|>interni (italy) 09.02
As New York gains greater momentum as a seemingly necessary stop on the circuit of international furniture fair events like the Salone del Mobile or the Cologne furniture fair, one has to ask the question, “What does New York, as a source of creativity in this industry, have to offer?” The answer is as obvious as it is deceiving. The ICFF and the host of satellite events that occur concurrently around the city in that short weekend in mid-May represent the American market and the American voice to the rest of the world. Visitors come to New York to experience the New York scene and the American designer’s point of view. Yet, New York is not America, as much as the offsite events are not the ICFF. The spattering of gallery and showroom exhibitions during the ICFF, from mid-town to SoHo, are international and local, independent and corporate, inclusive and exclusive. In true New York fashion, diversity rules even though it may lack definition. This year, more than in recent years, finding meaning in that diversity became more difficult than ever. Like a great melting pot, New York has become the sampler platter of all other fairs combined. It’s flavor range from Cappellini to Terminal-NYC and everywhere in between. With nearly 100 events packed into a few nights over one weekend, it’s nearly impossible to choose and even more difficult to actually acknowledge the work. The high profile events with brand named designers have gotten bigger and bigger, yet more exclusive in order to compete for the attention of the thousands of visitors here for the weekend looking for a party. Many smaller events attempted to follow suit and the results was a much greater emphasis on the party and less on the work.
While many independent events attracted visitors with more professional presentations and marketing, others simply hosted group shows with little or no attention paid to the ideas to tie their creative diversity together. B-side was an unfortunate example of this, while Commue managed to avoid such pitfalls with an impressive storefront installation. Other collaborative sprung up, but most lacked a cohesive vision to give their work identity. Two exceptions to this rule were Collaborative’s reflexively titled I Saw I Was I show and the Terminal-NYC event Intransit 2. Despite its conceptual beginnings as a traveling prototype show that never traveled, similar to the Victoria & Albert’s Milan in a Van exhibition, the Terminal show was spirited, open-minded, and smart. Although the pieces shared little in common besides their context, there seemed to be an irreverent humorous point of view that symbolically stood for and exploited the potential of all of the smaller independent shows. Surprisingly, the highlight of the show wasn’t furniture at all, but Tobi Wong’s I Want To Change The World book-gun, that ironically spoofs the self-importance of Karim Rashid’s like titled monograph cut into the shape of a gun. Tobi considers the project to be “a new icon of subversion” that continues his habit of design commentary through the manipulation of existing designer objects. Last year, you may remember, he presented the Starck Bubble Club chair turned into a lamp. Blah, blah, blah...