Lighting it Up at ICFF
I expect to be blown away when I attend the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City. From boutique wallcoverings to benchmade furniture, the show is a wellspring of new product discoveries outside the mainstream. This year, the most memorable exhibits consisted of lighting fixtures. Seeing the creativity and complexity of the designs reinforced how a single lighting fixture can be the sine qua non of an interior design.
The most interesting and jaw-dropping fixtures were made from novel materials assembled in unusual and artistic ways. Twenty-three year-old Jim Torres, an industrial designer from the Philippines, debuted an interesting pendant for Zarate Manila made from metal shavings. Cloud-like in form, the Escapade fixtures seemed to float in air. Lamped with typical incandescent light bulbs, the fixtures would be extraordinary if lamped with more efficient and concentrated lighting elements.
Venzon Lighting's Cherry Blossom Linear Pendant was also cloud-like in structure. Blossoms made of shell are adhered to a painted aluminum frame.
Venzon's Sea Grass Collection had a decidedly organic feel. The wall sconce cast interesting shadows from its reticulated shade.
Cast shadows were a prominent feature of the Beacon pendant introduced by Allied Maker. Cylindrical in form, the fixture is inspired by the work of George Nakashima, renown architect, master woodworker and father of American craft. Casting light up and down, the vertical pendants and sconces come in a variety of lengths and are especially dramatic when grouped. All of Allied Maker's fixtures are made in the company's Long Island, New York workshop and are hand-finished.
Light and shadow, illumination and reflectance--these qualities are the essence of the sculptural Lure Sconce exhibited by Pelle Designs. Hand-sculpted petals made of cast paper are illuminated by an LED spotlight suspended from a brass arc. The spotlight reveals the intricate layers of the blossom while the white petals reflect and illuminate the surroundings.
Form, pattern, texture and illuminance categorize the multiple offerings from Axo Light. Simple linear and geometric shapes are evident in their U-Light, Framework and Hoops fixtures. The U-Light, introduced at ICFF, is an aluminum U-shaped frame with an attached ring embedded with an LED strip. Its form is at once simple, yet monumental.
Axo Light's Framework is a collection of wall, ceiling and pendant fixtures in the shape of a simple rectangle. Layering the fixtures at different heights and angles creates an abstract assemblage.
Axo Light's Hoops fixture packs a concentrated LED up and downlight in a sculptural pendant finished in 24 karat gold. Its lines are sinuous and elegant, yet equally contemporary.
Adjacent to Hoops, above, is Axo Light's Mountain View fixture, made of hand-blown glass, revealing the texture and silhouette of rugged mountain peaks.
Pattern adorned the shade of Axo Light's Melting Pot pendant and wall fixtures. The shades are available in light patterns with white inside or dark patterns with gold inside. The asymmetric juxtaposition of pattern and form are a surprise element.
I always like to see the work of Michael McHale Designs at ICFF. Like me, Michael left a law career to do something more creative. His lighting fixtures combine the elegant and the mundane: for example, a skeletal structure of industrial pipes dripping with faceted crystals. His Matrix collection uses a universal base, allowing buyers to swap out the design elements as their tastes or fancies change.