The International Contemporary Furniture Fair hosted at the Javits center in New York City was another excellent vacation in how to get immersed into the world of design. Concentrated over one weekend, this year was a soulful journey to feel and see the new thoughts and curves of our world’s hipster designers. It’s always grounding to stroll lazily through the vast exhibits and booths of design trade shows – seemingly without a care in the world while yearning to be grabbed and pulled with raw emotion.
As a Lightopian I am attracted to my practice of lighting, and the focus of my report is indeed on lighting, while other crafts of design typically take a back seat to my vision there were a few pieces that made my mouth open in awe.
To start, there were some new designers to me, that I would like to point out first, and then move on to some perennial favorites that are on the list because they are in fact listworthy and the meat behind the reason for going. I’m happy to report that lighting is indeed a large exploration for young designers and one with more freedom, to me, than creating another chair in the world. Because of this, there was indeed a large canvas of lighting at ICFF and for those that did not have a light in their booth I believe they are steadfast at putting one together as I type. Thus, many new lights made with many new materials, none more than the artists of the Phillipines. Design Philippines was a delegation of 15 members headed by their Department of Trade including: Vito Selma, Tadeco Home, Kenneth Cobonpue and Schema to name a few that showcased the creativity and passion of Filipino designers. These were some of many companies that travelled from all over the world to splash onto North America’s premier platform for global design, ICFF.
Vito Selma brand is quite adamant on its focus on the natural. They have a love affair with shapes and textures that they see repeated in the earth, the sky, and sea. The medium they choose to work with is wood because of it’s ability to shape and mold into their vision of beauty. The Constella hanging lamps are clearly hand worked pieces of art designed and made in the Philippines that speak to the natural and organic nature of Filipino art and design. The honeycomb shadowplay feels like the natural home of bees with a seemingly bright soft glow that buzzes with life. These fixtures come complete or can be half cooked to show a carved out section of the sphere which adds a different balanced direction in his work that speaks to the uniqueness in all of us. The Constella’s were exactly what I came to see when I booked my flight to ICFF and will hopefully have them at Lightopia very soon! www.vitoselma.com
Naomi Paul’s textile and product design studio specializes in handcrafted, innovative objects and materials for interior spaces. Walking up to Naomi Paul’s work you slowly realize the strength and girth of her hand crocheted work. The thickness and richness of the color and neatly handworked fixtures feels like something made for royalty, which is seems par for the British designer. The strong curves and fine knitted cords result in a beautiful dichotomy between exacting technique and exquisitely soft material. The fixtures interiors don’t just drop off, they are fully defined and beefy structures that will stand the test of time. We love how the lights slowly makes its way through these neatly defined sculptures softly into the room. www.naomipaul.co.uk
LA designed and American made, Brendan Ravenhill signature work is void of excess ornamentation with a strong focus on physics, material, and craft. The Long Cord chandelier and Pivot chandelier execute their aesthetic with spun aluminum shades, and steel arms that resist tension between collar and socket. This symmetry between structural members is both pleasing and sublime. With the emergence of LED we can’t wait to see what these physics inspired designers will conjure up next. www.brendanravenhill.com
Tom Kirk joined Naomi Paul as part of the British brigade showcasing his light fixtures full of color. As an accomplished designer the Cintola pendants embrace LED technology into there design to create a ghost like lamp at the top of the fixture, while also available in halogen. The hand blown glass diffuser is held by an anodized aluminum body and a nice cord flex assembly. Cintola is available in 7 different soft colors that have a palette clearly defined by their deep and subtle tendencies to move you ever so lightly into a dreamlike state. Between the soft blown shape of glass and smooth colors these peaceful works of art can set the mood wherever they grace the home. Thank you for them Tom, they are spectacular! www.tomkirk.com
