Design Week in New York
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, May 31, 2015
New York has its Fashion Week, Fleet Week, Bike Month, Manhattan Cocktail Classic… and finally the spotlight was on us with DESIGN WEEK, (which ended two weeks ago)
It all started some twenty years ago with a small event called ICFF held in a newly built glass palace on 11th Ave. called the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Designed by I. M. Pei after his huge success with the Louvre addition in Paris.
ICFF was the brainchild of a group of young entrepreneurs who were inspired by the success of the Milan and Cologne Furniture Fairs. It was time to show contemporary design in America. The show was fresh, vibrant and relevant. It was a perfect showcase for new talent, exhibited in unadorned ten by ten foot plain booths. It was where I reintroduced my designs and I credit this show with the rebirth of my Classic Collection.
Over the years ICFF expanded, incorporating exhibitors from Italy, Austria, Spain and added an adjacent space under a huge tent. When more space was needed, new exhibitors found locations at the Piers on the Hudson River. Satellite exhibits found vacant spaces in Soho, Tribeca, Hell’s Kitchen, the Meat Packing District and anywhere temp space was available… Design Week was born.
ICFF is like an old school reunion; no sooner did I walk through the doors, when I immediately ran into a half dozen clients, old friends, and admiring fans. I love this show!
However, ICFF, like most exhibits over the years, has become institutionalized. The bloom has worn off. It is a real estate venture with space rented to anyone willing to pay the price of admission. The sheer size has diluted the presentations. The show that started as an exhilarating showcase for new talent has become unexciting. Today, it includes dozens of bathroom companies showing sexy bathtubs carved in marble, beguiling faucets, showerheads and square toilets.
In all fairness, “Seek and thou shalt find”. Tucked into small-unadorned cubicles there are still gems to be discovered. In the British sector there were creative designers with hardware, lighting and wallpaper. My friend Chris Poehlmann of CP Lighting Is still making beautiful tree-inspired chandeliers. Audrey Sterk, a friend from Nantucket, is showing her graphic wallpapers designs for the first time. Her work has caught the eye of Janovic - Plaza, a major paint retailer, who has taken on her collection.
Nantucket artist, Audrey Sterk's first exhibit at ICFF
A talented young English artist with her imaginative wall mural paper through Badgers of Bohemia
I found this very amusing caterpillar stool with articulated vertebrae by an Australian design cooperative called Designs By Them
Christ Poehlmann's twig wall sconset is a classic
I discovered Aaron Scott's work at the Architectural Digest show a year ago... this Brooklyn based artisan is doing great original work
I loved this amusing rattan chair (though it may not be stable when sitting in it)
In a Danish exhibit called "Onecollection" I found this reproduction of one of my all-time favorite mid-century craftsman Finn Juhl
Twist and turn - two artisans explored similar concepts
The stool is by British artist Nick Rawcliffe - Sadly I do not have the name of the maker of the table
Revisiting acrylic lighting with new LED technology
George Beylaryan's Design Memorabilia company with a collection called De Gustibus
A cool bookcase system with movable dividers made of recycled wood
Fun designs concept from the schools: A bird-house with wings • A glass decanter cast into a wood mold
and an endearing exhibitor from Northern Canada showing her father's tables
The Social Agenda
The MAD Museum (Museum of Art & Design) used Design Week for its annual Gala dinner honoring the young emerging designer Sebastian Errazuriz. I was honored to introduce my friend at this Gala dinner. At only thirty seven year old, Sebastian is one of the hottest, most talented multi-faceted artists today. (I had devoted an earlier Blog to his provocative work - look him up on the internet)
Dapper Sebastian Errazuriz got to hug the two most beautiful women at the Gala
Saturday evening, I was invited to a night of impromptu jazz at my friends the Vales, who do this once or twice a year. The entire family is into jazz and each member performed with the twenty-five invited musicians at the party.
Look for Part Two of this review shortly