Decorating & Design

ICFF Design Highlights

I often wonder if designers have “Aha!” moments. Do they know when they create something special? Does time stand still while an ethereal beam of light shines down upon them? I like to think so, but perhaps a piece of art’s originality is only apparent when sanctioned by critics and public acclaim.

Either way, I know for certain that as a design lover, I have moments when an object takes my breath away — be it a piece of furniture, a painting or a dress.

I still haven’t made it to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York (think IDS on steroids) but I feel like it would be full of ingenuity. If I had been there this past May, these five exhibitors would have stopped me in my tracks.

This sculptural Parabola Chair — yes, chair — looks more artwork than furniture, but its real beauty lies in its functionality. Designer Carlo Aiello managed to create a seat, armrests and chair back without them resembling anything in our design repertoire. Its soft, parabolic curves form a comfy nest.

I love the bubble chandelier by Jean and Oliver Pelle of Brooklyn-based design firm Pelle. The airy clusters of glass spheres really capture the delicate, ephemeral quality of bubbles about to burst. Their Dorit Candleholders are also worth a mention. Made from imperfect, knotted wood and finished with metallic paint, they look like rough, colourful geodes.

This biologically-inspired table is a custom piece by Nervous System made with their radiolaria app. The app allows customers to play God (or designer) and create furniture, jewelry and housewares using an interactive screen that mimics genetic biology. Watch the video here.

StudioKCA’s bronze Firefly chandelier is like something out of a dream. The multitude of tiny lights and fluttering shadows mimics the movement of fireflies against a dark landscape.

The Hialeah Table by Iacoli & McAllister is less conceptual than the above designs but I had to include it for the simple fact that I really wish I could take it home. It has that rare quality of being timeless yet new and I love its mix of materials — sigh.

What have you come across lately that’s made you take a second look?

Photo credits:
1-2. ICFF
3-4. Pelle
6. Faktura
7. StudioKCA
8. Iacoli & McAllister