earth toned bespoke ceramics
Pascale Girardin Figura ii Group 13 Bespoke

Edgy Meets Experiential at ICFF’s 35th Anniversary Show

For the 35th anniversary of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which takes place May 19-21 in New York City, brand directors Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat set out to curate a more intimate, experiential fair—on a grand scale. “We’re excited to celebrate what we consider a new chapter for ICFF,” shares Hainaut, who previously helmed and cofounded WantedDesign along with Pijoulat. “We’re putting design back at the center of the show.”

Held in the midst of the city’s NYCxDESIGN festival, ICFF offers an expansive showcase of American-made and International products from more than 450 exhibitors, transforming the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center into a design hotspot. “Our main focus for ICFF and beyond is to foster stronger connections and commerce within the global design community,” add Hainaut and Pijoulat. “We are presenting content that is evenly split between U.S. and international exhibitors and providing a fresh and innovative perspective that appeals to a younger audience.” From ICFF Talks featuring changemakers on The Main Stage and The Oasis to a look at preserving craft traditions “At the Crossroads of American Design: Sustainability in Practice and Spirit,” which marks a collaboration between ICFF brand directors, creative director David Rockwell, and co-curator Pei-Ru Keh, the fair invites endless exploration.

What to Expect at This Year’s Refreshed ICFF in Manhattan

crossroads sign with pink flowers
The Crossroads offers a snapshot of American design in its many shapes and forms.

In a word, this year’s ICFF promises to be ultra relevant, with an eye toward young designers. “We redesigned the floor plan, creating pockets of activations within areas,” shares Pijoulat. “You don’t have to just go down aisles; it’s about creating an experience.” The 2024 edition also features more opportunities to connect than ever before, including dining areas and lounges. “WANTED has been renamed as an area, creating a destination for new talent,” notes Hainaut. “We’re finding a balance of established brands and younger, newer companies.” Attendees can expect more “edge,” the brand directors assert.

New areas and activations include: “Bespoke: The Art of Making,” which celebrates artisanal techniques; Design Schools Workshop, presented with Honda Design, a four-day course where students reimagine the future of mobility; OFS x ROOM, which is launching a design podcast called In the Room; The Library, in partnership with Phaidon, which will feature activations around a newly released design book; and The Water Studio x Grohe Lounge, a buzzy space to connect in the Kitchen + Bath area of the show.

stools with earth tone hues
Seating by Dry Dock Studio featured in the Look Book section of the show.

Sustainability remains a focus too, from products on display to the fair’s construction. For the last three years, Hainaut and Pijoulat have opted to eliminate carpet from show flooring to cut down on waste. They also are renting walls rather than building partitions and reusing signage. “We’re trying, with gestures, to inform the industry that we care and a lot can be done,” says Pijoulat. “As a design company, there is a responsibility to be sustainable.”

As for the brand directors, the 35th edition of ICFF marks their first foray into putting the show together from its start. “We could not say no,” says Hainaut of being asked to curate the event, noting that ICFF is a natural progression from WantedDesign, which the duo started in 2011 to create community and showcase emerging talent. “If we decided not to do it, then we’d be going against everything we’ve been working toward,” adds Pijoulat. This year’s show marks the culmination of their work to date, delivering plenty of ‘wow factor’ and a few welcome surprises.

Learn more about the 2024 edition of ICFF, and see the full program.

a curbed pink armchair by BNF Studio
BNF Studio will showcase its inaugural furniture collection featuring the mt. curve big chair shown here, in the Look Book section.
earth toned bespoke ceramics
Atelier Pascale Girardin’s Figura II on display in the Bespoke section of the show.
a vibrant textile
Madrid-based Black Oveja’s to Salt panel on display in Launch Pad.
a lighting sconce by mushlume
Brooklyn-based MushLume showcases their lighting designs in Look Book.
velvet yellow couches
The 2024 edition of ICFF features more lounge and activation areas to invite connection.

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