ICFF 2016 Highlights: Birds, Palm Leaves, and an Illuminated Moose
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The design cognoscenti descended on New York City last week for the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and the related events that comprise NYCxDesign; and, needless to say, we weren’t remotely about to miss the fun. Modern furniture, contemporary lighting, innovative wall coverings, and inventive rugs helped round out the vast selection of brands and designer offerings on display, most seen for the first time in North America. We took a first-hand look at the latest releases from venerable companies and debuting designers alike, and amassed our list of 2016 New York design week favorites—along with a thought or two about the most notable design trend of the event: tropical flora and fauna
Birds were a recurring theme at ICFF, most notably in the many examples of tropical motifs on display, be it palm frond or parrot. At the Moooi Manhattan showroom, we saw the Perch Light collection the company presented at Salone del Mobile in Milan earlier this year. Designed by London-based Umut Yamac, the collection of six lamps, which includes pendant, floor, table and wall lights, features an origami-like paper bird and branch-like metal rods, each composition meant to evoke long-tailed birds, sitting on tree branches.
One of the more original pendant lights we saw came from Matter-Made, the Soho-based design studio, whose Discus Vine collection features a range of illuminated discs that branch out from a vertical metal element. A modular design, available in a range of sizes, the lamps are fitted with dimmable LEDs, which emit exquisite nuanced light from both sides of the adjustable discs.
Hygge & West’s Nana wallpaper was amongst the many leafy designs on display this year, particular in the contemporary wallpapers category. The company’s striking Nana motif, which is available in a suite of unusually beautiful colorways, large screen-printed leaves overlap and cascade downward to form a dense, yet delicate, screen of tropical foliage.
Two collections by Spanish artist Arturo Alvarez made inspired debuts at ICFF, each featuring a suite of pendant lights. Tempo introduces two pendant lamps made with painted stainless steel metal mesh. Both Tempo Andante and Tempo Vivace showcase the novel material,fashioned into fine pleats, and forming overlapping layers. The Ballet pendant lamp collection features the designer’s proprietary SIMETECH® fabric, which has been applied to three different modern pendants of ethereal asymmetrical volumes that appear different from every angle.
The UK designer wallpapers company Witch & Watchman exhibited several fantastically illustrated foliage-laden motifs, Amazonia Light amongst them. Witch & Watchman founder Helen Z B Wilson, whose training is in fine art, personally hand renders each formidably detailed design in oil on canvas. The compositions are then digitally printed onto paper and fabric, injecting various tableaux of hyper-realistic animals, birds and flora into the domestic environment.
The place to rest weary bodies at ICFF was at Bernhardt Design’s booth, where the Mellow Sofa by French designer Océane Delain took center stage. A customizable sofa that features a sumptuous form and a solid-maple platform, Mellow’s layers of foam are encased in a synthetic medical fabric which Delain discovered during the prototype phase. A grid of wooden buttons attached to a system of nylon cords and 21 self-locking cleats allow the user to tweak the sofa’s shape and adjust or improve its comfort.
We were particularly delighted to meet Øivind Slaatto, the Danish designer of the deceptively simple Patera Pendant Light, introduced by Louis Poulsen earlier this year. Slaatto demonstrated the complex inner construction of Patera—an intricate pattern based on the Fibonacci Sequence. A large lamp—approximately two feet in diameter—the Patera pendant has a simple spherical form comprised of meticulously positioned inner ‘cells’ that ensure that the light hits the surface material at an optimal series of angles, dispersing light evenly, while keeping glare firmly at bay.
Tom Dixon Studio exhibited its Art Deco-inspired Curve collection of pendants and wall lights, a characteristically dazzling suite of lamps fabricated from sheets of etched metal. The Curve pendant’s circular perforated surface and silver nickel coating is an inspired combination, yielding ethereal illumination that’s both nuanced and glamorous. The Curve wall light has been designed to complement the pendant or to make a compelling statement all its own.
Birds and blossoms made yet another appearance in Tempaper’s Chinoiserie collection of temporary wallpapers—a shimmering suite of highly decorative modern wall coverings that merge state-of-the-art technology with Eastern garden iconography. Seven matte and metallic colorways and a repeat layout of 12 feet wide and 10 feet high ensure a dazzling mural-like installation in any interior setting.
London-based Case Furniture displayed its reissue of a chair designed in 1952 by the great British furniture master, Robin Day. In collaboration with the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, Case slightly revised the original dimensions of the 675 Chair, creating a smaller, more compact iteration. The chair’s curved walnut veneer back is a striking feature, offset by a soft leather seat and slender legs in either chrome or black finish.
Northern Lighting, a Norwegian brand, had an unmitigated attention-getter on its hand with Moo, a life-sized illuminated moose head, antlers and all, comprised of a poly-resin material that makes possible a glowing swathe of lighting. Designed for both indoors and out, Moo pays homage to the moose that traverse northern Norway’s terrain, where the brand’s designers Trond Svendgard and Ove Rogne own summer houses. We were duly beguiled—and very happy that a real moose didn’t have to pay the price!
Also answering the call of the tropics was GUBI, the Danish furniture company that displayed a brightly upholstered version of its Beetle Lounge Chair by GamFratesi. The Beetle’s Mid-Century inspired profile, created by GramFratesi in 2013, was remade into something approximating Miami kitsch, its refined shape swathed in a vivid turquoise fabric print, featuring hibiscus flowers, palm fronds, and pink flamingos.
Images credits: Ulla Vinkman, Promila Shastri