International Contemporary Furniture Fair 2013 highlights
As the premiere modern design showcase in North America, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair attracts more than 500 exhibitors from around the world, each one vying for a place in the spotlight. Trends that emerge from the show -- in very high priced, high-end items -- will eventually show up on the shelves of retailers near home at a much more affordable prices. Here are some of this year's standouts at the show, which opens to the public Tuesday at Manhattan's Jacob Javits Convention Center (800-272-7469, icff.com), from a bathtub that keeps water warmer longer to a lightbulb that promises to last for more than three decades. --LARA EWEN, Special to Newsday
Rustic and recycled meet colorful and practical with the new BUNT storage system from Austria's Lichterloh Kunsthandel ($144 to $190 per piece from lichterloh.com). Each item in the cheerful line (BUNT is German for "colorful") is made from old wood, mainly spruce, salvaged from Viennese lofts. Each crate is customizable by color and size using the company's online planning tool.
The Lightbracket from Brooklyn-based AlexAllenStudio ($195 from alexallenstudio.com) is a powder-coated steel bracket paired with a recessed LED strip covered in a Plexiglas lens cover and finished with a colorful braided cord (six cord colors are available). Of course, the light makes a terrific shelf bracket and can be hard-wired or plugged into an outlet.
Even when space isn't at a premium, furniture that's easy to store is easy to live with. That's particularly true when high design meets high function, as with this chair from New Jersey-based Folditure (Leaf, $940 to $980, from folditure.com). According to the manufacturer, the Leaf is the world's thinnest folding chair, collapsing to a mere three-quarters of an inch with one simple movement . Made from steel and aluminum, the materials are recyclable and suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
The lime green Condo Freestanding Tub from Vancouver-based Blu Bathworks ($5,940 in white; custom colors and embossing are extra; from dwny.com) is crafted from quartzite, an exclusive and eco-friendly material. The tub is antimicrobial, nonporous and stain- and scratch-resistant. In addition, the material insulates water, keeping a bath warmer for longer. Its shape allows for deep soaking in a minimum space, at 59 inches long, 31 1/2 inches wide and 23 5/8 inches tall.
Classic elements of contemporary style find a new home in this 1935 chair from Brooklyn-based manufacturer Olga Guanabara ($4,200 from olgaguanabara.com). The handmade leather seat (available in black, tan or Havana brown) rests between reclaimed wood and steel armrests. Each one-of-a-kind piece is created using reclaimed and salvaged wood (choose from rosewood, reclaimed red oak, walnut and maple).
The furniture from Zachary A. Design looks like something out of "The Flintstones," but it's actually made from an astonishingly light blend of fiberglass, stone and sand. This Slab Table ($5,000 from zacharyadesign.com) weighs in at a mere 150 pounds, but the substantial 72-inch-long piece is as durable as cement. Each piece is made by hand and is suitable for indoor or year-round outdoor use.
The Owls of the British Isles wallpaper from designer Abigail Edwards (about $116.50 per roll from abigailedwards.com) is hand-drawn and printed with nontoxic water-based inks onto nonwoven paper that adheres to walls with traditional paste. This endearing design is also conservationist: Five percent of the profits will go to The Barn Owl Centre to advance the conservation of the barn owl and other owl species.
The Modern Record Console ($26,500 from symbolaudio.com) from Nyack, N.Y.-based Symbol Audio combines the benchmade craftsmanship of solid walnut and natural steel with 6.5-inch full range Omega drivers, an integrated tube amplifier offering 15 watts per channel, a down-firing subwoofer built into pedestal and a Pro-Ject RPM 5.1 manual turntable. If you don't know what all of that means, this might not be the stereo for you. But if you do, then these handcrafted-to-order pieces may be just what the DJ ordered.
Designers Gabriel Hendifar and Jeremy Anderson, currently based in Brooklyn, drew on vintage design and trigonometric principles to create their Triad series of chandeliers ($2,150 to $10,600 from apparatusstudio.com). The hanging fixtures come with three, nine or 15 arms, and in either solid brass or with porcelain cones (custom options are also on offer), and the impressive geometric lamps echo Atomic Age design but add a contemporary cantilever.
The CSYS Tall lamp by London-based designer Jake Dyson ($1,390 from jakedyson.com) combines a long-lasting LED bulb with heat pipe technology to create a device that is both energy-efficient and elegantly designed. The aluminum, copper, steel and polycarbonate plastic task lamp is 4.5 feet tall and incorporates a pipe that conducts heat away from the LED bulb, allowing it to last for as long as 37 years. Yes, years.
For audiophiles who care as much about looks as they do about sound quality, it can be difficult to find speakers well enough designed to compliment a high-end system. Fortunately for those who can afford it, there's the AC 1 Loudspeaker by OMA ($75,000 from oswaldsmillaudio.com). Handcrafted in Pennsylvania from solid wood joinery construction and inspired by American theater speakers from the 1930s and '40s, these conical speakers use only a few watts of power to produce rich, full sounds.