Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ICFF 2011

Herman Miller Retail's Eames Aluminum Group cinched an Editor's Award in the outdoor furniture category with these beauties. I'm coveting the chaise.
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is open to the general public today. With more than 500 booths showcasing contemporary wares made by designers and architects hailing from more than 30 countries, there's a lot to see. So, if you have a spare couple of hours, get there. You won't be sorry.

I had the pleasure of running amok here in NYC at the Javits Center yesterday. As always, I was wowed by all the ingenuity and inventiveness surrounding me--and I really found it hard to leave the building.

In addition to the stellar furniture concepts, this year's lighting designs were spacey and otherworldly (lots of feathers, too), and floor coverings really made their mark.

Here are a few of my favorite highlights. 
Areaware's neon Harry Allen-land. 
Though his pigs, banana bowls, and 
dump trucks are hardly new, 
they're always fun to see.

JOBY announced its latest collaboration 
with Peter Stathis, and unveiled its Trapeze 
LED table light, a soft-touch, 360-degree 
pivoting whiz.
I spotted this ethereal washi-paper 
DCS Corp lamp in the Japanese-
design aisle. I'm in love.

Mineheart's cheeky lamp 
is a fun twist on a staid concept.
Here and above, Mineheart is a splicing together of the unexpected. 
A cheerful (and thankfully not "steampunk") Dr. Frankensteinian approach to form. 
 Artek's striking mid-century inspired pieces won editor's pick for best furniture. 
It's certainly clear the revered Finnish company remains true to 
Alvar Aalto's timeless aesthetic.
Can someone help me ID this gorgeous chair? It looks 
like an Eames Tulip draped with a life-sized cabbage leaf. 
I think it was in the USA area. I was too spellbound to attribute it(!)
Cool Brit Tom Dixon set up a spectacular light show (debuting his Bulb and Etch lighting lines) that won him an editor's award for best booth. He certainly took Extremism to new levels. We really didn't expect less.
Another example of Dixon's space-age appeal.
Surrealist plants, animals, and insects abound in Scotland's Timorous Beasties
line of digitally-printed fabrics.
Constructed with a Nottingham lace loom, the delicate Indochine Collection features bamboo forests, cherry blossoms, and bonsai trees.
This. Is. Just. Magnificent.
Onlookers admire German contemporary rug designer Jan Kath's creations -- each wool piece was hand-knotted in Nepal. These, and the modern furniture in the foreground, were showcased by NYC architects/designers Khouri Guzman Bunce, Ltd.
Lladró Atelier (a new branch of the Spanish company run by artist Jaime Hayón) unveiled its Metropolis line. Boxes, mirrors, and vases and the like were stunning, utilitarian, and decidedly modern. Definitely not your mother's cloying figurines.
I also liked Christiane Büssgen's Adolf Loos goes Hula Hoop installation in Austria's Woka booth. It was sexy and fun, especially since the company mainly reproduces lighting designs from the early 20th century.
I especially loved the rich textures. I'm also thinking last year's gray-and-yellow color trends must have legs.
Since the early 70's Orley & Shabahang have been selling antique Persian carpets. In 2001, they began to make contemporary-revival pieces that are out-of-this world amazing. 
Their abstract tribal-looking works of art had me stopped dead in my tracks for awhile.
Sizzling red lacquer and slick white-stripe detailing made a loud large-scale floral look impossibly hip.
NYC's Aqua Creations had several of its silk-on-metal Rotini pieces lighting the ceiling.
The company's ethereal limited-edition Apaya line (created by Ayala Serfaty and Irit Dulman) looks like a series of undulating jellyfish. Who knew mohair, silk, and wool could be so breathtakingly beautiful?

Spain's Nanimarquina had me yearning to sit down and relax after a long day of perusing. Its rugs looked more like delicate hand-painted tapestries than things meant to be tread on.

What was your take on this year's ICFF? 

Did you see something I missed? Let me know! 

