Ok, so I lied. I said we’d get back to questions this week but pleasantly, Surprisingly, HAPPILY and UNEXPECTEDLY there’s news to report from the Fair, by which I mean the International Contemporary Furniture Fair held at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York this past week.

After the general disappointment of KBIS in New Orleans I set my sites low for this show.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the phone has begun to ring with potential projects again, the New York Times is touting the construction of dozens of luxury towers -one penthouse selling in an unfinished building for $84 million- on Park Avenue, and pent up buyer’s frustration is stretching the seams…according to vendors at the show!

The biggest surprise at the Fair (for me) was LIGHTING!! There’s always good lighting…and even a few GREAT pieces, but this time the offerings from both the US and abroad were…well…illuminating (sorry couldn’t help myself)!

The true standouts came from Portugal with prices in the reasonable to believable range. Here’s some of what we saw:

This chandelier was made entirely out of glass beads. It’s companion wall-sconces were equally beautiful and timeless.

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These were like having indoor fireworks…and made us smile!

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The young designer of these pieces is SO talented…and sweet. You want him to succeed. He sells a lot to the Russian and Middle Eastern markets which respond to his ornate, yet contemporary designs. I have to say, his work was my favorite flavor at the Fair!

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This fixture reminded me of subway cars going in multiple directions. The bulbs are neon and can be any color you like…

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Loved this…for color…for originality…because it’s made in Brooklyn and because it reminded me of eucalyptus leaves!

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The other surprise at the Fair was the use of COPPER. We saw it everywhere: in fixtures, faucets and furniture. What a refreshing change from brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze!! Also watch out for “Champagne” finishes in appliances: a warmer, golder stainless steel…but I digress…

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Other than this, I cannot say a particular color, like lime or navy or gray stood out…

As far as furniture went, there was limited appeal; but here are the pieces that inspired envy and aspiration:

These stools were fabulous. With storage inside and a tray top that converts to a base for a cushion on top, it had hidden wheels beneath a beautifully finished wood exterior. As for the cushions -at a hefty extra charge- they didn’t look like much at first but on closer inspection, they were made like handbags with top-stitching and heavy weight leather…and manufactured with the same materials that Fendi uses…which is why they cost what they do!

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This sofa was the bees knees as far as I was concerned. Made of fiber glass, it would be great outside at the pool, in a trendy hotel lobby or on either side of a fireplace in a New York apartment. Covered in faux fur, there lots of other luscious options. Only negative: needs more padding for the bony-bottomed among you!

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And more Copper…

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Our friend, artist Pam Smilow, was at the show unveiling designs created in the 50’s and 60’s by her father. Here’s one example…

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For a bit of whimsy…or if you know the right people…Charm and Whimsy…we liked these wall-hung shapes in bright colors…and can imagine them flat on their backs marching down a dining room table!

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ICFF is not typically a kitchen and bath event, however we were impressed with this firm’s efforts to maximize unused counter and over-the-sink space. They also manufacture really cool, textured doors for older Ikea cabinets.

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Back in the copper category, we saw some GORGEOUS copper faucets. I LOVELOVELOVE this one:

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Finally, another surprise, is the resurgence of laminate products at a certain level. OCTOPUS produces some high octane beauties with life-like wood grain, snake-skin, bark, alligator and others too sensual to mention! I can see using these for pool houses, outdoor kitchens and commercial applications.

All in all a good show…and lots to inspire exciting design for years to come!

© 2012-2013 Design Discourse / Ask Kent and Co. All Rights Reserved

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