The Entrée of Design


Philip Wood shares how a few California designers made a big impact at ICFF 2017 

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (the annual design pilgrimage to the Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan) can often suffer from comparisons to the month’s much larger Salone del Mobile in Milan. However, this year’s offerings demonstrated that not only can North American design stand up to the global taste test but that California design is, in many ways, at the top of the menu. This year, the horizons of California design stretched far beyond surf-shack chic and Wine Country grandeur, challenging traditional concepts of material, technology and form. 

Neighborhood by Joe Gebbia for Bernhardt
As the world looks to Silicon Valley for inspiration in business, Bernhardt Design enlisted RISD-trained industrial designer and Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia to muse on solutions for the workspace. The great minds of Silicon Valley are reconfiguring our world, and thankfully some, like Gebbia, have applied their thoughts to everyday form and function. 


Bar by Klein Agency
After decamping last year from Antwerp to downtown Los Angeles, Maša and Jon Kleinhample of Klein Agency have taken on the modern domestic landscape by creating highly graphic three-dimensional forms. My favorite product at ICFF was the Bar, which combines lightweight performance with the sturdiness of Brutalism, all in one. 

Superlight by Peter Stathis for Pablo 
California-based Peter Stathis is in danger of becoming the most significant industrial designer in North America. His new work, a collaboration with San Francisco’s Pablo Designs, expands on his recent mastery of LED, bringing the future of lighting into the present. His aptly named Superlight is a study of playful reduction while giving maximum use. 


Dombak Side Tables by Phase Design
Since 2000, Phase Design by Reza Feiz has pushed forward the modernist philosophy of creating clean-lined, refined furniture. This year, the Dombak Side Tables, presented at ICFF, demonstrate the apogee of Feiz’s practice. 


Day Mirror by YIELD
After meeting in 2012 at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Andrew Deming and Rachel Gant founded YIELD, a collection of furniture, lighting and jewelry that proposes improving the everyday with elegance and accessibility. At this year’s ICFF, they debuted the Day Mirror, which exposes both a rational confluence of shelving and a study in Euclidean placement that would make Ben Nicholson proud. 





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