ICFF 2012 report, New York
Falling just a month after the Salone del Mobile, New York City’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair is often victim to a few repeat performances from international players on the design circuit. Yet, the growing bastion of indigenous designer-makers, burgeoning independent companies and a few charmed collaborations (this time Raleigh Denim for Bernhardt Design, and Cranbrook Art Academy for Alessi) has kept us pleasantly surprised year after year.
As the country’s design force descends on the Big Apple for four days, numerous fringe venues stake their claim over its different neighbourhoods. Closest to the fair’s Javits’ Centre nucleus is Wanted Design – a platform now in its second year that boasted over 50 exhibitors, including heavyweights such as Bernhardt design, Ligne Roset and Christofle – located in the dynamic Terminal Stores building, which our more colourful readers might remember as the infamous Tunnel nightclub.
Tucked way downtown in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge, the non-profit design and art organization, BOFFO, turned an unused building into a wonderous show house with work from furniture label ROLU, textile designer Stefan Hengst and architect/designer Jen Turner.
The most successful however, continues to be the Noho Design District, which has grown from strength to strength in its three years of being. Apart from the usual in-store showcases from The Future Perfect and Partners and Spade, the event floated over to The Standard, East Village hotel this year, with three exhibitors: Sonos sound gallery, Irish homegoods label Makers & Brothers, and curators, Sight Unseen pitching up temporary spaces within the swanky digs.
Our hands-down highlight of the week undeniably came from Matter – the contemporary design shop and manufacturer that has steadily brought some of the country’s brightest talents into its fold via its MatterMade collection. Choosing a crumbling retail space that was once a subway entrance, with Chinatown as a backdrop, the company presented exciting new pieces including a counterweight chandelier from Fort Standard, textiles from Meg Callahan and a new modular furniture system from its in-house team, among others.