The Fairest of Them All


New York’s annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair never fails to delight, with furnishings from California designers that stood out among the world’s best. By Lydia Lee



You could hardly miss the Swarm room divider that San Francisco’s Mike and Maaike designed for Council.
A whole flotilla in different colors—chartreuse, black and natural wood—was used to cordon off the ICFF presentation area. When the talks got a bit dull, attendees could contemplate the bold sculptural arrangement of the nearly-seven-foot-high dividers, some even stacked on top of another to dramatic effect.

On prominent display nearby were the 10 winning entrants in this year’s ICFF Studio, a juried competition offering young designers the opportunity to show their prototypes to manufacturers. There was a strong showing from California, including Brooke Woosley, a talent fresh out of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Her Chloros wall-mounted shelves were a standout, as were the Dolphin tables with fin-embellished Corian tops by Los Angeles’ Javier Palomares.



The style quotient of baby furniture has increased greatly in recent years, and the Koo bassinet is exceptionally elegant, both in its concept and its lines. The bassinet has a front that unlatches to transform into a rocking chair, making it a restful place for night feedings while saving space. The idea was conceived by new mom Sandrine Lebas, who works at Lunar, a Bay Area product design consultancy with a client list that includes Apple, HP and SanDisk. Currently in prototype, the bassinet is made of a slender steel frame and Chilewich panels.


When baby grows up, he or she can play with the Hut-Hut rocker from eco-conscious company Kalon Studios, based in L.A. The curvaceous rocker gets its name from the equivalent of “giddy-up” for a camel. The piece features a star pattern that has been milled into the solid wood and comes in FSC-certified maple, walnut, cork or bamboo. And when the kids are ready to roll, there’s the bentwood Zen wagon, in Baltic birch, from San Jose-based Kaiku Design.



Winner of an ICFF Editors Award, the Ikebana light by San Francisco designer Peter Stathis gives off a soft light in the shape of an orchid. “I wanted to merge a really technically sophisticated light with a really decorative object,” says Stathis, who has worked on LED lamps with Pablo Pardo. Indeed, the harshness associated with LEDs is not at all apparent in this glowing flower, which has a dimmer in the shape of a leaf. It will be available as a table and floor lamp as well as a wall-mounted version.

Pablo Pardo himself debuted the diminutive (15-inch) Pixo light, a fully adjustable task lamp. The round-faced light swivels around 360 degrees, with a universal, detachable power adapter and a fully dimmable light control. Making use of the latest technology, Pardo used a warm LED that has a life span of more than 25 years. On the other end of the technology spectrum, lighting designers Caleb Siemon and Carmen Salazar showed the blown-glass Bubble pendant, which looks like the cratered surface of the moon. To achieve the effect, they developed a technique of whipping molten glass so that it forms bubbles.

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