Well known for showcasing striking new products from both international and domestic furniture designers, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City is always good for startling visuals. This was no exception, as the May show lived up to the "international" part of its name, but the "furniture" part seems to be in decline or at least being redefined.
Domestic designers seemed to step aside this year to make room for the foreigners. A huge Japan by Design pavilion showcased a wide range of Japanese designs in contemporary products from toilets to bicycles. A few pieces of furniture were included, emphasizing clean lines and subtle details we've come to expect from Japan's designers. Other strong international contenders at the show included Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, and Great Britain.
Furniture, including seating and outdoor furniture, accounted for less than half of the products at the show. Carpet and flooring, lighting, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, materials, kitchen and bath products clearly were taking over the show. Plumbing displays, including toilets by Toto of Japan, were side by side with more traditional furniture offerings such as tables and chairs.
Of the furniture on display, one standout included a whimsical design from Judson Beaumont called "Little Black Dresser." Wendell Castle showcased a new collaboration with Emma Gardner that put her graphic designs on Castle's casegoods. Tables by the San Francisco firm Council Inc. garnered the Editor's Award for furniture at the show.
DuPont unveils design center
Another exciting development at the show that went beyond furniture was DuPont's announcement of a new Corian Design Center in New York City. Built to showcase the many uses of Corian solid surface material, the center is intended to be a resource for architects and designers.
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