(CNN)Design is a discipline that tends to take itself rather seriously.
Perhaps this is why so many designers return time and again to dependable, tried-and-tested materials like hardwoods, aluminum and steel, all of which confer a sense of solidity, modernity and sophistication.
At this year's Design Miami, however, a small group of adventurous designers has cast off convention, trading in more traditional materials in favor of flowers, beehives, car parts and garbage, to name just a few of the unusual materials on display.
In celebration of the opening of Design Miami, CNN Style has highlighted studios from across the globe that are experimenting with materiality, from flowerpots made of cow dung to a replica of Buckingham Palace rendered in jelly.
Though their products are wildly different in form, what unites these designers is a sense of curiosity and play -- evidence that design works best when it doesn't conform.