The whirlwind of exhibitors from the 2014 International Contemporary Furniture Fair, (ICFF) could be summed up in one word: creative. Like every year there are products we term as good for both their relevance, innovation and marketability. The bad, while certainly tainted by the eye of the judgmental editor, are items we find unattractive or a difficult sell. Our final category is populated from items which made us stop and go hmmm; how, what, why and, we like it. Creativity with a purpose gives our minds a reason to ponder. Real creativity is used to achieve a solution to a problem which pushes beyond the predictable and effectively resolves the problem without being indulgent.
LED is the way of future and the future is now. Lighting has taken on a whole new dimension with the possibilities allowed by using clean, clear and efficient LED as the light source. Everything in the Sonneman lighting booth was spectacular, and they have the design awards to prove it. Stacking stools made from sustainably sourced Birch plywood by Liqui Design out of the UK, are both sweet and sturdy. Their products are built around the idea sustainable design can be beautiful.
Next TWO.SIX out of Portugual, redefines a crisp and user friendly storage unit as a ladder with a removable shelf. The painted matte lacquer has an extremely touchable hand, it is almost soft.Just when you think wallpaper can’t get any better, it does. First Flavor Paper is working with the Andy Warhol Foundation to remix Andy Warhol’s prints into modern wallpaper. The perennial favorite for creative wallpaper, Trove, stopped designers dead in their tracks as they walked through the booth with this simple and sure-to-be-classic design depicting classic moulding.
Oh no, hell no, a bejeweled sink? There is nothing more to say.Not every item is meant to be repurposed, such as the automotive hood ornament on the edge of this bench. To each their own, but there is such a thing as restraint and knowing when to stop adding.
As a designer the right rug can make or break a room, but not every design works as a usable rug. Granted some people may love an oriental rug but is it a Rorschach Test or silhouette of an animal skin? Not on my watch.
The classic bust takes on new shape as a pendant light by Mineheart. When a space calls for feature lighting, especially in a room with dark walls or cabinetry – these will speak volumes. Luke Lamp Co has a way to make the everyday item into supremely functional lighting. Yes, this is simple rope with a LED tube in one end and a plug on the other. This is the best looking “rope light” we’ve ever seen. Embracing the natural grains of wood, or bamboo in this case, is one of the trends we noticed in Europe over the past two years. Combined with texture, Plyboo achieves a winning combination for use as a finish panel or in furniture. Our friends at TileBar drew us in with what from afar looked like a generic damask pattern in black and white marble tile, but up close the actual design is a little more personal. Creativity times 10, for the right master bathroom or high-style garage this tile is a winner. By marrying exquisite embroidered textiles to handcrafted furniture Volk achieves a rare element of romanticism in furnishings. Carrying on the tradition of his quadruple great-grandfather, Brian Volk-Zimmerman, proves 19th century craftsmanship is in his blood. Loll Designs offers us the solution for where to put the glass while relaxing with a backyard cocktail… on the chair, their chic outdoor lounge chair made from recycled milk bottles. Thank you Cycloc for making bicycle storage beautiful, not unsightly and giving us the choice of vertical or horizontal. Creative and brilliant, this is how design achieves an innovative and workable solution. Creative with a wink is the method used by Garden Glory to resolve the dilemma of making in the utilitarian hose mount attractive.
As you can see creativity ruled on the 2014 ICFF floor. From furniture to lighting, surface materials to utilitarian objects normally designed to function without attention to form, the exhibitors at ICFF showed us design is alive and well, there is no reason to crawl under the rock of ordinary.