Last month the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) was back in NYC for the 25th year.  The show spanned May 18–21, during New York’s annual ‘Design Week’.  This was my 10th year in attendance and the creative and beautiful designs never fail to inspire.

ICFF is a global event displaying design from 31 countries and 11 categories including: furniture, materials, flooring, wall covering, fabricators, lighting, seating, outdoor furniture, textiles, Kitchen & Bath, and accessories.

ICFF is held at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center equating to 165,000 SF of booths to trek through.  It is an overwhelming amount to take in all at once.  This year it didn’t take long to find a few gems, as well as get a sense of the design climate.  It was easy to find some art, beauty and a few products to put to practical use.

Many exhibitors explored are tried and true, while new designers had products that perhaps needed more development and fine tuning - but that is all a part of the fun and a testament to design always evolving, changing and needing improvement.

This year ICFF featured a new continent at the African and African Caribbean Diaspora.  A master weaver was centrally on display weaving textiles.  It was an amazing example of the art and skill practiced in creating hand-woven textiles, and a reminder that products take energy and care to create – by humans- even if and when they are ultimately the factory manufactured type.

A trend honoring ethnic patterns and handicraft was omnipresent.

Some other trends: a use of raw materials and natural finishes - and the flip side to that, using faux materials to mimic the natural.  Metals were burnished, as well as a mix of shiny copper and gold.  Woods were reclaimed and rough and lighting was energy efficient.  Furniture was flexible, often simple forms.  Color was vibrant and fresh.  Students displayed designs that reflect the need to react to our changing global climate.  Conversations flowed related to creation and inspiration, not economic downturns.  Generally, there was an optimistic overtone compared to recent past fairs and a focus on fun and whimsy.

Other highlights:

Furniture:

Tardi Sofa by Lindsey Adelman, Brooklyn, NY

Seating by Emeco, PA

Metal tables by Patty Johnson, Canada 

Lighting:

Tom Dixon, London UK (always a favorite)

Patrick Townsend a new favorite, local from Long Island

Wall Covering:

Abigail Edwards  hand drawn wall covering, London UK

Piet Boon for NLXL  concrete wall covering, Netherlands

 Pottery & Tiles:

Rookwood Modern Classics tile design, OH

Student work:

Flat pack shelter design, by University of Cincinnati, OH (can ship flat in a box for quick assembly at a disaster site)

Lifestyle:

FAB, fun items from furnishings to olive oil, products from around the world, NY based

This was just a glimpse of the ICFF, there was truly so much more, for full list of exhibitor’s click here, searchable by country and category.

In this global marketplace New York remains the city where virtually everything comes.  Our New York office is fortunate to feel the pulse of the world and bring it to our collective design table.

Mark your calendar for next year.  Same time and place.

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