolted through seams in the fabric and lowered to be either sufficiently secured or moved off site. At the conclusion of the fair, the pavilion will be recycled; the steel and aluminum will be processed at local facilities and the PVC membrane will be cut and manufactured into Design -Miami branded umbrellas, as a final iteration of the tent that is particularly well-suitedwell suited to Miami’s beach culture.
Rather than propose a stand-alone pavilion independent of the larger event space, Pitch is a mediating interface—a vibrant public platform for Design Miami. Direct access is maintained to each of the five double doors leading into the exhibit halls, in addition to the ample indirect access over the large slopes. All of the materials and ground treatments (foam surfaces), steps (no taller than 18 inches), and inclines (no greater than 1:8), are designed to meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Public Playground Safety Handbook code for children. The interior space and surfaces are experiential and dynamic, offering: aA sensation of color, light, material, and media that entertains and excites.
Like a landscape, Pitch is illusory. From one view, it seems to extend out from the tents. From another, it is an excavation. The Design Miami logo is similarly animated as an anamorphic projection, coming into and out of alignment as visitors approach and enter the pavilion. After circulating through the exhibitions, fair-goers exit the tent into a small oasis and join the people passing byersby on the slopes. This new terrain is a destination against the flat ocean horizon so familiar to Miami, providing —a space of gathering and exploration.
About The Designer
Mikhail Grinwald, B.Arch, M.Arch, M.Des in history and philosophy
Katie MacDonald, B.Arch, M.Arch
Erin Pellegrino, B.Arch, M.Arch
Jake Rudin, B.Arch, M.Des in technology