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May 15th, 2013

The 25th Annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair

One of the most influential design events of the year, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York provides a platform for the design world to showcase their innovations, network and create. Located at  New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, May 18-21, with 26,000 designers and manufactures from over 30 different countries, this is the only North American design show of its kind.

“We’re thrilled that the ICFF is experiencing this unprecedented growth spurt 25 years into its existence,” said Kevin O’Keefe ICFF’s producer and manager. “The expansion speaks to the thriving nature of the global market for design, to the ICFF’s premier status as North America’s leading market for contemporary design, and for the show’s remarkable ability to pull in an ever-growing audience with the scope of its offerings.”

Celebrating 25 years, in addition to the normal exhibitions, the ICFF will debut Material Makers, a live design experience. “According to the ICFF, “Digital design and fabrication technology are transforming both the way designers create and manufacturers bring products to market, and the products themselves. In Material Makers, the ICFF is matching material and fabricator exhibitors with select designers to develop ICFF exclusive product for display.”

Since 2002 British Design studio Tom Dixon has remained a leader in the design industry. Winning multiple awards including the ICFF booth of the year in 2011, it comes as no surprise the ICFF chose the designer to be the featured artist in the new Material Makers exhibition. Dixon will work together live at this years event with company TRUMPF Inc. utilizing sheet metal processing and laser based production for an audience.

In addition to Material Makers Tom Dixon studio will also be exhibiting “Rough and Smooth”, celebrating the contrasting material qualities and their relationship together. According to Tom Dixon studio, “Rough because this season we have worked on even more textural honesty and material weight in our production. And smooth because we are still fascinated by extreme polished surfaces, sharp lines and modern manufacturing.”

This year’s fair will also include Patty Johnson’s project “Vodunuvo” an exploration of the Haitian Voodoo culture, art and Haitian materials. According to the ICFF, “Vodunuvo makes the case for Haiti as a dynamic, evolving culture with a critical place in the contemporary design marketplace by re-examining and transforming Haitian artifacts into products and objects that carry the island’s essential culture in a new form.”

Johnson has been a part of the ICFF for nine years, “On a personal level as a designer there are so many opportunities,” said Johnson. “To meet your colleagues, which you know you don’t get to do because most of us are internationally based – it’s a great opportunity for collaboration and meeting. I also think it gives everyone a chance to see the presentation of new ideas, new concepts, where companies are going and what kind of things they are thinking about.”

The ICFF conferences are some of the most anticipated design dialogues of the year as well, featuring various keynote speakers. “Often excellent at all these events,” said Johnson. The ICFF in particular has a very strong history of speaker series, and I think that they also bring to the floor what people are thinking about and emerging ideas.”

This year’s speakers include IDEO partner Tom Eich and creative director Richard Turley from Bloomberg Businessweek discussing the state of design on a global and local level. Dwell editor in chief Amanda Dameron will be interviewing Dutch designer Richard Hutten, and Susan S. Szenasy editor of Metropolis will be interviewing Tony Award winning set designer David Rockwell.

Highlighting global design, in addition to Vodunuvo this year’s show will also include an exhibit on African and African-Caribbean Diaspora brought to you by the British European Design Group, as well as the launch of a series of design workshops known as DesignX.

DesignX workshops will explore some of the most important aspects in the future of design from the latest software, web-based design apps, the future of parametric design and the capabilities of fabrication technology. In addition to the show itself, in support of the New York Design week Bergdorf Goodman will allow designers to exhibit in their famous 57th street windows on Saturday.

Last years event included trends like smoked glass, innovative hooks and hangers, mesh wiring furniture and soft-block furniture. Based on the ICFF’s 2013 Studio Awards, and trends from Saloni, this year attendees can expect to see a fair amount of innovative office furniture, transforming lighting, steel and bronze furniture and much more.

In addition to the coveted ICFF Editors Awards, recently announced the 2013 ICFF Studio Award winners are pre-elected prior to the show. According to the ICFF, The Studio Awards are a “platform to match selected emerging designers and their prototype products with potential manufacturers.”


2013 ICFF Studio Award Winners

Aaron Leahy: The Tri Light
Alexandra Burr and Allen Slamic: The Light Bracket
Brandon Kim: LILT seating
Carlo Aiello: Parabola Chair
David Okum: The Made Collection
Elliot Eakin: Ages Occasional Table
Jonathan Rowell: Screw Me lamp
Mandalaki: Mandalaki table
Rahyja Afrange: SE7E Armchair
Tamera Leigh Staten: Oona lighting
Yeji Kim: seating collection

The ICFF will be open to the public Tuesday May 21. For more information or tickets to the 25th ICFF check out the website at


Article Written by: Emma Watson


About the Author


Design Engine Industrial Design Training Pro Engineer


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  1. Jeff

    I really wanted to go this year!

  2. Jen Engineer

    I went to the 100% Design Show in London England in 2003 As an engineer it was an eye opener. I would like to visit the New York Show next Spring.

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