It was only a little more than six months ago that ICFF + WantedDesign held a November 2021 event at the Javits Center in NYC. But for 2022, they are back to the usual mid-May dates anchoring NYCxDesign. This is the first time the fairs were the main event at Javits without any other halls occupied. That resulted in the exhibition space feeling less crowded overall, being that there was another covid spike around NYC at the time, also for the better.
Overall the show was smaller than the pre-2019 days. It felt like it’s regressing back to a hardcore trade show and less of the diverse design show it was trying to become. WantedDesign greatly helped add some jazz to the event as you’ll see below.
As for highlights, Bernhardt Design presented new seating on expansive white floor pads. There’s some really elegant pieces in this collection reinforced by a palette of subdued hues.
ICFF Studio returned featuring a new group of prototypes by young designers. The majority of pieces were seating ranging from some very minimalist pieces to a few finely crafted wood chairs. ICFF Studio typically slants towards commercial viability so it’s typically not a platform that includes collector-oriented work.
Ferm Living had the most of the moment booth, exhibiting a mix of functional and cleanly designed pieces paired with pieces with a melted or hand-formed aesthetic.
This was the second edition of WantedDesign held at Javits following the fair’s departure from the Terminal Stores space (aka the Tunnel) in 2018. I miss the layout and vibe of the old space, maybe there was still some lingering atmosphere of when it functioned as one of NYC’s best nightclubs for many years. It was more friendly and relaxed mood versus the business and tense climate Javits breeds. There was a lot of work to take in packed into a pretty small area so I captured what stood out.
The ECO Solidarity booth was a highlight and part of what makes WantedDesign unique. The project was initiated in 2020 by the Polish Cultural Institute New York in partnership with WantedDesign and eight European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC organizations as an international, multidisciplinary initiative and to address the need for human-centered design in response to global humanitarian and public health crises. The exhibition was packed with forward looking material and design explorations that are worth learning more detail about on Wanted’s spotlight page.
Finally, School of Visual Arts (SVA) Products of Design students made a return to WantedDesign. Their annual design interventions over the years have brought a special social element to the fair. Re-Actors was a project created to explore ways to safety stimulate emotional experiences through semi-distanced physical interactions. A collection of five pieces were designed to attempt to stimulate dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in participants through a distanced hug, shared gaze, group lounge and auditory/olfactory stimulation. Here’s a great post by SVA’s PoD with more detail on this award winning project.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter