If art and design are two of life’s great passions for you, then pencil in two upcoming fairs: Marbella Design and Art Marbella. Happening simultaneously at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos from September 24 to October 3. These are, hands down, Marbella’s two most prestigious art and design events. In the past, each happened on a different date but it makes sense to hold both together. After all, art is such an integral part of interior design in high-end homes.


The Third Edition of Marbella Design

This is the third year that art collector and entrepreneur, Alejandro Zaia, will be bringing Marbella Design to our shores. If you have attended past events, then you know they are ‘the bomb’ in terms of the talent they bring. Past attendees include high flyers from the design, advertising, and tourism sectors. Architect, Teresa Sapey; Mini designer Frank Stephenson, and advertising whiz kid, Borja Borrero to name a few.

Of course, the visual splendor of the art and design on view is worthy of a visit in itself. The common thread that runs through both fairs is the ‘design for life’ concept. The idea that great design enhances life and, in some cases, it can actually last a lifetime and be sustainable.

Better than Ever

Zaia tells me that despite the current health crisis, “this year will have a larger number of participants than last year. Around 150 brands and interior designers have confirmed their attendance, which represents a 35 per cent increase in attendance.” Indeed, the construction industry has continued its activity during the crisis. Thus making the demand for design and art as strong as ever. “We have worked alongside the Palacio de Ferias to ensure that all government safety and preventive measures are followed to the letter.”

Talent on Show

Marbella Design has always had various facets to it and it will continue in a similar style this year. Each exhibitor will have dedicated spaces with a height of over three metres. This will allow them to display their respective concepts. Showing off cutting edge materials, new efforts in sustainable design, and a plethora of wall and floor designs.

Last year, for instance, some of the most talked-about spaces included the bathroom by Erico Navazo for Villeroy & Boch. Featuring nature-inspired wall prints and backdrops, a standing bath, and gorgeous relaxation spaces. Also the luxury suite by Adriana Nicolau for Grohe. The amazing Aqua Symphony shower allows homeowners to easily ‘play’ with a wide array of lights and music. They can also control the flow and temperature of water with the minimalist ‘push and turn’ button.

This year promises to be just as cool, with the list of confirmed designers including JUNG, Sara Folch, and Marisa Gallo.

New Aesthetics and Mediterranean Inspiration

The ‘pavilion route’ will boast a new aesthetic this year, designed by Alfonso Castellón. Zaia explains, “This route will comprise both Marbella Design and Art Marbella, joined in harmonious fashion.” This year’s main sponsor and partner, FINSA, will provide materials and biocide-containing boards. Also sustainable materials with certifications from organisations the calibre of Cradle to Cradle. (Requiring product materials are either biodegradable or recyclable/reusable). Castellón found his inspiration in the Mediterranean and in the unique spirit of Marbella creatives in the 1960s.

Space for the Hotel Sector

The Hotel industry will have a special space at the fair. Here, viewers will find new advances in technology for hotels (including domotics). Currently, smart tech is aiding hotels rise to the challenge of rebuilding the industry. There have been developments in a wide range of areas. These include smart energy management, predictive maintenance, and intelligent visitor experiences (featuring personalised services and suggestions for guests).

New Zones

The fair will have a central space comprising some 200m2. It will also have a spacious outdoor terrace measuring 150m2, as well as an exclusive area decided by Art Director Susana Urbano. Here, the very latest in materials for the interior design of leisure yachts will be on display.

A Sixth Year of Artistry

This year marks the sixth that Art Marbella will be bringing works from prestigious galleries from afar to the Coast. The event, whose official lifestyle partner is Quintessentially, will feature VIP programmes for discerning guests. The latter will include private guided tours to cultural hotspots in Málaga (including the Museo Picasso and the Centre Pompidou). As well as exclusive dinners with art collectors.

If you have been to former Art Marbella fairs, then you know that big sales happen here, since the art featured is high-end. Zaia tells me that in the past, works have sold for €1 million, though you will also find more reasonably priced pieces. Some of the world’s most prestigious galleries from Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Switzerland, Austria and more, take part in the event.

Its popularity is owing to the success of entrepreneurs like Alejandro Zaia. His goal is to turn Marbella into a hub of art and design. Zaia has founded and directed many fairs in his illustrious career, including PINTA London and New York. He has received a prize by the Observatorio D’Achtall in recognition for his support of culture and the arts. Without a doubt, it is precisely in challenging times that art and design can do things that few other mediums can. Above all, they inspire us to reach for higher ground and to continue to push our creative limits. Life without beauty is just survival.



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