Art Basel Miami Highlights

by Isabel Thomson-Officer

After enduring even just a few weeks of a New York winter, you’ll be pouncing at the opportunity to run away to sunshine, beaches and warm weather. This year it seemed the entire Big Apple decided to escape the first snow and head south to Miami for Art Basel. Any excuse for a party right? After spending our days wandering the streets of Wynwood marvelling at the large scale murals, or meandering up and down aisles at art shows like SCOPE, Superfine! And Superchief, we were well and truly ready to party. With tons of excellent options every night of the festival, we were spoiled for choice. Here’s where we ended up from Thursday to Sunday during Art Basel Miami.

THURSDAY DECEMBER 7

BASEMENT MIAMI PRESENTS: BEDOUIN, GUY LALIBERTÉ, NICOLAS MATAR

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Not wanting to waste a minute of our precious four days in Miami, we hit the ground running on Thursday choosing to spend our first full day in Wynwood. By the time the evening came we were already exhausted! Thankfully that second wind kicked in and we jumped in a cab to make our way over to Basement Miami. The micro-club situated in the basement of the The Miami Beach Edition Hotel pays homage to Ian Schrager’s legendary Studio 54. With techno flowers and upside down silver pyramid’s dangling from the ceiling, the space looked enchanting and far from that of a basement. On the decks as we arrived was billionaire and Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberté who had the dancefloor full and the energy high as fans eagerly awaited for Burner favorites Bedouin to take over around 2am. 
By the time Tamer and Rami of Bedouin were behind the booth the club was so packed that you could barely move. With their unique take on deep house and Playa inspired music filling the club, we stayed for maybe 20 minutes before deciding to call it quits to get some much needed rest.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 8

RUMORS ART BASEL

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The free party by label head Guy Gerber took place on the stretch of beach behind the 1 Hotel kicking off at 4pm on Friday afternoon. Arriving expecting to be on the roof in heels (not the best on sand) the party was in full swing with the label showcase’s typical red and green lantern décor strung across the dancefloor. Playing a funky and eclectic set, traversing genres and playing early noughties hits like St Germain’s “Rose Rouge”, Guy Gerber had the crowd dancing well past the 11pm cut off. 
 

CHAIM B2B YOKOO AT DO NOT SIT ON THE FURNITURE 

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Behrouz’s mini club, Do Not Sit On The Furniture is one of our favorite Miami venues. Tucked away a few blocks back from Miami Beach, the miniature bar/club reminds us quite a bit of Brooklyn’s TBA. With an infamous disco shark turning slowly in the center of the ceiling, soft red lighting further sets the mood. Israel’s Chaim who is a very talented and forward-thinking producer, was one of our musts to catch during Art Basel. Playing back to back with All Day I Dream favorite YokoO, the two complimented each other’s style impeccably. We stayed for a few hours before heading over to Space to go check out Bob Moses (live).
 

BOB MOSES (live) at SPACE MIAMI ON THE TERRACE

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Arriving at SPACE, the line outside was pretty nuts. By the time we got in, Bob Moses had already started and were cranking out hits like “Talk”, “Tearing Me Up” and “Far From The Tree”. Playing inside a booth branded with tINI’s ‘Part of the Gang’ (yes she was set to takeover in the morning), the grammy-winning duo from Canada were impressive to see live for the first time. 
As far as superclubs go, SPACE Miami far exceeded our expectations. Huge mirror balls, coupled with vines crawling up the walls and gold streamers dangling from the ceiling made for tasteful décor and even though revellers were smoking the club was well ventilated and it was barely noticeable. Despite the huge queue outside to get in, the dancefloor was full but not packed and even close in to the DJ booth there was room to move. This was an Art Basel party highlight for sure!
 

SATURDAY DECEMBER 9

RAKASTELLA: LIFE AND DEATH X INNERVISIONS

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Without a doubt the lineup of the week, Rakastella was the party we had all been waiting for. When two labels synonymous with great talent and amazing melodies combine forces bringing everyone from up and comers through to established label owners, you know you’re in for a treat. Catching both Ame’s playing together in a rare joint appearance was special in itself as was seeing them all high-fiving each other and cracking smiles behind the decks with DJ Tennis. Standout sets came from Octo Octa (live) who’s had an amazing 2017, Red Axes, Dixon, DJ Koze, and Mano Le Tough. Set in the beautiful surrounds of Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, the mini-festival was comprised of three stages all equipped with excellent sound and really impressive lighting and production. Live art and an orange installation sponsored by Campari made for a cool photo opp (we were stoked when a rep came over offering up free phone chargers, winning!). After several hours dancing we decided to call it quits so as to have a little left in the tank to explore on Sunday and make it to the closing party with Hernan Cattaneo before flying out early Monday morning.
 

SUNDAY DECEMBER 10

ART BASEL CLOSING PARTY WITH HERNAN CATTANEO AT DO NOT SIT ON THE FURNITURE

With Art Basel drawing to a close, we kicked on for one last hoorah returning to Do Not Sit On The Furniture for some progressive house from our favorite Argentinian. Cattaneo had the tiny room dancing in a trance to his melody-filled set and it was a great way to close an amazing four days in Miami out with some more laid-back dance music in a chilled out club.
Overall Rakastella was clearly the winner as Art Basel party of the week and really deserved a gold star for pulling off such a seamless inaugural edition. Despite some bad apples stealing partygoers phones, there was not much we could fault in the event. Several bars, ample porta-potties, state of the art production, a beautiful location and a great lineup made for some pretty amazing party vibes - we’ll be back next year for sure.