I’m Betting These 5 Trends From New York’s Biggest Furniture Fair Will Be Everywhere Soon
From lustrous ceramics to wavy wall hooks.
Published May 26, 2023 1:00 AM
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NYCxDesign, New York’s annual Design Week, was far more lively this year than I’d witnessed in the recent past. As an editor, I frequently attend press previews and events, and it can always feel like Design Week to a certain extent—but not like this. Of the many happenings I hit, from SoHo’s showroom soirees to penthouse gallery dinners, I’m surprised to say that one of my most fruitful jaunts was a day at the Javits Center, where the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and Wanted set up camp for three days.
While ICFF is reserved for larger brands, Wanted, a smaller section within the convention center, celebrates emerging talent. That includes everyone from furniture design students to makers in Brooklyn studios you might already follow on Instagram. And like any trade show, there were definitely some common themes I saw across the booths. These trends will make their way to the mass market sooner than you think. So consider us your secret source, and you’ll catch on before the rest of the world.
More Than Just Hooks
After a day at the fair, it’s hard to understand how someone could add a sticky hook on the wall and call it a day. Even one step up from there doesn’t compete with the creative wall-hanging contraptions on display.
Swell Wall Cabinet, Heller
Heller’s Swell wall catchall, which may have been my favorite item at the entire show, is the ultimate entryway hero. Like any hook system, you can hang your bag from it, but you can also fill it with keys, a newspaper, an umbrella—and, well, you name it.
It was conceived in 2022 by Anna Dawson, a recent Rhode Island School of Design graduate. Heller came across the prototype in Wanted’s student section last year, and lo and behold, it will be for sale in five diverse colors this September.
Chuck Clothes, Nice Condo
Brooklyn-based studio Nice Condo displayed its new hook system, which looked as much like a piece of art as it did a functional household object. The wood knobs move between the checker-patterned tracks, making it the choose-your-own adventure of wall hooks.
Often, legs seem like the least considered element of a table or chair. But the amount of fun feet and reinterpreted legs I saw not only at this fair but during NYCxDesign as a whole shows that the often forgotten feature is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Melting Glass Tables, Clara Jorisch
Made of glass so clear it’s almost invisible, Montreal-based Clara Jorisch’s melting glass tables are business on the top, party on the bottom. The name couldn’t be more accurate—it almost looks like the pieces were hit with a blowtorch.
Let’s just say, I’d think twice before placing a heavy art book on this coffee table.
Waste Collection, East Otis
Lancaster, Pennsylvania–based furniture brand East Otis offered an equally playful approach to funky legs. And in one example, a stool included a place to rest not one but two drinks. If that’s not an example of jazzed-up legs, then I don’t know what is.
In a subtler work, the legs of the Slump credenza are cone shaped and made of hand-cast bronze.
A floor lamp comes in many forms, and one that I repeatedly came across last week was a contemporary pole-shaped style. Almost like a chic lightsaber, the illuminated columns ranged from ultra-industrial to warm modern.
Helle Floor Lamp, Bowen Liu
Made of glass, white oak, and integrated LED, New York City–based Bowen Liu’s Helle floor lamp could make any hour of the day golden. An homage to her sailing experience in New York, the collection is named after the Hell Gate Bridge over the East River and the view of it from the water.
Pola Collection, Anony
Toronto-based studio Anony’s Pola floor lamp is as fit for an installation at Dia Beacon as it is for a living room. Leaning more Brutalist, the piece is essentially a steel pole sliced in half.
When I stood right in front of it, it actually read as a panel, but the illusion only lasted until I stepped to the side.
Is It Glaze or Is It Weathered Metal?
A good patina can take years to develop, but the imperfect metallic glazed ceramics, below, are brand-new. The organic forms read undeniably ceramic, but a variegated finish and a little bit of luster add a vintage feel.
I was absolutely enamored by Litchfield, Connecticut–based Dumais Made’s booth, but found the crackly bronze glazes to be the most alluring (classic me, drawn to shiny objects). I loved the blend of antique and contemporary styles, as seen in pieces like the Grace lamp and Perles hand mirror.
While primarily a handheld mirror, the vanity accessory can also be hung on the wall like a work of art.
On the more fantastical side, Shimmer Studio also offered lustrous lighting and mirrors. The hand-built one-of-a-kind pieces bring with them no shortage of personality, and they resemble rocklike forms from nature.
There was more than one item that was, well, a little off—in a good way, of course. We’re talking benches that start on the floor but climb up the side of the wall, and tables that are almost square but lean a bit more blob.
Shaker furniture is a classic—most of the time. They say you need to know how to do something the right way before you can break the rules, and sure enough, Sawyer Made’s founder grew up in his dad’s Windsor chair shop in Vermont. While he does create primarily classic Shaker furniture, on display at Wanted was a statement-making Shaker bench that created a 90-degree angle into the sky. It was literally a twist on a classic.
Geomorph, Mary Ratcliffe
Mary Ratcliffe’s tables were inspired by the nature she observed during a four-month cross-continental road trip. Organic forms like sedimentary rocks in Sedona are certainly not a cookie-cutter shape, and those subtle curves and asymmetrical silhouettes are emulated in the collection.