Friday, April 6, 2018


It was the day after the fourth nor'easter in New York. The street snow was already melting making getting around a slushy mess. It was also the first day of the Architectural Digest Show out on Pier 94, a walkers trek to the far west side under the best of conditions. I'd expected a light attendance, the weather scaring away most of the perspective attendees, but the event was still bustling with activity.
The venue is physically divided into a "T" formation with the long stem of the "T" directly in front of the entry and the two smaller arms branching off to the right and left.
Once I had picked up my badge I headed to the right where most of the bigger name furnishing vendors were located. It's always good to see old friends and I count the New Traditionalists on that list. It bewilders me why more of the showrooms from the D&D and 200 Lex don't avail themselves of this event and produce booths showing off their product lines since the main thrust of the show is to introduce the design trade and consumers to new products.
One of the few major players that did make an appearance at the show with a big splash of color was Benjamin Moore. Granted they are a paint company but they put color out there in a way that made you take notice.
Benjamin went big, beautiful and hot introducing their new colors for the year. They made their new color, caliente, sizzle on the walls of their chic booth.
The lengthy trunk of the "T" forming the aisles at the AD show is mainly consumed by appliances both interior and exterior. A new entry for me was Hestan with it's non-traditional grilling equipment.
Bauformat, a Germany entry in the kitchen cabinetry category, had drawers within drawers and storage with shelves that moved and lit up when touched. There were more bells and whistles here than wigs in Dolly Parton's closet.
All the major appliance players were there: Subzero, Wolff, Viking, Samsung, the list goes on. Most showing a line of conventional category entries but as in prior years Smeg had something different to show and it was a lot of fun.
And if all this new technology made your head dizzy and mouth salivate then there were plenty of chefs preparing food from their newest gadgets for you to taste and savor
Included in this section of the venue was Flowerbox, a company that offered wall gardening, appropriately placed in this section suggesting that you could also grow your dinner salad right there in your kitchen on the wall behind your prepping island
The last branch of the "T" held your independent vendors and artisans. Here's where you find the furniture makers that exhibit smaller lines of, for the most part, innovative ideas in the art of furniture
Poritz & Studio showed their Tambour bar, a cabinet on legs with horizontal rolling doors and pull out drawers.
The Detroit collaboration of Aratani + Fay showed a real twist on comfort with Evan Fay's Lawless sofa. A metal frame harnesses a spaghetti plate of stuffed noodles and I mean that in the most delicious way. I can't say how comfortable this might be. I was too afraid of getting my clothes stained in primavera but the look was great.
Making a lotta noise at the show were these speakers and audio system by A for Ara. Made in Brooklyn these gramophone speakers were definitely crowd pleasers. They were oversized, loud, gorgeous and totally unusable in a normal residential setting. This said if you go to their website there's the indication of the custom work they can produce on a more individual rather than crowd pleasing scale.
The show is getting a little boring in that it's the same vendors year after year with very little new blood flowing in. I'm sure the cost of developing a booth is extremely high and this is going to drive away much of the next wave of designers and entrepreneurs. Maybe AD and the show organizers should think about some sort of juried grant to bring in some of that new blood like Mark H. Luedeman, Inc. Come on guys. If you want to be relevant and continue to entice us you've got to show us more ideas we haven't seen before

Sadie, a Cotton Mill Spinner, Lancaster, South Carolina, 1908
Lewis Hine, photographer
Represented by Howard Greenberg Gallery, NYC

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