In 1989, the word design would probably have brought to mind Ralph Lauren. But that was also the year a nascent U.S. furniture industry convened in New York for the first design trade show in the country. Today, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, or ICFF, remains the best place in North America to discover fresh talent and emerging design trends. No fewer than 100 of the 500-plus exhibitors showing next month are new to the market. The halls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center are also the launching pad for products from American companies like Herman Miller, Blu Dot, and Council, as well as the first North American stop for many international companies. Norway, Portugal, Poland, and Spain are among those returning in 2010. Interiors from Spain alone will have a full 6,000 square feet of lighting, furniture, and accessories. “These countries point to the North American market, for what it can deliver in terms of consumer purchasing power, as one of their top objectives for success,” says Philip Robinson, the ICFF show director. With this international push in mind, we have chosen a preview of the standout global companies that will be showing in New York from May 15 to 18.