All the Designs to Watch Out for at NYCxDesign 2015

Architects and designers converge again for New York’s third annual design fair and a slew of exciting off-site events.

The Memphis brand is stronger than ever. The Memphis-Post Design Gallery will exhibit some of the group’s classic pieces, such as Michele De Lucchi’s Polar side table (1984), at this year’s Collective Design fair.

Top image courtesy Collective Design; all others courtesy the manufacturers

Each year, NYCxDesign solidifies New York’s position as a design destination. From the opening party at Brooklyn Expo Center, heralding the borough’s ascendancy, to new downtown design districts, here’s the roundup of the festivities. And make sure to consult our guide—the official directory of NYCxDesign—for much more.

International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF)
Frieze New York
Calm, Cool, and Collected
designjunction edit New York
Soho Design District
Tribeca Night
Collective Design


International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF)

​May 16–19
Javits Center, 655 West 34th Street

Jaime Hayon designed these soft and comfortable Sammen dining chairs and Fri armchairs for Fritz Hansen.

This year ICFF delivers its largest show yet, expanded to two floors of the Javits Center, totaling more than 247,000 square feet of floor space (30 percent more than last year). More than 700 exhibitors from around the world will showcase some of the most innovative developments in furniture, textiles, and lighting design. Over the course of four days, the fair is expected to welcome 32,000 visitors, including industrial and interior designers, architects, manufacturers, and the general public.

For the first time, ICFF is partnering with trade-fair powerhouse Fiera Milano to create HO.MI New York, which will present the work of more than 120 top Italian design brands, many of them drawn directly from the recently concluded Salone del Mobile. For its first North American iteration, HO.MI is tailoring its offerings to U.S. tastes, focusing on home decor, tableware, and fragrances. As in previous years, the Italian ceramics industry will also present its own pavilion.

Exhibitors from other nations will be well represented in their own sections of the fair. These include the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Brazilian Furniture, the British European Design Group, Design Philippines, Inside Norway, Interiors from Spain, and Portugal Brands.

And though there will be hundreds of well-established brands on display, the fair will also serve as a debut for some of the world’s most talented emerging designers. ICFF Studio, organized in partnership with Bernhardt Design and now in its tenth year, will show 11 new products selected from a record number of competition submissions—including a series of porcelain dishes, a bookshelf, and several seating options. Submissions are judged based on ease of production, marketability, and commercial appeal; past participants have gone on to successful design careers, making ICFF a must-see for professionals who like to stay ahead of the curve. —A.J.P. Artemel

Omer Arbel’s 16 light for Bocci consists of LEDs in three layers of molten glass mounted on a modular, tree-like armature.

Cesta Inox is a new version of Miguel Milá’s classic design for Santa & Cole.

Niche Modern’s best-selling Helio lamp is available in new colors and can take an array of light options, from incandescent to LED bulbs.

Lotus is a traditionally shaped washbasin designed by Naoto Fukasawa for Boffi. 

Frieze New York

May 14–17
Randall’s Island Park

A multimedia installation by British artist Shelagh Wakely, including 24-carat gilded fruit.

The fourth edition of the annual art event at Randall’s Island Park promises to be quite a sensorial experience, bringing together sound-based, performative, and ephemeral works, as well as drawing from a diverse pool of galleries. Adding to the existing sections “Focus” and “Frame” is a new section called “Spotlight” that will showcase solo art presentations—iterations of which have already been critically acclaimed at Frieze Masters in London. Romanian artist Geta Bratescu’s Magnets is a commentary on life in Romania in the early 1970s. Paintings and sculptures by late British artist Shelagh Wakely include a space for dreaming, a tent made of feathers.

Frieze Projects, a nonprofit program of artist commissions curated by Cecilia Alemani, features the works of five artists. The program is intended to “create new spaces, both physical and fictional, places to relax, play, and explore”—expect clandestine rooms and a three-dimensional maze. —Komal Sharma

Romanian artist Geta Bratescu’s absurd, utopian architecture in Magnets: Utopia of an Active Monument (1974).

Allyson Vieira’s Time and Materials (and Overhead) (2014), from Frieze Projects New York.


May 16–19
405 Broome Street

New York City–based Visibility designed Kyuzo, a capsule collection of desk accessories and small goods—shown here are bookends and a phone stand.

The downtown retailer’s doors will open during NYCxDesign this year with a rich showing of new designs and some refined reissues. Jamie Gray’s Discus Lamp for the Matter-Made collection, which debuted at ICFF last year, will be relaunched with a “system that is much more robust, with greater modularity, a more compact housing for the lights, and a much more affordable price point across the board,” Gray says. Landscapes, a new modular lighting system, is set apart by its cutting-edge technology. “It uses AC LED, which requires no transformer—it’s the latest development in the LED lighting sector,” explains Gray.

Look out for products from other designers, as well, including a sleek wooden chair and table set from Philippe Malouin and a series of practical desk accoutrements from New York design studio Visibility. Made in a range of materials—wood, glass, marble, aluminum, and cast iron—these sculptural pieces promise to elevate the paper holder and loose-change plate, reflecting Matter’s discerning approach. —Alexandra Alexa

Philippe Malouin’s chair from his Type Cast series, finished in natural maple and available painted in black, gray, green, or pink.


