Saturday, May 26, 2012


When we were in San Francisco several years ago visiting our friends, Adam and JoHannah, Adam happened to play a lot of The Bombay Orchestra Dub. I don't exactly know what Dub means but I fell in love with the ethnic moodiness of the music. I forgot it about for a long time, but once the trailers for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel started running the music of the Bombay Orchestra started playing in my mind again. Rick had put the exotic music on his Droid via Pandora. Speaking about Droids and Pandora always makes me feel like I'm talking in some alien tongue. I don't own a Droid and I always thought Pandora was some character from Greek mythology. I'm too technologically insufficient to by considering buying one of those handheld gizmo so I'm not going to be downloading music or god forbid videos anytime soon. So about a week ago I decided it was time to go out and buy the CD before I drove myself crazy with sitars playing havoc with my psyche. The Madison of my college days had been a hot bed of music stores. It was that Woodstock era where everyone owned a phonograph and the songs of Janis Joplin and Patti Smith blared from the smeared smoky windows of college rooming houses. In my head these record stores still lined State Street, but when I returned to the storefronts that housed those historic psychedelic LP record jackets of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones I discovered they had turned into Chipotle Mexican restaurants and GAP stores. They just didn't exist anymore. I got back in the car and headed for the malls where the likes of Best Buy and Barnes & Nobles held what I hoped would be the CDs I'd been desperate to own. In my head these big box stores were all loaded with aisles of CDs with sections like Latin music, Techno and Easy Listening. Not so. The music sections of these big box stores had shriveled to the size of Jack Black's penis in the dead of winter. I decided to wait until I got to New York and I'd buy the Bombay Orchestra's CD there. New York has everything or so I thought. The story was the same as I walked through the Village both East and West. Tower Records and The Virgin Megastore had turned into American Apparel stores and electronic outlets selling the latest version of virtual books. I was still thinking ten years too late.
It made me realize I just can't do itunes and I'll tell you why. It's out of concern for my daughter and all the other daughters and sons of our generation.  I fear for the future of the cultural heritage of the current youth. They are going to be a generation without a physical trail of memories. Fifty years from now when you go to the Flea Market you aren't going to find orange crates stuffed with the LP jackets or CD jewelcases of the early twenty-first century. There won't be anything tangible to buy, only a bunch of old ipods that you can't operate anymore. The shoeboxes now filled with creased black and white photographs of our parents weddings and pictures of children running through sprinklers on suburban front yards will be filled with dust and air, empty boxes full of forgotten memories. The ephemera of this generation won't exist. When Kodak stopped making film I saw the writing on the wall. I was never so thankful that Emmy was born before the demise of real film. Every photo I've taken of her still exists staring back at me on a real piece of paper. The music I listened to can still be found tucked away in the back of closet. I may not play it but the technology is still out there. The music my daughter buys with her itunes gift cards only exists as long as she can find it on her current MP3 player. When that form of technology is replaced by a new form, that music won't exist anymore, at least not in any form she can hold in her hand or look for in the back of her closet. I continue to resist the pleas of friends to get with it and download a piece of music or a new book. I'm sticking to the old ways and hopefully the music we relaxed to, the books that expanded our horizons and the pictures of my little girl growing up will be there for her when she sorts through the artifacts that were our lives.

ICFF has known its up and downs, kinda like the economy. On a national basis there seems to be some inching upward. There've been little indicators that things are improving if only slightly. The ICFF show seems on a similar path or maybe a little better one. In previous years there had been a tendency for the show to be a little scattered. There were too many vendors showing accessories having nothing to do with furniture or innovation. This year seemed tighter and better suited to what I thought was its original intent - highlighting new artists whose media happens to be furniture and design.
What we saw was more focused and brought to a higher standard. This year's show was more in keeping with the shows we saw nearer its inception when there was more originality and less repetition. We saw two trends that stood out in this year's show: color and deep rich woods.
One of our very favorites was the DLV Collection out of Brooklyn. This chest was amazing with its hand-forged brass hardware, walnut case and leather fronted drawers. Every detail was addressed with consummate craftsmanship.
All of their pieces are bench made to your specifications but you really need to look at their amazing sense of proportion. If you start to count the individual pieces in this towel bar you're going to run out of fingers and toes in trying to tabulate them all.
Sandback used a baked red oak as its base and then created an intricate nail pattern to make their casegoods draw a crowd at the show.
The rich red wood was polished to a shiny shimmer making the patterned nails float on the watery wooden bed.
Tod Von Mertens five door credenza made from a single board of oxidized maple was another highlight of the event. The metal "x" base with its slender legs was the perfect base for the low long simple box it raised off the floor.
Many designers chose to go with a matt waxed finish but the boys at Hellman-Chang showed their Avery chair with a rich high-gloss finish they call espresso walnut. This chair has the curves of a 20's fashion model. The elegant women who walked the catwalk with their pelvises thrust forward and their shoulders pulled back beyond what one would assume to be the tipping point of a normal human being. Their design aesthetic has always been a benchmark for other furniture designers.
We may have some surprises in the way of painted furniture coming down the pike and if so I think we're right on trend. There seemed to be a happier face on the show this year with pops of color appearing down every aisle. Jamie Harris had these amazing blown glass wall installations bringing whimsy in these ladybug-like amebic forms that seemed to crawl along the wall of her booth.
Kids furniture is always a place where color can demand to be taken seriously. Iglooplay by Lisa Albin has infused all of her work with bright colors, color that stimulates and puts a smile on a kids face. Adults can benefit from this too and who doesn't need a smile.
These richly upholstered sofas and chairs may have only been done as display pieces by Golran but the beauty of their jewel tones and the plush texture of the material make them a real candidate for an actual line of furniture. The Golran carpet company began in 1898 in Mashad, a small Persian city, by Hajizedeh Gorlan. The company continues to be family run making some of the most exquisite hand knotted rugs available. It was their Curiosities Collection that caught our eye. Each carpet with its deep hues is non-reproducible. Each carpet is a one-of-a-kind with a worn in look giving it instant history.
There seems to be an abundance of pure white designs out there being promoted in the press and on all of those high-end real estate shows being run on the shelter networks. This piece would be the perfect addition to one of those spaces bringing some life and drama to an all white room that I couldn't possibly keep clean. It's nice to see some alternative materials being used that expand what we think a cocktail table should or could be.
I understand that Fern Mallis, the guiding force behind New York's fashion week, has been brought in to develop the same kind of event for the architectural and interior design community. ICFF has already stretched into the borough of Brooklyn and cobblestone streets of Soho with additional events and venues highlighting these design fields. It is the intent of the city to create "Design Week" next year an event to rival what happens in London, Paris and Milan for their design industries. I can't wait to see what happens in the big apple.

Sigmund Freud's Couch, 2009
Annie Leibovitz, photographer
Represented by Hamitons Gallery


  1. Ah yes, the record stores of State Street: Lake St. Station, Rose Records and on and on. There's still B-Side and Strictly Discs (on Monroe St.) and they'll order stuff for you and they know music unlike staff at big box stores.

  2. Thank-you for your kind post and for stopping by the booth.

  3. Nice post:) Music heals everything and very nice photographs and article:)