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With 629 exhibitors (an 18% year-on-year uptick) and 31,421 attendees, the 26th annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), May 17-20 at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, delivered full throttle on all fronts. The leading North American venue for global design and luxury, the ICFF continues to expand markedly as European and other far-flung suppliers cross oceans and continents to connect with the Fair’s still-growing audience of design professionals: the architects, interior designers, and developers who are at the forefront of the burgeoning U.S. market for design.
Further confirming the ICFF’s position as the North American center of gravity for the global design trade were the 10 international contingents in attendance. The British European Design Group (BEDG), which celebrated its 20th anniversary at the ICFF, continues to be one of the Fair’s largest foreign exhibitors: more than 30 participating companies bulked up this year’s contingent. Yet another sign of the hot-as-a-pepper-pot international design market was the return of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), Design Philippines, after a 13-year absence; with a delegation of 15 companies, the Philippine furnishings industry made a substantial presence on the show floor. Also making forceful statements were contingents from the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Brazilian Furniture, Ceramics of Italy, Furniture New York, The Furniture Society (U.S.), Inside Norway, Interiors from Spain, Portugal Brands.
ICFF attendance slanted significantly upwards once again, with a 6% percent increase to a total of 31,421 qualified attendees – yet another measurable bump upwards from last year’s considerable 12% growth. As it has since its inception, the ICFF assembled an exceptional – and exceptionally fun – program of special features and educational events. Updated favorites included ICFF Talks, ICFF Studio, Schools, designboom mart: home & travel, ICFF Editors Awards, Rizzoli Pop-up Bookstore, ICFF Opening Night Party at The Museum of Modern Art, Saks Fifth Avenue ICFF windows, and ICFF Public Day. New features ranged from Fabrics and Fabrication: The ICFF Presents Textiles with PhilaU, Jasper Morrison: The Good Life to HYLAND’s Top Designers & Textiles and ASID at the ICFF.
Major anniversaries were also a key feature. Bernhardt Design celebrated its 125th year as a market leader with a curated introduction of seating options by a troika of top-flight international design pioneers: Ross Lovegrove, Noe Duchaufour-Lawrance, and Jephson Robb. Canada’s remarkable molo design, the entrepreneurial design company launched at ICFF 2004 by Stephanie Forsythe and Todd MacAllen, made the most of its tenth straight Javits Center appearance with the debut of two characteristically innovative designs: benchwall and thinwall. designboom mart, a nexus of design culture and design commerce, edited by designboom, Europe's leading design-related e-zine, cheered its 10-year collaboration with the ICFF.
As the ICFF strides through its third decade, it continues to bloom with innovative alliances and programs. A new and unique partnership with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) bolsters the ICFF’s longtime commitment to continuing education. With the alliance, the ICFF now adds the ASID imprimatur – and IDCEC/CEU-approved programming – to its array of educational sessions. In another move to leverage its reach across the global design community and the digital design universe, the ICFF has also taken the official role of partner in Architizer’s A+ Awards, now in its second year. Held on May 15, the Awards Gala served as an appetizer for the ICFF’s main events.
Next year’s ICFF, the 27th annual, arrives at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center May 16-19, 2015. Mark your calendars now.
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