Drop me a line. I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Design on a Dime 2011

Co-Chair, Nate Berkus, getting the crowd going. It was all elbows from here on in.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Housing Works' 7th-annual Design on a Dime fundraiser. For those of you who don't already know, it's an unbelievably cool 3-day shopping experience in which some of the best interior designers in the country develop room vignettes -- from new, donated, and thrifted merch -- and then sell everything to benefit those living with HIV/AIDS. It's always loads of fun, and the talent and inspiration never ceases to amaze.
Everyone hanging out in the chic photo gallery/lounge.

I did trendspotting at last year's event for ShelterPop. And this year, two things stood out. Animals (paintings, photos, needlepoint(!), sculpture) and bright color (near-fluorescent walls, floors, bedding, you name it).

Fortunately, I love both.

The Regal Beagle: Form Architecture + Interiors
had me staring forever at this massive portrait.

This year, I was loving more out-of-the-ordinary elements, too -- the wacky things that worked.

Founding chair, James Huniford, always delightfully heavy on the industrial
elements, this time incorporated an atypical surrealist scene. 

Larry Ruhl designed his High Falls Mercantile station, which was gorgeous. 
Decoupaged walls (covered in pages from an old encyclopedia) put you back in time, 
and made the Mercantile's rough-hewn wood elements and botanicals look right at home.
Pothead meets acid trip. This is just wild.
And I couldn't get enough of Arlene Angard's chartreuse booth.

Miles Redd's Pop art-y experience was extraordinary. His use of color is always near-flawless and his balance is never off. Habitually Chic has nice shot of the right wall, which is dotted with black flower-filled vases.
SpongeBob SquarePants?! Nickelodeon made his theme legit--and lovely! 

Asler Valero's wet bar was astounding. The organic paper light treatments were larger than life -- and looked exactly like albino tortoise shells. They just worked.

Monkeying around at Jack Bergamino for Paul Smith, and ogling the always drool-worthy signature stripes.

Somehow I almost missed Daniel M. Pafford's inventive tribute-to-Liz booth.
 The vino was flowing. Well, perhaps the best for last. One humble Q, though: No aubergine walls?

I'm going to cheat a little here and give you some stuff that isn't home design, but as I said, color really knocked my socks off this year. And it was certainly everywhere, in spades. A.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursdays with Etsy: Jenny Topolski

For my first installment of Design Bite's Thursdays with Etsy, I'm introducing artist Jenny Topolski. I first came across her work a couple weekends back, as I wandered through the 50+ local Esty members' stalls that made up the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade, a (now) annual craft fair held downtown, in Nolita.

Topolski's Cephalopod Sconce was one of the few designs on offer that was truly unique. Although it looked totally sculptural at first, it's one of those objects that's (thankfully!) been quality-tested and inspected.

It hangs quite perfectly and holds a regular-sized taper--there's no need to shave it down to cram it in. This piece of gorgeousness is expertly fired, sculpted, and glazed by hand, and in addition to being like nothing like I've ever seen, its marine-chicness (and $78 price tag) is very now.
In Thursdays with Etsy, I'll be showcasing unique work like Topolski's, and selecting my favorite picks. Think of it as Design Bite's distilled version of Etsy's standouts. A.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fabulous Reuses: Silica Gel Packets

I'm back! And I'm sure you'll be excited to know, I cleaned out my horrendous closet. I must’ve thrown away 20 shoeboxes. As I recycled each one, I collected double the number of silica gel packets.

They’re the little papery sachets that are tucked into the packaging of a new handbag or pair heels. Their mission? To suck up damaging moisture. It always seemed strange to toss them (are they even safe for a landfill?), so I researched their reuses.

Turns out, insects such as silverfish and firebrats love to hide out in books, snacking on broken-down bindings and collected dust between pages. 

So now, I chuck all extra desiccants onto my bookshelf, behind the books
The gel rests in unseen gaps and it keeps my books insect- and mold-free. I also flung several into the drawer where I keep my winter woolens and furs (right), as humidity's a killer for most garments--manmade and otherwise. 

And since I'm on the subject of pest control, I also use Moth Away, an unbelievable all-natural herbal repellant that keeps clothes fresh (and free of those heartbreaking holes) -- so I'm not walking around smelling like the Crypt Keeper. A.