NYC's ICFF — Craftsmen with Flair


Hail, to the return of the Craftsman!  This year's ICFF in New York city did not disappoint with its variety and flash, but most impressive were the many bespoke pieces, made with intention and great care.

We've seen a resurgence in handmade goods often employing techniques from a bygone era. In some cases, designers are working directly with communities that still teach these coveted techniques, handed down from generation to generation.  In other cases, they're applying those building standards themselves.

The east coast has a number of small design houses leading the charge.  I met with quite a few, notably: Richard Watson and Common House.  Other favorites included, Jamie Harris, TokenNYC and Studio Dunn. Especially impressive was Sami Hayek!  His breathtakingly beautiful furniture blended authentic Mexican beadwork with coveted craftsmanship.  By working with specific villages in Mexico and importing the furniture from there, he's reviving a community and paying homage to a traditional artform.  The results are truly spectacular.

                          Sami Hayek Designs


There were a number of smaller firms premiering their designs.  We particularly loved the colorful handcrafted paper flower lights featured above by Tomomi Sayuda.  Additional favorites came with Molo Design's display that was quite remarkable.  They allowed you to manipulate the lights, and room dividers, showcasing the flexibility of their forms.  Made from the same material as FedEx packaging, these elements are as beautiful as they are durable. I also loved Mary Wallis' punctuated pieces. The lighting, made to order, can incorporate any color of glass, making each piece truly unique and a designer's dream.  A new-comer to ICFF, Gabriel Scott's lights were masculine and notable. I love his use of chain and bonze and steel.  For a great article with Gabriel, read what he had to say when he talked with Apartment Therapy.

                         Gabriel ScottMolo Designs, Mary Wallis Lighting


I have long admired GrayPants, and their clever (re)use of the ubiquitous cardboard box.  The patters their lights make add texture to any room.  Pablo's newest lighting continues to delight with its high-chroma colors and whimsical arrangements.

                         Grey PantsSiemona & Salaza, and Pablo Lighting Fixtures


The refractory patterning from Siemon & Salazar's handblown crystal pendants is truly enchanting.  I can't wait to use them in an ascending stairwell.  Marc Trotereau's light sculptures, made from configurable materials, echo the pervasive theme of simplicity and elegance.

                         Iacoli McallisterTokenNYCSiemon & Salaza, and Marc Trotereau Designs 


This year's ICFF design darling, Lindsay Adelman, showcased her light sculptures, housewares and craftsmanship.  Her work and working style were on full display.  She even brought part of her team to show how each light sculpture was constructed.  For a wonderful interview with Lindsay, read HOUZZ's article here.

                        Lindsay Adelman Lighting


I had a wonderful meeting with Nick, from Raw Studio. I simply loved his swing chairs. Constructed from durable Richlite and nylon, they're light, easily transported and durable.  Hurray for ecological, cost-effective and beautiful furniture!

                         Raw Studio Chairs with Paige Loczi in Yogi Pose


Most surprising, was KMKG's answer to the audiophile with style.  Their technique hollowed out trees to create an auditory resonance required to transmit sound.  The results are both whimsical and practical.  I love good design!

                         KMKG iTree Speakers


For beauty and precision, you can't go wrong with Tod Von Merten's exquisitely crafted pieces.  His combination of wood, bronze and steel is masterful and timeless.  Too, I heard that he's great to work with.

                          Tod Von Mertens Furniture


Both Common House and Richard Watson offer an alternative to the widely available Room and Board.  Their made-to-order pieces employ Amish craftsmen, and FSC certified woods.  Who says custom has to cost more?

                          Common House, and Richard Watson Furniture


If your style is more opulent, look no further than the designers from Portugal.  Two firms represented the country's penchant for the dramatic with their highly detailed pieces. Koket's bureau below boasts of peacock feather aplique and gold-leaf ribbon handles while the multi-colored triangle dresser from Boco do Lobo is a real show-stopper!  Juxtaposed, I loved the more practical designs found from Objecti and RoomB.  Objecti's table is made from recycled plastic and RoomB's stylish chair is an alternative to C & B's folio.  -It's around the same price point, but these have even more flair!   Lastly, I loved the new ergonomic fluid ribbon chair making its debut at this year's fair.  Made from either bambo or stainless steel, this chair's sure to be a conversation starter.  And, I wouldn't be surprised if they wound up in all the high-tech firms in Silicon Valley.

                         Koket, Objecti, Boca do Lobo, The Fluid Ribbon Chair and Room B


For accessories, there were so many artisans to choose from. Below are a few favorites:  Solisombra's weatherproof planters are easily constructed and have even more impact when lit.  For true artisanship, Charlene Mullen's embroidery is remarkable.  I marveled at the level of true mastery found in her detailed forms.  The simplicity of Diamantini & Domeniconi's pottery showed that beautiful things don't necessarily have to cost more.  Their sculptural vases were under $200, remarkably.

                   SolisombraCharlene Mullen Embroidery, Diamantini & Domeniconi, and   Lladro Figurines


Not to be outdone by their European neighbors, the Brits were in true form!  House of Hackney's been a standard favorite for a while now- with its pattern-on-pattern printing on wall paper and fabric.  Who else would think to anthropomorphize raccoons and otters than the Brits?

                         House of Hackney and Avignon Wallpaper


Of course there were quite a few wall paper designers on display.  Above and below are a few standouts.  DoubleR's intricate handmade papers have a kind of Finnish feel to them. Her inspiration comes from Chinese landscape and other natural settings, but end up looking quite modern.  I especially love the textiles and paper from Eskayel.  Her work is atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful in person.

                         Eskayel, and Double R Studio Wallpaper and Loboloup


And last, but certainly not least, we have Trove.  Many of you have known of my long-time love affair with Randall's beautiful papers.  They transform a room!  Below is a collage of some of his inspiring patterns.

                         Trove Wallpaper


As you can see this year's fair was indeed a sight to behold.  I hope that you've enjoyed my collection of finds, and are aptly inspired by the craftsmanship and artistry displayed.  Here's to creating beauty and here's to honoring those that make beautiful objects.