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Next stop: New York. After making our way to Milan last month, we’re off to cover New York’s spring design season and everything that entails — from NYCxDesign exhibitions to product launches at ICFF and fresh debuts at WantedDesign Manhattan.

Here are all the invitations and product launch teasers that have piqued our interest so far.

ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan

The anchor event of New York’s design week has always been the city’s annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair — and that’s become especially true now that it is held in conjunction with WantedDesign Manhattan. This is an especially exciting year, as the joint fairs are under fresh leadership — with WantedDesign founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat now serving as co-brand directors.

The duo are making their mark with the introduction of a zone dubbed The Crossroads, which has been created by Rockwell Group alongside Wallpaper US editor Pei-Ru Keh. Exploring ideas about the American home and the great outdoors, the space will feature contributions from both emerging (Liam Lee) and established (David Weeks Studio) American designers to act as a sort of buffer between ICFF and WantedDesign Manhattan.

Knitty lounge chair by Moooi

This focal point will be complemented by a new welcome area designed by Moooi (and featuring its just-launched Knitty lounge chair, shown above), as well as the Wanted Interiors Lounge — which this year pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of Ligne Roset’s Togo. Meanwhile, the ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Talks stage is set to welcome a star lineup of speakers, including both Snøhetta director Anne-Rachel Schiffmann and Patricia Urquiola.

Conference table by Bestcase

Meanwhile, WantedDesign Manhattan’s Look Book exhibition promises new introductions from indie designer-makers including Bestcase, Anony, Bowen Liu Studio and more. Look Book’s neighbouring section LaunchPad (dedicated to up-and-coming designers just getting their careers going) is sure to be another burst of creative inspiration, marking the trade show debut of recent RISD grads like Tzyy Yi Young.

Last but not least, the special exhibition ECO Solidarity also returns to WantedDesign Manhattan to showcase work from nine European design studios that are all using their work to address environmental and humanitarian crises.

The Knockoff Show at Colony
Boe Bepop Lounge by Studio Paolo Ferrari x Hiroko Takeda

For The Knockoff Show (running May 19-26) members of design co-op Colony have united to explore a problem that plagues the industry: mass-market manufacturers creating lower-quality lookalikes of popular designs, without giving any credit or profit to the original designers. Each of the exhibition’s participants was asked to choose a source of inspiration and carry it in an entirely fresh direction. 

The results — including the lounge chair on the left, which sees Studio Paolo Ferrari team up with Hiroko Takeda to offer a new interpretation on a 1920s chair by Pierre Chareau and Jean Lurçat — demonstrate the clear difference between taking ethical inspiration from something and creating a carbon copy of it.

Isle by Zoë Mowat at Lambert & Fils
Image by Darius Laprise

The Tribeca showroom of Montreal-based lighting brand Lambert & Fils is turning out to be something of a home-away-from-home for Quebec expats. While she started her design career in Montreal, Zoë Mowat now works in New York while teaching at Parsons. Her latest launch is a new collection of Lambert & Fils lighting dedicated to “quiet strength.” 

Resting a glowing tube on a row of suspended stone blocks, the composition explores the idea of mass by transforming something heavy into an airy object. It resembles a bridge in the sky.

Harmonious Proportions at Tuleste Factory

This exhibition by design gallery Tuleste Factory serves as the venue for NYCxDesign’s opening afterparty — so you know it’s going to be good. Featuring contributions from 23 designers, the show explores the concept of harmony — in nature, design and even mathematics.

Installations span two floors, as well as spilling out onto the outdoor terrace. Expect to see a lot of Instagrams of “EXIT Room #002: Dalmation Blue,” an installation by spatial designer Ceren Arslan that covers an entire room — furnishings and all — in the same blue-and-orange pattern. Who says a harmonious space can’t be a bold one?

Next Generation Modern by Heller

Heller‘s comeback continues. Under the leadership of new owner John Edelman (formerly of Design Within Reach), the brand’s relaunch has seen it embrace made-in-America manufacturing, adopt blockchain-powered authenticity certificates and reintroduce classics like the Heller Ware serving ware collection and the Vignelli rocking chair (above). Now, the brand is set to expand its collection even further with a new introduction by Atlason Studio.

Its latest launches will be on view at both ICFF and the aptly named Heller Gallery in Chelsea, which will showcase “the next generation of modern” in an interactive exhibition designed by Rodolfo Agrella.

New Works from the Sight Unseen Collection

Cult-favourite design blog Sight Unseen recently expanded to open an online store that stocks unique furnishings from indie makers like Bestcase and Objects & Ideas. Now, the retailer is rounding up its crew for a group exhibition dedicated to an aesthetic best described as funky modern.

Among the designers participating will be furniture studio Willettspace, which is behind the Douglas fir (with cherry edge banding) Shorty credenza shown above. While Willetspace is relatively new on the furniture scene, anyone who follows chef and food writer Molly Baz is likely already familiar with the studio — it’s run by her husband, Ben Willett. And yes, he had a hand in her recent homewares collection with Crate and Barrel. Now’s his chance to show off another part of his portfolio.

Mondos collection by Laun and Chet Architecture

During NYCxDesign 2022, Salon Design opened a new SoHo gallery that charmed us with (among other things) a series of side tables that featured fringed borders of silicone or brass cord.

This month, the designer of those tables — L.A. studio Laun — returns to Salon to debut a new six-piece furniture collection, Mondos, designed in collaboration with architect Chet Callahan. Featuring a sofa, love seat, side chair, chaise, side table and coffee table, the California-inspired collection references the curved silhouettes of waves, as well as the playful shapes and oversized proportions that characterize pool floats.

Furnishing Utopia
Take It Or Leave It by Ladies & Gentleman —
— a design that acts as a community lending library.

We love seeing the different responses that an open-ended prompt inspires. In this case, that prompt was “How can creative practices be more rooted in acts of care and empathy for the external world?” The resulting exhibition, curated by Jean Lee of Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and featuring contributions from 39 different designers, presents a full range of ideas — from bird houses to ideas for better public seating.

Each design will be detailed in a display at Brooklyn bookshop gallery Head Hi, while some of them will also be installed in the nearby Brooklyn Naval Cemetery — allowing visitors to experience their generosity of spirit firsthand.

Previewing NYC’s Packed Schedule of May Design Events

Our guide to everything to see at NYCxDesign 2023, including ICFF, WantedDesign Manhattan and more.

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