The pandemic has disrupted many things in our lives, trade shows being among the most noticeable, especially for older people like me. As I’ve indicated previously, I believe these shows have one foot on a roller skate and the other on a banana peel. COVID just oiled the surface. I think the way industry responds in 2023 will provide a good indication of whether they are down for the count. This, of course, depends on a virus-free 12-months. Additional variants of Mr. C and all bets are off.
Even though the 2021 version of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) was just six months ago, to hop back into their typical mid-May schedule, another edition just occurred. Because if lacked the BDNY “half” featured in the fall of 2021, the 2022 outing was smaller. There also appeared to be fewer people. The shops, showrooms and galleries of New York showed minimal change as well. Nonetheless, there were new things and items that forced notice. This post discusses just the lighting. A future post will talk about the “non-lighting” items of interest.
First, Tom Dixon taught us copper was ok, then he told us gold/brass is coming. He moved from simple shaped metal shades to blown glass orbs and now the blown glass has taken on a distorted, amorphous “melted” shape. The Melt shades are huge, or small and multiples are pulled into chandeliers. The exciting option this year is a polished, black nickel, or metallic black option that carries a subtle purple tint. An LED disc/module tucked up into the shade provides illumination.
Artemide appears to have gotten the message from Tom Dixon and has produced Stellar Nebular, a collection of quasi-symmetrical, dichromatic clear glass pendants that appear simple, but alter in appearance and color as you move around them.
Arrival borrows similar amorphous shapes, but relegates them to a tripod frames. The skeletal outlines feature LED built into the rails. Table lamps, floor lamps and semi-flush ceiling units have been created. I love the extremely long semi-flush. This size is needed and should be more popular than it is currently. These are not yet available in the US and still a few weeks away in Europe, but I feel they will be worth the wait.
A fun additions to their line this year. Based on the monumental bust of Nefertiti, the Nile lamp diffuser resembles her head and crown, while the lamp base is shaped like her neck and shoulder.
In all of the ICFF show floor, I was most impressed with a new approach to track lighting. The Multiverse is an extremely thin track. Endcaps are available flat and rounded. They can transition from ceiling to wall mounting. The adjustable heads have a magnetic feature that allows them to be momentarily set in place, before a collar is then tightened into position. The track is paintable and available in a wide variety of finishes. This is a substantially more appealing track system and should be considered for a different answer to a common lighting solution.
Perhaps not new or earthshattering, but the leather cone pendants from Cuero Design were beautiful. The variety of natural, vegetable dye finishes was also appealing. As we transition to more beige interiors, these colors and simple shapes will fit in nicely.
You might have thought, fiber optics have had their day and it is time to move on to the next technological trend. Certainly, LED and laser lighting is more exciting. Sharon Marston has created a collection of ethereal, phantasy-based luminaires that when shown, collectively stopped the show traffic. Employing the thin fiber strands, tiny crystal figures and miniature glass diffusers, you were immediately relaxed and brought into a new plane of existence. These were beautiful pieces.
Jamie Harris Studio
Jamie Harris is a Brooklyn glass blower and he has shown products at a number of New York venues over the years. The stacked discs pendants and ceiling units are appealing. They expand across large areas and the individual disc is smooth, polished and alive with color.
This is an Australian company with a modern version of Moroccan lighting. The Ma-Rock is an all metal pendant collection, pierced to allow light movement. It is a dominant piece that will command a space, just like its classic predecessors.
The Gweilo collection takes acrylic panels and melts or distorts them into floor lamps whereby the LED edge lights the contorted shape. Despite the clear material, like their Ma-Rock brother, these would demand a central point in a room and cannot not be ignored.
This Georgia based lighting designer has developed a line of simple, clean and unassuming products. They almost have a light, “trapeze” feel with a heightened sense of construction and a deep understanding of the way in which the units are connected to the building.
Tom Kirk Lighting
As with Katy Skelton, the simple quasi-teardrop shape of the Cintola collection appears unassuming, but with multiple colors and configurations, the core design element bubbles up into a useful luminaire baseline.
Talbot & Yoon
Their Loop Light is an easy concept with which to create unique and customizable wall art lighting. By piecing together bent segments of tube with a ball lampholder, an endless trail of lights and curves can be presented on a wall.
Some of the science of light is telling us we may need more light delivered from vertical surfaces. Adding that light via an artistic approach such as this will make the clinical necessity much more palatable.
In the United States, there is no more unique city than New Orleans, so it makes sense that Swadoh, the byproduct of a French designer who has relocated there, would be creating such unique lighting options. They have a very feminine feel made of papers, fabric, guilt accents and some conventional materials. Their different approach is worth a quick review of their website. They could be an interesting addition to many interiors.
Koncept always shows a new idea that answers a current lighting problem. This year, Yurei is a shallow pendant shade realized in glass (teal tint, clear, copper-bronze and black smoke) and metal (white and black). The illumination comes from a disc of LED that sits against the inside top surface. I like the size of these pieces. They have not yet been released to the market, but if interested, Koncept will notify those who sign-up on their website.
The new Benedict collection starts with two nested spheres that surround a glass globe. This module is then used in a couple of sizes and singularly, as a pendant and in multiples as a chandelier. Because they are handmade, many customizable options are available.
Of the many new products created each year, it is sometimes difficult to get a grasp on them all. While I worry about the validity of shows like ICFF and even the retail establishments that are slowly dwindling in SOHO, lower Park Avenue and the Flatiron District, I still appreciate their existence. Speaking for people my age, I need these physical entities to exist a few more years. Younger folks, apparently, have found better, more efficient ways to track new goods. A transition is now in place. Until that is complete, I’ll continue to record trend shifts coming to me in the only way I understand.