Design Miami Declares Vito Acconci Designer of the Year

An artificial island designed by Acconci in Graz, Austria. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Forty years ago, Vito Acconci was busy realizing some of contemporary art’s more antisocial performances—masturbating in a gallery, mumbling to himself in a basement while holding a crowbar, following people around New York. But people change. For the past 25 years he’s been conceiving design and architecture projects, and Design Miami just gave him its Designer of the Year award, which has previously gone to architects like Zaha Hadid and David Adjaye. The Daily Beast’s Blake Gopnik got the scoop on this one.

Mr. Acconci’s latest project is a playground in Miami that has been commissioned by Design Miami in celebration of the award. Here’s Mr. Gopnik on that subject:

It is a huge climbing frame that’s like a Moebius strip translated into three dimensions, so that it’s never clear which surface counts as inside or outside, letting children climb between both. Acconci says the peculiar topology should lead to all sorts of strange encounters among kids, throwing them together even more than a normal playground might do and boosting their experience quotient.

Among his other designs are the Nolita home of the Storefront for Art and Architecture and a handsome bookshelf in the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ lobby.

Over the years, Mr. Acconci has sort of done it all. Back in the 1960s, he was a poet and ran an imprint with Bernadette Mayer called 0 to 9 that published poetry books like Aram Saroyan’s Coffee Coffee. But it seems that the architecture practice is going well for him! According to his studio’s website, he’s hiring.

Design Miami Declares Vito Acconci Designer of the Year