April 1, 2013 | Alex
Steel yourselves! Today's the day I round-up my favorite furniture, lighting and home accessories from the Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2013.
While I typically like to sniff out affordable art (and even surprised myself by gravitating towards so many textile booths), I think it's safe to say that the furniture and lighting is the AD Show's main attraction for the general public. Oh sure, the trade attendees get hopped up on eco-friendly flooring, invisible electrical outlets and custom European kitchens that cook 4-course meals at the command of an iPhone app, but many of those vendors are to-the-trade only. And unless you're embarking on a massive renovation, those types of items might not be on your shopping list. Us peons in the "General Admission" section all made a b-line over to furniture and lighting.
Before I dive into my favorite trends from the show, I'd like to say an obligatory word about George Nakashima-inspired fine woodworking. In my limited experience with trade shows in the past 3 years, live edge furniture with mid-century influence is ubiquitous. It's extraordinarily beautiful. And if money was no object, I would kill to have a walnut slab bed with build-in side tables. But when I'm in a windowless, cacophonous airplane hangar jam-packed with people and products, my eyes tend to glaze over at the sight of another live edge dining table. It's not that I don't covet one desperately or appreciate the skill that went into it, it's just...a little predictable?
So in the spirit of blogging about what excites me most, I'm going to assume you're aware that live edge furniture a) exists and b) is wildly popular, and instead direct this post to a few fresh and fun trends that caught my eye.
Trend: Wood, Meet Color
In my imagination, David Rasmussen, on whom I have a big fat design crush, takes the proverbial hand of a richly conditioned slab of walnut and says solemnly, "Wood, I'd like you to meet Chartreuse." And when Walnut lays eyes on that vibrant jolt of color, he knows he'll never feel whole without her. Thus Rassmussen brokered one of the greatest design marriages of our time, memorialized by his WUD plates. True story.
I'm happy to see the trend is catching on. I do love mid-century lines, but as I alluded to in my diatribe above, it can get a smidge repetitive in the trade show context. But give the classic shapes and woodworking techniques a kick-in-the-pants with some color and, suddenly, my eyes register it as a new and exciting trend. I like the way the color serves to enhance the natural beauty of the wood. You'd think it might upstage and outshine the natural wood tones, but the reverse is true-- the contrast further showcases the wood:
Sources (clockwise from top left)
- Sof_Gregario, Antonio Manaigo Design Studio
- WUD Plates, David Rasmussen Furniture Design
- v4 Arm Chair, Skram Furniture Company
- Atlantic 30", Hatched Furniture Design
- Curve A Linear Side Table, David Rasmussen Furniture Design
- Driftwood Hooks, Kielmead - $25 ea.
I initially thought I'd group these objects under the title "sculptural objects"-- but these shapes struck me as far more than just sculptural. To me, they read extraterrestrial. From Furthur Design's blown glass flying saucers, to Palo Samko's alien-like wall mirrors and J. Liston Design's starship-turned coffee table, I definitely identified a sci-fi theme in a lot of my favorite pieces.
Sources (clockwise from top left)
- Paper and Wire Lamp, Patrick Weder Design
- Earth Groove Series, Furthur Design - $150 - $210
- Leather Round Mirror, Palo Samko
- Strata Display + Organizer, In.Sek Design - $200
- Bangle Table, J. Liston Design
Trend: Modern Dining Chairs
In my wanderings, I tend to see dining chairs that fit into one of three categories: 1) traditional; 2) iconic modern and 3) Ikea. It was refreshing to see so many modern dining chairs that, while they may take cues from the design pantheon, still felt like a unique and interesting choice.
Admit it, wouldn't it be kind of satisfying if your design buff friends walked into your apartment and stared intently at your dining chairs in a state of confusion. And then you caught them discretely checking under the seat for a makers mark? Instead of the usual "Oh, I like your [insert: Eames, Panton, Wegner, Saarinen, Thonet, Risom, Cherner, Bertoia, blah, blah, blah] dining chairs." Because friendship is really about stumping the people you love.