May 9–19: Industry City, Brooklyn
May 15–18: Terminal Stores, Manhattan

At WantedDesign Brooklyn, Smarin creates the Play YET! Pavilion, where visitors can unleash their creativity by building their own furniture using a simple modular system.

Now in its fifth year, this design-centric platform of exhibitions, panels, and showcases is ready to expand both in size and program. Reflecting the growing importance of Brooklyn as a design destination, WantedDesign is adding a second location—the design and manufacturing complex Industry City—to complement its Manhattan base.

This year’s edition will present a thoughtful selection of designs by established as well as up-and-coming designers, or a combination of both. A great example is the Ven Storage Collection by Jens Risom and Chris Hardy for Design Within Reach—a collaboration more than two years in the making.

The platform will also be partnering with Bernhardt Design to launch the new American Design Honors program in an effort to support the future of American product design. “This program allows us to honor one of the many outstanding young designers working in America today and focus on their achievements,” says Jerry Helling, president and creative director of Bernhardt Design. “We hope this award will encourage the next generation of American designers.”

The Tribeca Franklin Chandelier, from Menu, designed by Søren Rose Studio.

In addition to its commitment to supporting American design, WantedDesign has also made a name for itself as a platform for highlighting international efforts. This year is no different, with showcases of contemporary design from Ireland, Croatia, and Argentina, as well as Inside Out—an exhibition on the role of craft and the intricacies of the design process in Polish graphic design.

Visitors to WantedDesign in Manhattan will also see a return of established programs such as Launch Pad, for prototype development, and the Conversation Series, a three-day platform and dialogue on various design topics, moderated by Metropolis editors Susan S. Szenasy, Paul Makovsky, and Avinash Rajagopal. —Dora Sapunar

Janusz Łukowicz: Origami, a collaboration between Łukowicz and the designer Michał Loba, is part of the exhibition Inside Out: Polish Graphic Design and Illustration in the Making.

Perf Cabinetry, part of Moroso’s Diesel collection, which will be displayed in the Diesel Living booth.

Calm, Cool, and Collected

May 15–18
WantedDesign, Terminal Stores

Kristine Five Melvær’s Liv series of lanterns and vases is mouth blown out of transparent or cobalt blue glass

Adding to WantedDesign’s rich discussion on international design is Calm, Cool, and Collected: New Designs from Norway. Curated by Metropolis’s Paul Makovsky, the exhibition explores how emerging Norwegian designers have been establishing a dialogue with Scandinavian design history while engaging with contemporary topics such as sustainability and technology. Through innovative works from seven up-and-coming design studios—all rooted in tradition but unafraid to challenge it—the exhibition captures the spirit of the region.

Calm, Cool, and Collected will feature a broad array of works by internationally acclaimed studios such as Anderssen & Voll and StokkeAustad, as well as place a spotlight on recent graduates from Norway’s design schools. From Kristine Five Melvær’s nature-inspired lamps to the elegant polished copper lamp by the Bergen-based designer Lars Beller Fjetland, the selected works all showcase a preference for clean lines while preserving a human touch. —D.S.

For Magis, Anderssen & Voll put a spin on the 2002 Bombo stool with its Tibu bar stool.

edit New York

May 15–18
ArtBeam, 540 West 21st Street

Pyramid Boxes in Colors, by the Danish brand Korridor Design.

The London-based event presents its first New York show, adding its hyper-trendy curatorial eye to this month’s festivities. With Chelsea’s gallery district lending a fashionable backdrop, it will feature a diverse range of products, including storage systems and bicycles. The show will also focus on Los Angeles designers and the Modernist furniture of Stockholm-based Massproductions, which will launch three new products there. Other brands to look out for include Muuto, delivering Nordic form in playful color, and Another Country, which remixes British rustic utility with Modernist silhouettes. Tokyobike channels Japanese design, presenting a line of bicycles predicated on the slow, light, and comfortable enjoyment of cityscapes.

Long a staple of Toronto’s International Design Show, Studio North & Prototype will present 25 experimental collections, ranging from prototypes to commercially developed pieces. Additionally, designjunction will feature a café and a dedicated retail space for commercial gratification. —A.J.P.A.

The Hatcham stackable chair, designed by Samuel Wilkinson and manufactured by London-based manufacturer Decode


Soho Design District

May 16
At various showrooms in Soho

The Binic table lamp, designed by Ionna Vautrin for Foscarini, was named for a lighthouse in Brittany.

In time for New York’s week of design events, a group of downtown showrooms like Artemide, Moroso, Luceplan, Poltrona Frau Group, Design Within Reach, and Room & Board will make their first collective move as the Soho Design District (SDD). Founded in 2014, SDD is the result of a combined effort from the retailers to stave off the effects of increasing rents, which could drive away businesses. “For decades, Soho has been known as an international destination for design, art, culture, and architecture,” says Dahlia Latif from Soho Design District, who realized that neighboring companies were reaching out to the same clients with similar marketing plans. “Our long overdue union is aimed at working together to sustain this history and be a larger resource for design professionals, students, and enthusiasts alike.” The showrooms will be open on May 16 and will be the first in a series of choreographed events aimed at making SDD “a full resource for all design needs.” —Estefanía Acosta de la Peña

Francisco Gomez Paz’s Tango light for Luceplan evokes the dynamism of the Argentine dance form.