We first met Graypants in 2007 when we tried to get through the crowd of people similar to paparazzi around Brad Pitt. Their flagship line, Scraplights, had launched and was made entirely of repurposed corrugated cardboard. They embody everything Graypants is known for today: responsible design, responsible materials, responsible production, and having fun! The Kerf Lights and and Step Lights share their signature use of recycled cardboard using a different dimension to create shadow play and warm illumination. Fully made in Seattle, USA, Graypants is a young, vibrant, and at the leading edge of industrial product design with LED lights on the horizon, they are excited at integrating this technology into future work. www.graypants.com
Apparatus is a New York based design studio that carefully refines the look and feel of vintage lighting into museumesque quality contemporary lighting. The impressive detail of their lighting fixtures embodies what an art curator would put on display if they were selling and not showing their wares. The result of hand-worn fixtures and sculptural form is a warm glow that is at once timeworn and now modern. The Cloud chandelier sat in a room of wall to floor to ceiling black and white granite with deep veins. The gold accented chain cords hold beautifully hand frosted glass pendants for an ethereal experience that felt classic, heavenly and sophisticated to a point of nirvana. Apparatus then introduced me to their Kenyan bowl wall sconces that are indeed timeworn artifacts of history marbled with time and use to then be illuminated and celebrated. You can feel the hands and the strength of the people through these vessels they built and used for the durability of their lives. www.apparatusstudio.com
Another delegate from the Philippines that brought their handmade designs to the show. The Lambat collection is handmade from a type of reed distinctive to Filipino culture. The handmade look and feel is obvious and beautiful and comes in two different color choices of grey with silver or natural with silver. They also produce handmade furniture incuding stools with the Lambat name among other woven items. It is a very well priced collection that is assumed ships rather flat for easy arrival and care. www.tadecohome.com
Townsend design specializes in producing lighting, highly crafted millwork and custom speciatly fixtures since 1998. The Orbit chandelier has been a fun and steady design in black and white but this year Patrick has upgraded the Orbit to a beautiful bronze and brass feel to bring out the richness and structure of his signature piece. The different sized lightbulbs and carefully weaved frame are perfectly balanced to bring order to so many pieces and strings of material. The new brassy look and feel takes this piece from a playful room to the dining setting over a mid-century modern table with gold and brass highlights. The perfectly executed low-wattage lamps will bring a mood and a glow to a room that makes you feel cozy and home. www.townsenddesign.net
Souda is a design focused manufacturer of furniture, lighting, and home decor based in Brooklyn. Their Kawa pendant grabbed our attention because of it’s organic shape, soft glow, and amazing texture. The texture defines this slip-cast molded work of art that gets signature from a reusable leather mold. The crisp attention to detail is evident in the sharp edges and clean porcelain defined lines. With the look of an elephants outer layer these pieces are truly one of a kind that would fantastic over an island or grouped together over a dining table. www.soudasouda.com
Dunn is an American furniture and lighting design firm committed to the creation of well designed and meticulously crafted products, as their brochure reads. The Sorenthia light holds true to their mid-century aesthetic with a contemporary twist. It comes available in brass, oil rubbed, or nickel, and feels refined yet simple and light. The size and scope of the piece is grandiose only to be calmed down by it’s airy nature and soft lines. www.studiodunn.com
El Salvador in the house! Yes Ambiance design has travelled from South America to showcase their signature line of wood veneer shade suspension lights. Designed with an interesting sharp cut of layered veneer these pieces come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Our instagram photos were abuzz with likers with the rich and tribal feel to their work. Their concept of “Ecology – Man – Studio” was born from working with nature and using earth’s finest materials to begin with where Earth left off and create handmade pieces of art. www.ambiance-studio.net
Chaise Love Sofa
Cause I feel like makin love! The sexy curved deep thick leather Chaise Love Sofa by Batho Design made me stop in my tracks like seeing a beautiful girl from across the room, I was drawn to her. I wanted to first touch and then maybe sit but was hesitant as if asking for her number. Below the beauty of the traditional leather tufting wraps is an engineered steel frame that allows for a physically comfortable experience. Beauty and brawn, what more could you ask for? Available as a brunette or blond, she comes in an array of textiles and quality leathers. If you’re looking for furniture to make the first move or need help yourself, try the Chaise Love Sofa in your home to spice things up. www.bathodesign.com