Like all good furniture fairs, the main event and off-site exhibitions complement each other’s strengths. ICFF, held at the Javits Centre from May 21 to 24, is a one-stop location for gauging the market’s mood and figuring out which way trends are going in North America, as well as overseas.
Among such familiar brands as Artifort, &Tradition and Emeco filling the booths at ICFF, there was also a noticeable wave of makers, mostly from Brooklyn, producing exquisitely crafted furniture pieces out of locally sourced materials, including repurposed wood and raw steel. The maker trend has been happening for a while, but the groundswell has reached a higher pitch, with artistry that can’t be ignored.
Studios like Coil + Drift and Stefan Rurak, both exhibitions at the main fair, are developing signature styles and excellent detailing. Brendan Ravenhill Studio of L.A. was this year’s winner of the ICFF Editors’ Award for Best Body of Work, an award that in previous years has gone to more firmly established manufacturers. Meanwhile, Coil + Drift of New York got a nod, winning the Best First Time Exhibitor award.
While boutique studios were at ICFF, the next generation of designers was on view at some of the week’s premiere off-site events, namely, WantedDesign and Sight Unseen Offsite – two group shows that have become essential for scouting young talent. It’s impossible not to be energized by the level of experimentation in materials and processes happening, with the new lust for entrepreneurialism and crowd-sourced financing. Many designers at Sight Unseen were set up to either sell their wares on the spot or online. And, indeed, going online to check them out, it’s clear business plans are taking shape.
Here are 30 great moments we captured while crawling the exhibit halls and showrooms all week long.