A marriage of technology and craft (even if it is created by a machine) prevailed at three of the design industry’s standout tradeshows this May. Because the Milan Furniture Fair in Italy, NYCxDesign in New York City, and Coverings, a tile industry exposition in Atlanta all attracted global crowds of exhibitors and attendees, the prevailing theme should not be dismissed.
Here’s a recap of the big ideas SNAP found at each event.
Salone Del Mobile, Milan
Milan’s annual design fair attracted more than 434,500 attendees from 188 countries— a 26 percent increase compared with last year’s crowd of 343,602 and proof “that the Salone del Mobile is a global benchmark” for the design community, according to Claudio Luti, the president of the fair and furniture manufacturer Kartell.
A highlight was SaloneSatellite, the portion of the fair devoted to promoting young designers and “imagining” how future generations will do business, focused on designs from Africa & Latin America curated by Hicham Lahlou and by Studio Campana, respectively. Meanwhile, rising Nigerian-American designer Ini Archibong caused a stir with his glazed ceramic tables among other furnishings for Sé’s Below the Heavens collection.
Beyond the fairgrounds in Piazza Cesare Beccaria, the firm Massimiliano Locatelli | CLS Architetti stunned with 3D Housing 05, a 1,076-square-foot 3D-printed concrete house produced entirely by machine on the spot.
Atlanta, too, had its moments as the tile show Coverings attracted 25,000 pros to see its 1100 exhibitors. Many of the annual show’s most innovative products were from Tile of Spain and Ceramics of Italy manufacturers. Trending styles included tiles with either hand-painted or almost sculptural projecting surfaces and others featuring digitally printed images the size of wall murals.
ICFF, New York City
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in Manhattan is the centerpiece of NYCxDesign held at the Javits Center. This year’s showfloor was punctuated by a slew of unvarnished Shaker-inspired wood seating at booths such as Scandinavian Spaces, rope baskets at Basatti, and Ethiopian-made artisan rugs and pillows at the Bolé Road Textiles table in Brooklyn Designs’ pavilion. The crafts-y offerings mingled with solar panels from Tesla, student presentations on augmented reality and even illuminated sink drains and voice-activated mirrors by Kohler.
WantedDesign extended New York’s design week with Open Studios that featured the works of more than 100 artists and designers at Industry City in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, at its Manhattan location in Chelsea, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York hosted Zero Space Bistro, a zero waste dining experience where the tables, counters, plates and seating were all built of recycled and recyclable materials.