Throughout the month of May, NYC was rife with fantastic design, exciting exhibits, and the latest and greatest product launches. Here, five of our favourite moments from NYCxDesign, ICFF, WantedDesign and more.
Most Creative Pop-Up: Folio by Wolf-Gordon
Seen at: WantedDesign Manhattan
To commemorate its 50th anniversary this year, the wall covering and upholstery brand published a monograph, Sample Book, which documents their half century of creative colour, pattern and texture collaborations with the likes of Michael Graves, Petra Blaisse, Gensler and Tjep. At WantedDesign Manhattan, Wolf-Gordon translated this tome into Folio, three colour-coordinated arrangements of large-scale panels fanned out like pages in a book.
Depicting an assortment of their bold and colourful patterns tracing back five decades, the three wheels formed a tunnel for visitors to pass through, where, inside, the more than 150 spreads from the actual book were arranged in chronological rows and interspersed with quotes. The set-up put the company’s artwork on vivid display in a truly interactive and dynamic way.
Best Message: Be Original Americas
Seen at: ICFF, booth #1980
While they say that imitation is a sincere form of flattery, there’s a big difference between admiration and a complete creative rip-off. Counterfeit and forged designs are permeating the market, and lessening the intrinsic value of authenticity as they do.
In response, the non-profit Be Original Americas has made it its mission to educate consumers, professionals and manufacturers on the ethical and environmental importance of preserving original designs. At ICFF, they invited anyone and everyone to express how they personally felt about knock-offs with a two-tiered interactive display. Raised on a platform were a collection of original chairs by Emeco, Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller, Kartell and Vitra. Below were their imposters. Visitors were invited to graffiti the frauds using red Sharpies, effectively trashing the wannabes and preserving the originals.
Standout Lighting Installation: Michael Anastassiades’ Arrangements
Seen at: Flos showroom, 152 Greene Street
Strung up in an all-white and concrete room, lighting master Michael Anastassiades’ latest illuminations were at their poetic, elegant best. The Greek-born, London-based designer and Flos created a spectacularly low-key space to showcase the stunning detail and geometry of Arrangements, his collection of lighting that he describes as jewellery for a room. And indeed there is something undeniably delicate and decorative about the pieces. The modular system of elements can be combined – or arranged – in many different ways, making as much of a personal statement as one’s chosen jewellery.
Beautiful Use of Product: Molo
Seen at: ICFF, booth #719
When Molo made its first appearance at ICFF 13 years ago, all the materials they needed to build their stand fit easily into two suitcases. This year, the Vancouver company erected a square, two-room structure that invited entry from all four sides.
Every aspect of the intriguing display was made from their Soft Collection, a compatible system of partitions, lighting, tables and seating. Rounding a corner of the nearly five-metre-tall vault-like space, one came upon Urchin Softlight, a glowing, sea creature-like light that can be folded, twisted and turned at whim. At the front, a more formal – but nevertheless inviting – set-up put the cantilevered Cloud Mast front and centre, its luminous forms seeming to hover in the air.
Best Sustainable Collaboration: Kean University Industrial Design Students and Ecovative
Seen at: ICFF, booth #2956
For the past year, industrial design students from Kean University have been hard at work literally growing their new products. After partnering with Ecovative, a New York-based biomaterials company, the students were challenged with creating everyday objects using mushroom mycelium (or roots). Every aspect of the end product had to be made sustainable, from the paint and glue to fabric fasteners.
Their finished works were on display in their booth that had an appropriate science fair meets grassroots feel. Finished items were spread out on a long table, along with samples of the material in different stages of production, and ranged from completely biodegradable planters and a bike helmet to a playable guitar. Perhaps the most beneficial possibility of the collaboration, however, is using the 100 per cent biodegradable material as a replacement to Styrofoam inserts and stuffing used by packaging, shipping and furniture industries.