ICFF 2006 Preview

From the student exhibitions to our “Design Entrepreneurs” conference, this year’s fair is a conduit into the industry.

Trade shows can be places for learning as well as for introductions. Conferences and panels can open up new areas of inquiry, present breakthrough ideas, and remind today’s designers of their place in history. This is precisely our mission with Metropolis’s annual conference at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, designed to pursue what it takes to be a “Design Entrepreneur.” We will spend the whole day on Monday, May 22, examining “How Design Strives, Thrives, and Revives.”

As the name implies, we will find out what it took to introduce such breakthrough movements as Memphis to the marketplace; what lessons these movements hold for current designers; and why a design movement survives to create a new market of antiques. We’ll scour the globe with two world travelers—Metropolis editorial director Paul Makovsky, and Bonnie Mackay, creative and marketing director of MoMA Retail—to locate today’s creative caldrons. We’ll learn about the role of innovative prototyping in industrial design from Yves Béhar; what it takes to be a socially conscious entrepreneur from Stephanie Odegard; and how new materials and software aid twenty-first-century design entrepreneurs.

This year we are also working with two interior-design trade associations to produce continuing-education programs for their members. The Metropolis/IIDA panel will explore designing in China, while the Metropolis/ASID program will make solid distinctions between what’s “green” and what’s “greenwashed.” You’ll find up-to-date listings of this and other pertinent information in our revamped ICFF Directory. Consult its companion publication, Design Guide NYC 2006: ICFF Connected, to find the world of design bubbling up all around town.

The ICFF remains the American trade show with an emphasis on design and fresh ideas. In 2006 these will include Foster and Partners’ recycled-aluminum chair with a very high-tech look; Tord Boontje’s botanically inspired window coverings, which bring garden shadows and patterns indoors; and some prescient student work, such as the house and furnishings designed by New York Institute of Technology for the Solar Decathlon.

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