Inspiration Abounds at ICFF

May 14-17, New York City hosted the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, a spectacle of inspiring events at the Javits Center and about town. The show is one of North America's premier showcases for contemporary design from around the world. Over 25,000 interior designers, architects, retailers, designers, manufacturers, and developers were joined by over 500 exhibitors from countries ranging from Spain to Japan and hundreds of New York City showrooms hosting events and rolling out new product concepts. A cacophony of inspiration.

One of the most innovative things I saw at the show was from a surprising source: one of the nation's oldest and most respected kitchen and bath fixtures companies, AF New York. This family-owned business has been the premier source of architectural hardware for over 30 years, beginning with Alex Friedman's supply company and lead today by his grandson, principal and design director, Bennett Friedman. Bennett has pioneered a concept called the AF Design Lab, in which he has partnered with leading designers to create breathtakingly beautiful and cleverly innovative concepts.

From Kevin Walz' masculine tub and slumped sink to Dasai/Chai's integrated bathroom to Messana O'Rorke's "Building Block" faucets to the display was packed with elegant solutions to the age old questions of bath design in new ways.

I really was amazed by the ingenuity of Yoshimi Kono. His concept maximized every inch (or centimeter, as the case may be) of space for function while not compromising beauty. The shower door that moves in to cover up the faucets. The hidden drawer and recessed paper holders. False mirrored walls creating unbelievable amounts of storage. Yoshimi is a multi-faceted designer and innovator whose credits include architecture, interior design, product industrial design, and graphic design and fine art and his broad range of influences shows in his creative solutions.

Another display I enjoyed was from the powerhouse team of Hariri + Hariri Architecture. This sister team are also Interior Design Magazine Hall of Famers who have been working with Swarovski Crystallized on a new line of jewelry. This study of facets and glamorous finishes lead to a collection that is unlike any bath collection I have ever seen. The mirror alone was something to behold. You may recall our recent collaboration with Gisue and Mojgan at the recent Digital Canvases event where their content was displayed on a Clarity Matrix sculptural piece dubbed the "art wall."

It is no wonder to me why Bennett and the team at AF New York won ICFF's top honor in the kitchen and bath category this year, the coveted 2011 Editor Award! Congratulations to the AF Design Lab team!