News from the New York Gift Show

Top New Home Products

From our Manhattan correspondent, Michael Cannell (author and former NY Times Home Section editor):

The new home product show season got started this past week with Accent on Design, a division of the sprawling New York International Gift Fair held at the Jacob Javits Center. Accent on Design showcases contemporary work, offering an early glimpse of evolving design ideas and a wealth of affordable smaller-scale products. (The splashier high-end furniture introductions come a few months from now at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York and the Milan Furniture Fair. ) Below are our picks for Best of Show.

Bright Box

Here’s a handsome example of how designers are reacting against all the automation of modern life.

This lamp is concealed in a box. It operates by what might be called a “hands-on dimmer:” it slides in and out to adjust the light level. The Box Light by Jonas Hakaniem from Design House Stockholm — famous for their light bulb encased in clear glass resembling a block of ice — is available May, 2010 (10 cm wide, 8 cm high, 15 cm deep): $275.

Message Center

Bamboo was prevalent at the show as the appetite for green materials gains momentum.

For kitchen or entryway, this Dry Erase Panel by Three by Three allows you to scrawl a message or shopping list without resorting to that office-style whiteboard. It’s magnetic too. Large, 31.5 by 15.75 inches, including letter holder, three hooks, bamboo cup and holder, magnetic strip (1″x12″), four strong magnets, and a dry erase pen: $100. Small, 23.5 by 11.5 inches, including two hooks, bamboo cup and holder, magnetic strip (1″x9″), three strong magnets, and a dry erase pen: $70.

Valentine Glow

Lighting designers are moving toward the atmospheric effects of indirect lighting,

as evidenced by these 5 inch-tall silicone Mood Flame tealight holders by Jan Hoekstra, from gSelect: $25.

Relative Merits

Like family members gathered around a dining table, these Family Chairs by Lina Nordqvist are similar but unique.

Available in beech, black and white lacquer, from Design House Stockholm: $700 for two.

Low-hanging Felt

Felt is the material of the moment—a reaction against the sharp lines and hard surfaces of modernism.

This pendant made of stitched wool felt triangles provides a soft, glowing presence. Called Icosa, it was designed by Ross Menuez; available from Areaware after March 3rd, 2010: $120.

Flexible Table

Swedish furniture design tends to be minimal but inviting, and the Wing collection by Sara Szyber is no exception.

The solid-wood Drop Leaf Table is big enough to seat six people

and small enough (30 centimeters) to serve as a side table when it’s folded down. Comes in black or white, from Design House Stockholm: $695.

Wood Light

Throughout the show designers used materials in new and surprising ways, and with an emphasis on the natural and renewable.

In this case the standard plastic flashlight is redone in beech wood with an LED bulb. The Small Torch is by Jonas Damon.  Something to keep on a table instead of in a drawer; from Areaware: $32.

Return — Recline? — of a Classic

It is increasingly common to see classic furniture pieces reintroduced at design shows as companies squeezed by the economy play their trump cards.

In this case it’s the award-winning canvas NY Chair from 1958 by Takeshi Nii, which also happens to feed the current appetite for flexible furniture. It folds  to five inches in width when not in use; from yliving: $590.

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