It’s ba-ack. The 19th International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) begins May 19, marking the start of another feverish New York Design Week. Although it’s difficult to predict the big news or major trends, we’re confident in at least one attention-grabber at this year’s fair: the Metropolis booth, designed by Urban A&O, will feature a “living carpet” of grass and flowers sprouting from a recycled-plastic shell—a mass of dewy, brightly colored foliage that should be visible from across the Javits Center’s humming show floor.
“For the booth, we wanted to create something that would combine a contemporary plant wall—an idea that is just making its way from Europe to America—with a green roof,” principal Joe MacDonald says. To realize the shell’s complex curving geometry, the firm is using parametric-modeling software and will water-jet-cut cells to be pieced together by hand. “It’s not unlike making a suit,” MacDonald says. Inside the booth, the shell will morph into a recessed bench padded with recycled denim. The interior wall will display the finalists of this year’s Next Generation Design Competition, which focused on energy—also the theme of the Metropolis Conference, at the ICFF Theater throughout Monday, May 21.
Taking a sneak peek at some of the new designs to be shown at the ICFF—including student projects from the six schools selected to exhibit—it’s easy to find many of the same ideas that take shape in the Metropolis booth. Arik Levy used water-jet cutting in his crystal barware for Baccarat; Humanscale’s Daybed lounge-workstation is 95 percent recyclable aluminum, steel, and poly-carbonate; University of Idaho students researched the energy embodied in common building materials—and on and on. The following pages include more information from the designers themselves, but of course it’s just a sample of the wealth of ideas that will be on display at the ICFF next month. Welcome back.