ICFF Grows Up

Carole Sloan, May 23, 2005

If it weren't enough to have a full-blown home furnishings market in New York that started life more than a decade ago as a contemporary furniture fair, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) was the center core of a week-long series of exhibitions, special events, social happenings and the like far beyond the original ICFF concept.

In fact, ICFF has grown up. It still has the edgy design exhibitors. But it has lost the wayward souls who created stuff from garbage in their homes and neighborhoods — and then had no understanding of how to do business in the real world — even at the loftiest, edgiest levels.

It was a fascinating week in New York for home furnishings design and high-end home furnishings. And at the same time, it was an exciting time for cutting-edge furnishings design and experimentation in design and materials that is increasingly taking place in this city.

What had been a four-day event, primarily dedicated to contemporary furniture, the ICFF has morphed into a week-long home furnishings extravaganza with the ICFF the dynamic major core piece.

In fact, New York's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, declared the week “New York City Design Week,” in a special proclamation. As bookends to the ICFF, there was the Design Downtown event, a cutting-edge furnishings design exhibition, and the debut of I Salone Worldwide, the New York special exhibition of the famed Milan Salone del Mobile.

In between there literally were dozens of exhibitions, events and lectures — all focused on home furnishings design across Manhattan and into Brooklyn's trendy DUMBO section.

Now comes the news that there will be yet another design-driven show for home furnishings called International Interiors NY, scheduled for next May to run concurrently with ICFF.

This show will be apart from ICFF but will open the field to designers and producers of high-end home furnishings outside of the contemporary idiom. (Note: HTT's parent company is a partner in the new show.)

And of course, this event will spawn more ancillary events and exhibits. If the Target model home is any example, there will be more blockbuster activities of its ilk on the schedule.

For anyone who thinks that fully covering the High Point or Milan events is an impossible task, New York next May is sure to be a noble challenge.

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