What's next on the furniture frontier? You should look to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair to fill you in on the latest in cutting-edge design -- but you probably didn't.
The 24th annual event of more than 500 vendors was held in New York's Javits Center from May 19 to May 22 and emphasized craft and performance over "vintage charm," as profiled in The New York Times. It failed to attract much media attention, though the works on display suggested that it should have.
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From Brooklyn to Britain, artisanship was the main focus for a lot of furniture.
Brian Volk-Zimmerman builds furniture at Volk, his Red Hook shop. His heirloom pieces, such as "a child's stool with the name Abigail embedded in round vintage typewriter keys," are at once personalized and timeless (both figuratively and literally, as they are sustainable).
British Bone showed off their wares, which are a collection of ceramics. Emily Johnson, who comes from a family of porcelain manufacturers, is the director and produces contemporary works with the help of other designers.
Industrial technology was also present, but more subtle. Big Ass Fans impressed with their new Haiku ceiling fan. The piece has a direct-current motor inside which is smaller but also increases efficiency at the impressive rate of $5 worth of electricity consumption a year.
The fair, a part of a looser collection of exhibitions, parties and lectures informally known as New York Design Week, was marked by the arrest of furniture designer and artist Takeshi Miyakawa, who was taken into police custody on Saturday for planting false bombs in trees around the city (which were actually just illuminated "I Love New York" shopping bags). Miyakawa, who said his installation art was coinciding with this week of events, was released from police custody yesterday after four days of holding (though he still was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation).
Though this was unfortunately one of the most reported goings-on of the festival week, "influential designers, business owners, cultural leaders and local government officials" are working together to increase the design industries' prominence.
"Design Week NYC is the working name of a city-supported initiative, set to begin next year, that would enlarge the scope of the annual New York design festival, making it comparable to popular design weeks in Milan, London and Paris," The New York Times reports.
Fern Mallis, the founder of Fashion Week, says the key is to approach design with the cultural respect that it receives in Europe.
To go about doing this, she said we need to "identify the key talents and players and make them sexy, make them like the fashion designers."