BEST OF SHOW: International Contemporary Furniture Fair

Hot Seats And More:  Michael Cannell at ICFF

New York design guru Michael Cannell is the publisher of — an addictive daily ballot on home furnishings, furniture, lighting, and storage — and former editor of the House & Home section of The New York Times. His new book is The Limit, chronicling the Ferrari race team of the early 1960s. Here he is:

Option 2

I asked Mike to review the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which took place this week at Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center, for Eye On Design. Here’s his report.

“The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is the country’s premier design event and a showcase for new furnishings from the U.S. and abroad. The mood at this year’s show, which closed on May 19th, was subdued, for obvious reasons. But good things can come out of a recession. Overall the work this year was more practical and affordable, and with a new emphasis on sustainability. Below are our ten picks for best of show:

Andrew Moe presented the Oslo Line, a collection of furniture with slim, simple lines that he made from reclaimed lumber (console desk and chair, below).

consoledeskmain1 moe, oslo collection

The pieces are almost Shaker-like in their simplicity.

One of the more popular stops at this year’s fair was IKEA, which displayed its new PS Collection, which emphasizes recycled materials.


The BRYGGA swivel chair by Marcus Arvonen, above, is surprisingly comfortable with its irregular red plastic planks (grained like wood) on a steel base.

At age 82, Pierre Paulin may have been the oldest designer at the fair. More than 50 years after producing his first work, he made the Flower Chair, below, from injection-molded translucent polycarbonate for Magis.

Flower Chair by Pieree Paulin for Magis

The swoop-back armchair is classic and Jetson-modern the same time.

Maaike Evers and Mike Simonian, a Dutch-American duo known as Mike and Maike, collaborated with Council, a young San Francisco design firm, to produce Divis, below.

Divis Table_Council

It’s a solid-wood table with splits that mimic the natural cracks that occur in lumber.

The French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec spent two years producing the indoor-outdoor, stackable, batch-dyed polyamide plastic Vegetal chair for Vitra, a Swiss manufacturer, below.

Vegetal Chair_Bourrellac

Its plant-like structure is based on the vines trained to form seats found in Victorian gardens. It comes in six colors.

Hiroshima by Naoto Fukasawa is an unassuming beech dining chair, below.

Hiroshima Chair_Naoto Naoto Fukasawa

But its exquisite proportions—the tilt of the seat, the tapered armrest — make it feel graceful and weightless.

Cardboard was much in evidence at this year’s fair, including the flat-pack Transformer light by Chun Wei Liao shown below.

Transformer_chun wei liao

Now this is thinking outside the cardboard box.

Tom Dixon, the Londoner who helped put glamour back into British design, showed the Spot table with enamel tops on heavy cast-iron bases.

Tom Dixon_Spot Table

Brothers Paul and Vincent Georgeson of Misewell captured the back-to-basics spirit of the fair with designs of solid wood, steel, and aluminum, including this tripod-base Conrad coffee table.


Ray Power’s swirling Link Pendant lamp is hand-made from polywood, visible in this close-up.

Ray Power_Link pendant

It’s a durable wood veneer that’s easy to clean. Here’s another image —

ray-power-link_gy pendant lamp  from bonluxat

to show it hanging — like a luminous coiling serpent.”

Visit the ICFF website for more information.

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