As the 22nd International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) wraps up today, the event is an encouraging signal that economic hope for the design community is on the way. Held this year at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center in New York City from May 15 to 18 with 590 exhibitors, over 24,000 interior designers, architects, designers, retailers, manufactures, and distributors are anticipated to attend by the annual trade shows’ close. (Scroll to end for images of some products at ICFF 2010.)
Even shortly after the event opened at 10 a.m. yesterday, attendees walked the show floor in flocks, creating waiting lines at the most popular designer’s booths. The hustle and bustle filled the large 145,000 sq.-ft. expo center with a positive vibe that put a smile on designer’s faces.
“This is the event I look forward to most every year,” beams Peter Schultz, AIA, president of Richard Schultz Design and son of the 80-plus-year-old designer, with a smile. “People are here to look at and appreciate your designs. I don’t think anyone really thinks about pushing that sales slip, as it is in a lot of other expos.”
Schultz even brought his dog with him to the event, which added some endearing realism to his booth that portrayed the Fresh Air Collection of metal dining chairs, and happily showed visitors a funny video that he captured on his iPhone of the pooch running circles around his exhibit earlier in the day.
While the assortment of products on display presented a wide assortment of style and innovation, a few major design themes came into play, including the contrast between texture and clean lines, as well as incorporating bright and bold colors.
A focus on texture and rich designs that made visitors want to “feed their need” to touch the products was prominent. Trove, for example, launched a new variation on its existing Marquee wallcovering, printing the historic theater scene on a textured, glass-beaded surface to immediately enhance the covering’s colorway and visual. Sette Cento at the Ceramic Tiles of Italy pavilion displayed its recently launched The Factory collection of ceramic tiles that portrayed stunning photo visuals—including a jazz musician, Audrey Hepburn, and the Brooklyn Bridge—via a glaze over thin and short textured lines.
Turnstyle also launched its Composite Leather line of door handles and knobs, which replicates the look and feel of leather-covered products by shaping a resin and marble dust mix in a detailed silicone mold; while BRC Designs showcased its Spider Sofa, which is composed of either black or brown recycled zippers and silk fabric ties as an eco-friendly and reinvented version of shag-styled seating.
On the other end of the spectrum, many design introductions aim to push the mark with rounded edges and clean lines in plastic/fiberglass forms and wood. The sleek and intriguing Pharo stackable indoor and outdoor chair by Wilde & Spieth features a unique throne-like fiberglass silhouette in nine different colors with the option of built-in or removable cushions. Also, Herman Miller displayed for the first time its expanded line of Eames Plastic Molded Chairs.
Bernhardt Designs displayed its Milan-introduced Corvo guest chair that is so refined that it appears to be made from a single piece of rounded wood; while Antonio Pio Saracino presented his Blossom Chair and Cervo Chairs, both with intriguing curves formed from plywood. Artek also displayed as part of its 75th anniversary Dress the Chair celebration a series of its iconic wooden Armchair 400 (launched 1936) that have been re-envisioned by various artists and designers adding their own personal spin.
Bold colors such as lime green; bright reds, oranges, and pinks, and pure-tinted greens and blues were seen throughout, as well as options to ground the palette with crisp white and pure black. The popularity of metallics seen at the Milan Furniture Fair continued.
Highlighted below is a selection of products from this year’s show floor (click on the gallery link, photos taken by Contract magazine associate editor Stacy Straczynski):