michael

Live@ICFF: JETRO

Last year, the Japan External Trade Organization arrived at ICFF with a huge exhibition that took up an entire annex pavilion to the main Javits floor. Many curious fairgoers got their first look at products like Naoto Fukasawa’s famed Infobar cell phone, a candy-bar doppelgänger that has been (criminally) limited to Japan. JETRO was smaller this year, but there were…

Live@ICFF: Designboom Mart

The Designboom Mart often acts as ICFF’s palate cleanser. When the glossier offerings on the show floor start feeling like too slick a pitch, it can be refreshing to see a group of mostly young designers selling their own inexpensive wares in a PR-free marketplace. And if a few of their products are more cloying than clever, there’s usually something…

Live@ICFF Schools: Parsons

If you needed proof that the rudiments of punning are a crucial part of any design student’s curriculum, look no further than the booth for Parsons’s School of Constructed Environments, where the theme is Flow. On one table, there’s Currentcy, a glove by Kim White that employs radio-frequency identification (the same technology used to track cattle herds) to allow, say,…

Live@ICFF Schools: ArtFuture

ArtFuture’s booth brought a bit of St. Petersburg to the Javits with designs that played off of the traditional Russian nesting doll, or matryoshka. The shapely silhouette (actually imported from Japan in the late-19th century) was used to great effect in Olga Prozorova’s Button-Table, which is supported by four massive wooden dolls; their white heads poke through the acrylic tabletop,…

Live@ICFF Schools: Yale School of Architecture

The Yale School of Architecture isn’t exactly known for producing industrial designers. (It’s the Yale School of  Architecture, after all.) But Joshua Rowley, who cotaught the elective seminar “Chair as Crucible,” which had students design and build a one-off seat in a semester, thinks the unfamiliarity of the form might have been a good thing. “They feel a little more…

Live@ICFF Schools: Pratt Institute

I was a little worried when I saw the title of Pratt’s exhibition (a collaboration with the furniture giant Herman Miller): Empathy for Culture. Like oatmeal, it sounded a little bland and a little mushy, and I had the strong suspicion that it was going to try to be good for me. Students were asked to research a particular culture—the…

Live@ICFF Schools: Konstfack

Konstfack’s booth is notable for showing the work of just three students, Bengt Brümmer (middle), John Astbury, and Karin Wallenbäck, who met at the Swedish school last year and together make up What’s What Collective. Their designs—a trio of lamps called Push, Pull, and Pop—have a high sense of polish, as do the designers themselves, who might have stepped out…

Live@ICFF Schools: MICA

In the ICFF student yearbook, the Maryland Institute College of Art, or MICA, would be the crunchy freshman in Birkenstocks, brandishing a Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia. The school’s low-tech exhibition, also called MICA (for Material Inspired Concepts & Artifacts), uses simple materials simply. Jute, cork, felt, and banana leaf are the basis for projects that wear their lack of…

Beginning to See the Light?

As Suzanne LaBarre reported last month, many local governments are taking a chance on LEDs to improve the energy efficiency of their cities’ infrastructure. But they’ve already run into problems with high up-front costs and foot-dragging utilities (to say nothing of the steep road LEDs’ more experimental cousins, organic light-emitting diodes, still face). The New York Times’s Bits blog notes…

Top Prize

Emporis.com picks the Cocoon skyscraper, in Tokyo, as 2008’s best.

Elizabeth Peyton Totally in the Tank for Obama

In honor of the Best President-elect Ever and his big night, the New Museum has just announced that it is adding a new painting of Michelle Obama to its fantastic exhibition Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton. Showing the future First Lady and her daughter Sasha listening to Barack speak at this summer’s Democratic National Convention, the work will be hung today…