ICFF showcases contemporary textile, furniture designs

Carole Sloan, June 4, 2001

NEW YORK — Interestingly, it was the furniture, not the textiles, that provided the drama and excitement at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair here last month.

Back on the scene for furniture and accessories — slick, sleek and shiny. Think patent leather and lacquer, two materials that have been out of fashion for some time.

And in terms of color, think brights — orange, green, brilliant red and crisp white, not a bright one but right there.

But that's not to say that the home textiles were dull or boring.

Quite the contrary.

There was a plethora of area rugs in contemporary designs with several companies offering furniture or fabrics as companions. Retro looks such as kinetic designs and bright colors were prevalent. Rugs from Nepal, Tibet and the Himalayas had typical designs but were often in contemporary colors.

Decorative fabrics — while a lesser presence than in past shows — took a "green" production approach with new technologies offering more environmentally friendly constructions. Other fabrics used techniques from the past, brought into a contemporary perspective through design and materials such as felting.

Interestingly, there was more bedding on stage at ICFF than in past years. And even more interesting was the proportion of American designers outweighing the off-shore producers, especially from Italy.

From the accent perspective, decorative pillows and throws evoked the highest level of luxury, rather than a streamlined, crisp contemporary viewpoint. Luxury materials like lambswool, cashmere and mohair were the favored materials. For some companies, textiles and ribbon trims were the beginning of the design process for a range of home products.

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