Well, while I couldn't attend the Milan Furniture Fair that happened earlier this year, I could go to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center, NYC!! I look forward to that show every year and so I went on May 20th and have been trying ever since to organize the massive amount of information and inspiration I collected during my trip in!
Since Javits is on the west side of Manhattan I took the ferry instead of the normal bridge & tunnel ;) This was one of the first nice days in May that was warm enough to sit on top without a jacket and enjoy the sun, just like this guy...
This was also soon after the antenna with beacon was added to the Freedom Tower. Progress on the build is coming along nicely and is scheduled to be open the end of 2013.
Once I get into the show I have to pick a strategy for walking the isles so I don't miss anything! There is just so much to take in all at once so I usually go straight to one side and work my way across the entire floor. Phew! This year I started on the left and found one of my favorite booths right away. And good thing too because my camera battery died soon after. Many companies and designers put a lot of thought and money into their booths to help show their products in the best light. I really loved this booth from Grain Design for how simple it was! The blue paper shingles were a great idea and created a strong backdrop for their products. I loved the tables, textiles and lighting. It has a sort of nautical / water based feel to me and then I learned they are from Washington State. I could definitely see myself hanging out in a place like that!
After leaving the fair this year there were so many things to think about but the few that kept circling through my mind had to do with the innovative use of materials. Many designers were taking sustainability to the next level of design and it's so exciting to new beautiful products that are good for the environment! Below are a few of my favorite material explorations, and then I could easily write another 6 posts talking about the actual product designs!
Why am I showing a wood floor as the first picture under porcelain? Well because it looks like wood but is not! Crazy, right?!? I saw many "porcelain wood floors" at ICFF and I think porcelain is finding it's way onto floors in big ways! I still can't believe it, I need to research this more but the look of wood grain is very impressive and natural looking. The pictures shown here are from High Style Stone & Tile. I'm sure it doesn't have the physical warmth of real wood, but the other benefits could be a very interesting application.
There were also very beautiful patterns in porcelain tiles. One was a collaboration with product designer Patricia Urquiola, which is a collection of patterns you can mix and match for an eclectic look.
There were so many beautiful rugs at the show this year that had beautiful shimmery silk designs, but I was most fascinated by the materials used in this one! As an effort to produce more sustainable products Liza Phillips Design started using soy silk! The Shimmo line uses a fiber made from residual soy bean left over from making Tofu! You can read more about it here.
Soundproofing with Felt
I love this idea from Anne Kyyro Quinn and it has proven results! Such intricately cut and folded patterns create layers of color and waves of interest.
There are so many applications, a wall hanging to reduce echo in a room or stairwell or a headboard.
For more information about Anne's designs click here for a link to her brochure.
Engineered Wood Flooring
I had a very informative conversation with one of the reps from BR-111, a division of HWDFloors LLC. At first mention engineered wood floors don't sound that attractive, mostly because it sounds like a mock of a "real hard wood floor"and why wouldn't you want the real thing?
Now this might be common knowledge for some of you reading this but I never quite thought about the fact that engineered hardwood floors only uses a fraction of high quality wood for the top "wear layer" and then has a durable and sustainable birch bottom layer. Even if you were to have solid hardwood floors, you can still only re-finish and sand the high quality wood down until the groove layer. Then it needs to be replaced and the rest of the wood never gets used!
There are many companies doing engineered hardwood floors so if you're interestred you need to research each one. BR-111 uses quality materials through each board, and keeps the wood specicies (exotic options available) on the top wear layer only. They are working on improving the wear layer depth by moving the groove down lower, so see what your options are!
Well that's a very consolidated recap of my day at ICFF. I hope you found some of the designs and materials as interesting as I did! I will work on getting some other categories posted too including: furniture, textiles, hardware, lighting, and accessories! It's going to be tough to narrow it down!
Thanks for reading!