What’s New in Furniture Design?
May in New York City is filled with furniture, art and design fairs. Where once upon a time I might have toured some of these solely for fun, now I tour them for fun and to search out resources for current and future projects. One of the largest is ICFF, which has just ended its run at the Javits Center. This multi-day event is chock full of furniture, materials, accessories and fixtures from around the world, with a good amount of local representation. I enjoy the challenge of sifting through these fairs, but if I wander around aimlessly, too many items start to blend together.
One of the ways I keep my focus is by searching for conceptual themes across the show. For example, one year the fair was thick with rich, jewel colors - in particular, blown glass pieces, but also as insets for furniture and woven into textiles. Another year had an excess of playful outdoor living options. I stopped counting after cataloging the 7th or 8th ping-pong and/or billiards table.
My visit this year was brief – stolen from personal time, sandwiched between kid and family events on the weekend. I was on the lookout for a few client objects, but mostly I toured ICFF without a specific agenda.
The one theme that I found particularly interesting was the prevalence of precision. Strong geometric lines cutting through all materials and forming other materials. Custom architectural grills, screens, and lampshades. Intersecting sharp lines meeting at irregular angles to form or support furniture or fixtures. Even soft organic forms, such as reclaimed wood beams, sliced sharply to add a contrast of angles. Why this prevalence of precision? Perhaps it’s the result of designers playing with new “toys” – laser cutters, improved CAD tools. Perhaps it’s indicative of some larger social phenomena. Perhaps it’s just coincidence. Regardless of the reason – it’s fun to explore what’s new.
Here are just a few more snapshots and links. Enjoy!