Karrie Jacobs


May 22, 2012

The Javits Report

Pleated paper interior by Molo Design, Ltd.  (Photo by Karrie Jacobs.)

Yeah.  I know. It’s been a while.

I love to blog, but it’s something I generally do first thing in the morning and lately my mornings have been monopolized by Memphis, a very handsome, demanding, cattle-dog mix.  And this week we — the boyfriend, the dog, and I — are about to move from Soho to Williamsburg.

But I took a break from packing to check out ICFF at Javits, just to see whether anything was happening that required my attention.  Not a whole lot is.  It’s one of those transitional years.  The Modernist revival that began in the mid-1990s is winding down.  The explosion of green product that boomed  a few years ago has slowed to a trickle.  The recent fascination with computer-driven intricacy is still around, but not as dominant as it has been in past years.  What’s new, if new is indeed the proper word, is the influx of retro-looking artisinal-feeling product: rough hewn wooden tables, hand cast metal tchatchkes… Oh, and Kohler is manufacturing brightly colored sinks (designed by Jonathan Adler) displayed in a booth made from a shipping container (a signal that the shipping container fad has finally crested).

Here are the standouts:

1. Peter Stathis, who brought his breakthrough LED task lamp, Link, to the fair in 2008, has started his own lighting company, Light & Contrast.  His star product at this year’s fair, the Trapeze,  is a major improvement on Link (which I still really admire), both in terms of sculptural qualities and the amount of light it sheds.

2. Matthew Hilton, a British designer who has worked for pretty much everyone, including himself, is lately allied  with De La Espada.  While I have mixed emotions about the revival of wood as a  fashionable material, Hilton does it right.  He is, at heart, a minimalist, who never does anything that could be described as rough hewn.

3. My favorite large scale object at the fair was the pleated paper booth (see above) by Molo Design, Ltd., a Vancouver B.C. based architecture and design studio.  In furniture fairs past, I’ve noticed eye-catching temporary structures that turned out to be completely unrelated to the products on display within.  In this case, Molo’s booth is also its product.  Very cool.

4. Other good stuff:  LED lamps by QisDesign.  Claesson Koivisto Rune -designed Air purifiers by Blueair.  (Which don’t seem to be on the company’s US website.) Student design from the University of Lapland. A nice  Antonio Citterio comfy chair from Vitra.

After the move, I’m going to try to be a better blogger.  Even though blogging is over.  Especially because blogging is over.