Making the New York furniture fair rounds earlier this month, Andrew Sardone reports on the trends and collections poised to enrich your living space
"Our job is to mediate creativity to match it with our customer's dreams. This role is essential." That's how Alberto Alessi, president of the eponymous housewares company, qualified the part his brand plays in the creator/manufacturer paradigm during a talk at the Wanted Design show in New York City earlier this month. Wanted is one of the larger happenings that draws designers, decorators and contemporary furniture makers to the Big Apple every May, and Alessi's mandate also describes the ever-important role the over-arching festival NYCxDESIGN plays in connecting and inspiring that community.
Anchored by the expansive International Contemporary Furniture Fair, NYCxDESIGN is increasingly a city-wide affair.
To complement ICFF, Wanted and the indie exhibition Sight Unseen Offsite, showrooms across Manhattan and Brooklyn host launches by industry heavyweights (David Weeks, Yabu Pushelberg and Flos all drew big crowds this year) and emerging studios (kudos to Colony on Canal Street for gathering the best new names in one spot). Not surprisingly, visitors head home with a long list of coveted pieces (try to resist the retro flavour of AMLgMATD's stools) and wanderlust for design's next hot destination (Poland, obviously).
It seems like no matter where designer David Weeks settles in New York – his Tribeca showroom, his Dumbo studio, his Bedford-Stuyvesant factory – the number eight appears in its address. So his eighth collection – not surprisingly, titled OTTO – holds an almost mystical significance. Made up of a series of balanced pendant fixtures, the grouping mixes cool LED light with the coziness of brass.
David Weeks OTTO pendant, price on request at Hollace Cluny (www.hollacecluny.ca).
TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Florida-based Laz Ojalde and Natalie Zlamalova weave colourfully striped vintage webbing around an aluminum frame to create their made-in-Miami WEBSTR stools, which stood out as one of the more unique outdoor design offerings at ICFF. "Imagine grandma's old lawn chair transformed for today's contemporary lifestyle," says the duo, who created the pieces in editions of four.
AMLgMATD WEBSTR stool, $165 (U.S.) through www.designsublime.dk.
For their 2016 editions, ICFF shone a spotlight on the design output of The Philippines and Brazil, while Wanted focused on Mexico and The Netherlands. But it was Poland that stood out as the most unexpected international discovery at the latter's Pole Position exhibition, especially designer Dorota Koziara's collaboration with the stone pottery factory Manufaktura SP.J Smolenski & Zwierz.
Renesans plates by Dorota Koziara. For more information, visit www.culture.pl.
There's no end to the millennial fascination with cultivating plants in sight, and there seemed to be an example of a stylish planter or pot in almost every booth at the exhibition Sight Unseen Offsite. The sculptural, hanging Line Planter is a collaboration between Washington, D.C.'s Trey Jones Studio and artist Christopher Derek Bruno, rendered in steel and terracotta.
Trey Jones Studio The Line planter, $425 (U.S.) through www.treyjonesstudio.com.
STEP AND REPEAT
The rise of rugs with irregular shapes can likely be traced to today's more open-plan style of living, and one of the biggest proponents of the trend is Barcelona's Nanimarquina. Bouroullec brothers Ronan and Erwan took four years to develop the new Lattice collection, woven from 100-per-cent hand-spun Afghan wool in either multi or neutral colour variations.
Nanimarquina Lattice rugs (available in four sizes), starting at $765 (U.S.) at Kiosk Design (www.kioskdesign.ca).
Sandwiched between the showrooms in SOHO and Tribeca, curator Jean Lin gathered the work of 18 independent American designers at her Canal Street co-op, Colony, for The Collections Two exhibition. Included in the mix were Seattle-based Codor Design's maximal mirrors that recreate the ornate three dimensionality of baroque and rococo frames with layer upon layer of found objects.
Codor Design Objet Trouvé Mirrors, price on request through www.goodcolony.com.
Luxury floral designer Sandra de Ovando opened her first shop in New York's West Village in 2003 and now operates four locations, including one in swish Southampton on Long Island. For its latest collection, Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper collaborates with Ovando on oversized wallpaper murals, customizing the arrangement (including its scale and floral composition) to order.
Flavor Paper X Ovando Elan Vital mural, $9 (U.S.)/square foot through www.flavorpaper.com.
As offices evolve into paperless environments, it may not be surprising that desk design is moving in a more minimal direction. Yabu Pushelberg's Darling Point model was just one of many examples of the console-as-workspace trend; Hermès also unveiled a leather version as part of an installation of its home objects created by director Robert Wilson.
Yabu Pushelberg Darling Point desk, $12,100 at Avenue Road (www.avenue-road.com).