​Tribeca Night

May 14
At various Tribeca locations

David Weeks Studio is showcasing the Kopra Chandelier in white and gray gloss finishes in its Tribeca storefront.

The design studios and boutiques based in Tribeca are having a floating party, where guests can wander from showroom to showroom with the aid of a map and a descriptive guide, looking at works curated for the evening or simply catching up with the community. Called Tribeca Night, the experience is co-hosted by David Weeks Studio—look out for quirky toys, custom lighting, and shades in a new gray gloss finish—Patrick Parrish, and Colony, the deigners’ co-op that brings together works by Hiroko Takeda, Meg Callahan, Moving Mountains, Allied Maker, and Vonnegut/ Kraft, among others. Also pitching in is Reclaim NYC, which presents a collection of one-of-a-kind stools displayed at Colony, and to be sold for charity. Other neighbors inviting guests to the party include Stillfried Wien, Shinola, BestMade, Steven Sclaroff, and Espasso. The evening will mark the launch of a year-long neighborhood-based collaboration under the Tribeca Design District brand. —K.S.

Vonnegut/Kraft’s Crescent Lounge Daybed, in new colors and finishes, is on display at Colony.

RO/LU’s Uncertain Surface (after coffee table/praying table) is displayed at Patrick Parrish.

Collective Design

May 13–17
Skylight Clarkson Sq.

The Memphis-Post Design Gallery collection includes this Kristall end table designed by Michele De Lucchi in 1981.

Lolita-inspired mirrors, whimsical enameled works by June Schwarcz, and furniture designed to evoke a violence-fraught city—Collective Design 2015 continues to discover works that are compelling and exploratory. This year’s fair, spread out over 60,000 square feet inside Skylight Clarkson Sq. (once the southernmost terminal of the High Line) offers design more as a dialogic experience rather than a passive viewing of objects.

Part of this experience are the installations. Jonathan Nesci’s mirrored contribution is rendered in a vocabulary of hexagons, rhombuses, and triangles. Dana Barnes’s composition of innovative materials pushes the boundaries of their sculptural possibilities. Brazilian artist David Elia of Design da Gema explores notions of violence within the city of Rio de Janeiro in his installation.

Collaboration is at the heart of the collective that organizes this event. The fair showcases both established and new designers from a growing roster of local and international galleries, including R & Company, Fuglen, and kinder MODERN. For this year’s edition, it also joins hands with Sight Unseen OFFSITE for an exhibit.

R & Company’s exhibit includes this unique Assemblage Vessel in hand-blown glass by Thaddeus Wolfe.

“A sense of discovery is key to the experience of our fair,” says the founder Steven Learner, and the curated works seem to embody this intent. New York–based textile designer Liz Collins creates a woven tapestry installation live at the fair, putting art in dialogue with applied design as well as inviting viewers to grapple with the process of making. Ashira Israel from Brooklyn-based studio IN.SEK further explores transdisciplinary themes as she creates two spaces—a lab environment and an archaeological site—both intended to reveal the blurred boundaries between architecture, art, and design. Whether they are ideas of materiality, process, or culture, this collective effort promises to be sufficiently eccentric, exciting, and fun. —K.S.

J. Lohmann Gallery showcases the subtly hued Balustrade Vessels by Turi Heisselberg Pedersen.

Osvaldo Borsani’s 1965 Canada Chair was manufactured by Tecno and is part of Donzella 20th Century’s collection.


May 8–12
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble Street

A Whitewash Elm Coffee Table designed by Robert Sukrachand.

Quite appropriately, NYCxDesign will open with this show at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. Organized by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the event will showcase the renowned (and at times easily lampooned) craft and artisanship of this most populous of the five boroughs.

The BKLYN DESIGNS schedule is packed with events, including several panel discussions on interiors, architecture, fashion design, and branding; an architecture and design film festival; and several design tours. Many stores will offer goods for purchase, among them the BKLYN BUYS marketplace, the High Line Pop-Up Shop, and a group of architecture and design publishers. Many emerging Brooklyn-based brands will also present their wares, pulling inspiration both from American tradition and the borough’s hipster spirit. Among these, Robert Sukrachand presents an intricately laminated sculptural coffee table, Wax Rax displays its vinyl record storage furniture, and Urban Chandy shows off its line of Edison bulbs and reclaimed industrial light fixtures.

To complement all the design showcases, be on the lookout for offerings from several cafés and food trucks near the venue. And since this is the kick-off location for 12 days of design-related events, BKLYN DESIGNS and Metropolis are hosting an opening-night party. —A.J.P.A.

Project Safari is a set of five ceramic animal busts from Bronsen.

A wood-textured pillow from Emily Diehl’s textile design and print studio Au Retour.

Noble Goods hand-crafted the Monster Island tables out of salvaged old fir joists.

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