Typically following Milan’s supersize furniture fair, the launches at N.Y.C.’s smaller International Contemporary Furniture Fair can echo the Italians. This year’s more eclectic mix of furnishings and materials, however, was more likely to be touted as green. - David Sokol

The style council
The San Francisco–based Council, launched in 2007 invites various talents to submit designs for consideration and chooses its collection from the resulting entries. For its second year, Council plucked concepts from Cédric Ragot, whose Stabil nesting tables feature a powder-coated-steel tabletop cantilevered seemingly precariously from a string-thin, asymmetrical base. The One & Co–designed Periodic Table, a block of reclaimed fir beams sprayed in pure silver, is a first-ever technique that required a year of research to produce. Council, San Francisco. www.councildesign.com

[Reader Service: September 2008 #220]

Wily wires
Marking a push into the residential market, Herman Miller unveiled its Lifework Portfolio of furniture designed for home offices. The introduction includes Airia, by Rhode Island–based designers Ayako Takase and Cutter Hutton of Kaiju Studio.

The mixed-material desk features insightful details, such as a walnut lip that is curved where the forearms rest on the tabletop, and three covelike channels — as sensual as they are inconspicuous — for wire management. Herman Miller, Zeeland, Mich. www.hermanmiller.com

[Reader Service: September 2008 #221]

Tree people
Wallpaper manufacturer Graham & Brown invited students from London’s Central St. Martins to contribute designs for a new series printed in water-based ink on paper from managed timber sources, and shipped in compostable corn-based packaging. Of 22 proposals, the company chose to produce five Eco-Wallpaper designs, featuring patterns of birds, futuristic cars, tropical flora, concentric circles, and birdcages. Graham & Brown, Blackburn, United Kingdom. www.grahambrown.com

[Reader Service: September 2008 #222]

 

Convertible kitchen
Bulthaup’s new b2 kitchen system resembles old-fashioned workshops that contain only a few freestanding, mobile elements. A workbench hosts cooking and plumbing equipment, and a series of monolithic oak or walnut cabinets — Modernist versions of a kas (ornate Dutch movable closet or cabinet) — open up to contain layers of storage for tools, dry goods, and appliances. Bulthaup, Bodenkirchen, Germany. www.bulthaup.com

[Reader Service: September 2008 #223]

Textural textile
Like a paper wedding bell, Parametre expands from a 2" strip into a three-dimensional, rhythmically incised screen measuring as much as 14' x 16'. Made by ecoresin manufacturer 3form, Parametre is made entirely of nonwoven polyester with a 10 percent recycled content. The light-diffusing partitions can be hung vertically or horizontally in a variety of indoor and outdoor applications. Parametre by 3form, Salt Lake City. www.parametre.us

[Reader Service: September 2008 #224]

Screen gems
Handcrafted Japanese parchment, or washi, is an art with architectural ambitions. The company Precious Pieces, the only distributor of washi in the United States, collaborates with a studio to supply single-sheet parchments as large as 300 square feet in dynamic designs, such as Kumo (left), for applications ranging from doors, screens, and lamp shades. Precious Pieces, New York. www.precious-piece.com

[Reader Service: September 2008 #225]

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