Thursday, May 21, 2015

ICFF 2015

While trying to re-launch our Shaver/Melahn Classics line and then introduce two new benchmade lines along with an e-commerce cottage based line the relevance of ICFF and the importance of taking a look at the market are an annual essential pilgrimage. We put on our track shoes and set off to scope out the miles of aisles of new releases from the major players, the international crowd and the smattering of young and talented hopefuls.
This is no surprise to anyone who has followed us for the last several years of our ICFF tours: Dan Levy and his tabletop and accessories. Dan is a friend but we won't let that color our gushing review of his work. This is the high, and I mean high, end of the tabletop market. If you don't own your own Lear Jet or if your yacht is less than one hundred feet Dan's work is probably not going to fit into your dining room budget. It's definitely not for the Melmac crowd. It's an unfortunate fact but that doesn't stop gawkers and coveters from standing in awe of his booth and his work. It's quality porcelain trimmed in platinum and gold.
His newest entry is in the tile market. Dan is developing a line of tile that just blew us away. I'd be willing to trade  a complete Sub-Zero/Wolf set of kitchen appliances for one line of trim in my powder room.
A real highlight this year centered around wall coverings. There were wallpapers, wall tiles, and new uses for concrete and wood that I couldn't help but drool over. One of our favorite wallpaper vendors was MissPrint. Their bold patterns and rich color treatments were a real breath of fresh air. They offered a wide range of styles but their mid-century inspired designs were whimsical and sophisticated at the same time.
I've referenced Sophie Mallebranche's work before and yet each year there is something so fascinating about the metal work she brings to the show I can't help but reference it again.
Her shimmering mesh is soft enough to be used as drapery that both reflects and defuses light and explodes like sparks from a star filled sky when hit by artificial light. It can also be used as an applied surface or as stationary screens that can turn walls into lightboxes when lit from behind.
B+N has paired up with the artist, Rex Ray, to create these extraordinary infused veneer wall panels. The patterns and color palettes are amazing. They might be a hard sell for residential applications but boy would I love to find a client who was willing to take a chance on a space with these walls. I think you can work with them for custom work. I've no idea of the cost. Oouch!
Concrete both real and faux was another wall treatment that stood out in our marathon tour of ICFF. Several vendors were offering lightweight panels molded out of concrete. The versatility of the material makes three dimensionally formed patterns a possibility that hadn't been explored so thoroughly before. There were so many attendees that were in disbelief about the material, the vendor felt compelled to add a sign of authenticity.
The same could be said of wood paneling that was shown rippled, waved and woven into astounding geometrics
Then on the faux side composites were made to duplicate concrete useable either in interiors or on exteriors. Interlam has just begun manufacturing these panels that can be shipped in ten-foot lengths and at approximately six dollars a square foot...that ain't bad.
I also fell in love with these ceramic panels made to look like rusted steel. The company is called Apavisa and is sold at High Style Stone and Tile in New York City. It can go up on either your wall or down on your floor. If you want an industrial look this tile is a great place to start.
I'm not a big fan of garden walls. As maintenance free as most vendors claim it seems every installation I've seen has gone the way of deadly brown after the first six months. That said, these green walls were pretty impressive.
Another strength of the show was lighting. This wire mesh lighting fixture by Nuvo Lighting was one of my favorites. The new entries Nuvo brought to this year's show were elegant and period inspired but not derivative or copies of other people's designs.
I also found these wall sconces and pendants produced by Archilume to be an interesting take on dimmable LED lighting.
The light effect could be purchased with either a diffused or concentric throw. The simple profile was very minimal and sophisticated.
My name would be mud if I didn't mention lighting designers Paul Priven and Marcia Zia of Zia-Priven and their entry back into ICFF. We have always been impressed with their innovative approach to what lighting can be. You shouldn't make purchases based on personality but two kinder people don't exist.
The missing element at this year's show was the lack of independent bespoke furniture manufactures. The big guys and the foreign manufacturers were all there but what had been the major draw of the show, the little guys with wild ideas, wasn't there. There were a few that I saw that made the show special for me and reminded me of what the show used to be. One was mainstay, Tod Von Mertens. His work always goes a step beyond beautiful.
There were a lot of vendors showing raw edge pieces, a technique that has by now made it to the big box retailers. Tod has put a twist on this feature by using new wood species like this bleached ambrosia maple dining table.
One more small designer with an intriguing idea was FringeStudio out of California with manufacturing in Wisconsin (where else?). They've introduced a line called MIXI, a modular system that includes storage, shelving and audio components that can be configured in more ways than Lindsey Lohan has mug shots. I loved the speaker components. It was an easy way to get music into a room without having to tap into walls for hidden wires and messy components.
These people may have been around for longer than I was aware of but I thought they had come up with a great idea: custom doors for IKEA cabinets. Buy your boxes from IKEA then have Semihandmade upgrade your doors and your look. If you're looking to do things on the down low - here you go.

Suite 506, NYC, 2005
Julie Mack, photographer
Represented by Laurence Miller Gallery

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