Every May, the New York design industry showcases what’s new and next – taking over the city’s boroughs in a marathon month that encompasses five fairs (ICFF, Wanted Design Brooklyn and Manhattan, Sight Unseen, and Brooklyn Designs) and countless events, in what seems more like a cultural event than a trade show. This year’s edition saw cross-disciplinary collaborations, show stopping showroom installations, emerging independent work and passionate debates amongst industry thought leaders – the most ambitious yet! A non-stop party for the eyeballs and constant inspiring “aha!” moments — we’ve distilled the whole spectrum of events into our top four lasting impressions. Let’s begin.

1. BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN INDOOR, OUTDOOR AND BEYOND

Lighter, brighter surrounds to enhance productivity and wellbeing is the resounding focus for interiors this year. We saw strong botanical influences in lighting, flooring and furniture throughout showrooms and installations, combining natural elements with conventionally indoor settings and products to give environments a new and fresh perspective.

Top left: Kartell lighting. Top right, clockwise: WANTED Design Manhattan installation, Tom Dixon showroom, Kartell floral lighting, Deloitte Digital NYC ceiling. Bottom right: Luvere Studio at Wanted Manhattan. Bottom left, clockwise: Kartell & and La Double J Collaboration – seating and prints, Alessandra Branca interiors, Marcia Tucker interiors, A/D/O initiative.

The “mash up” of different environments creates a fully realised experience and we’re seeing this approach extend further with selected elements from spaces such as work, theatre, hospitality and outdoor combining and coexisting to reflect a more connected and integrated environment. Spaces are evolving to enhance our experience and benefit our wellbeing and lives. 

The Etsy mission fully realised through their new Brooklyn, New York HQ by Genzler. Image via http://bit.ly/2xPDNyP
Revealing the local landscape, beauty of Japanese history, craft and materials whilst highlighting the delicate cuisine to create geographically relevant materials and a fully immersive space by the Rockwell Group. Images via http://bit.ly/2JB7rN1

2. MEMPHIS MAXIMALISM

In case you’ve been living off the grid the past year, the 80s Memphis design movement has reemerged featuring loud colours and punchy graphics with maximum appeal to the visual currency of Instagram. As in the past, it seems this resurgence of maximalism is reactive to the abundance of sleek, “tasteful”, mid-century minimalism which has become so repetitive. The look has extended beyond fashion to become extensive installations seen at Sasha Bikoff’s technicolour staircase, Raquel’s Dream House and Camille Walala’s monolithic mural of an Industry City building facade… amongst others.

Top left, clockwise: Sasha Bikoff staircase, Ettore Sottsass Ultrafragola mirror and Steve Leonard gold chairs, Camille Walala mural, Raquel Cayre x Vibes Studio coloured stairs, R & Company furniture, Raquel’s Dream House Pink Cookie Monster, Barbara Ostrom Associates ceiling, Aliahn and Annie at Dream Machine Museum.
Staircase views by Sasha Bikoff Interiors at the Kips Bay Designer Showhouse.
Gaetano Pesce at Raquel’s Dream House.

An emerging theme at the Kips Bay Designer Showhouse – Maximalism is also taking on a 70s retro glamour look with chunky geometries, clean lines, tubular forms, soft furnishings and graphic patterns in muted, pastel colours such as peachy terracota, sage, olive green and mustards. We’re also seeing spots of bold retro colour and metallic finishes to add more luxury and glamour – taking strong influences from the fashion industry. Many cross-disciplinary collaborators this year included trendy downtown boutiques such as Opening Ceremony, Creatures of Comfort and Philip Lim in Sight Unseen’s curatorial project, further emphasising fashion’s collide with furniture and interiors this year.

Top row from L to R: Stefan Steil Interiors, DDC gold chair, Enylee Parker at ICFF. 2nd row from L to R: Drake / Anderson lighting, Rosie Li at ICFF, Emotional Brands at ICFF. Bottom row from L to R: R and Company “SuperDesign” leopard works, Opening Ceremony x Crosby Studios for Sight Unseen, MOOOI showroom.
Seductive salon moods by Drake / Anderson for the Kips Bay Design Showhouse.

3. EXPRESSION, MOVEMENT & PERSPECTIVES

Its been a tough year for brick and mortar retailers, with a string of closures on previously bustling streets, which explains showrooms and retail spaces thinking deeper and exploring the potential of the physical space. Kartell, Tom Dixon and MOOOI (just to name a few) covered every inch of their space with sensorially magical compositions through colour, form, materiality and sound. It was an organised flow through the set-ups, a journey of exploration to uncover moments of surprise and delight. The time spent in the space was memorable, conversations were created and connections were formed not only with each other but with the uniquely designed environment.

Surprise and delight moments at the new Tom Dixon showroom launch on Greene St, NYC.

Designs are more expressive with familiar products now in motion and changing to redefine our experiences. Objects need to be observed from different angles to see the entire perspective and its varying forms such as Tom Dixon’s new MELT range – giving birth to completely new designs and expressions. We attended an exhibit of upcoming artists who created multi-disciplinary works with emotion and expressions of feeling as the core function – re-thinking built constructs.

Emerging artists creating work with emotion as function at the ‘Thing-like Being’ exhibit

New developments such as OLED and 3D-knitting technology allows common products to be flexible, with new possibilities to bend and move. The Spun Chair phenomenon by Thomas Heatherwick for Magis gives conventional materials a twist and adds rotational movement to the sitting experience. Technology is advancing traditional materials, manufacturing and application, allowing us to rethink and experiment to provoke change, more expression and dynamic uses.

Top Left: Rhode Island School of Design works. Top right: Luke Lamp Company. Bottom right, clockwise: MOOOI stool with moving tassels, MOLO shape shifting urchin light at ICFF, The Coast Studio Either/Or lighting concept. Bottom left: Susan on the Spun Chair by Thomas Heatherwick for Magis.
Vases by Gaetano Pesce made by resin to add movement and expression, reimagining conventional forms

4. INTERGALACTIC WONDERS

If Elon Musk is doing it, it must be worth exploring! The moon, stars, space and beyond have always been sources of inspiration but there seems to be a larger focus on the subtle textures, forms and abstract interpretations this year. We saw cosmic drivers throughout our visit in installations, lightings and furnishings – an influence we’re interested to see develop into the stupendous wonder and mystery that our galaxy inhabits.

Top left, clockwise: MOOOI showroom, Liz Collins Cave of Secrets installation, Artemide Skydro, Artemide Light, ABC Home cushion, Richard Clarkson Studio cloud light, Wanted Design Manhattan Lighting, ABC Home Moon Table.
Lighting by Ayala Serfaty

… and some more splendid moments from NYCxDESIGN below.

Spring time in Lower East Side, Manhattan NYC.
The Principal’s “Golden Arch” installation for Sight Unseen at Saturdays NYC.
Heavenly Bodies at the Met.
The Sharpley family before SOHO Design District opening night.

What an absolute feast for the senses! It was a trip that made us wish for more hours in the day AND collapse from over stimulation at the same time – so many inspiring and motivating moments to take away.  We’ve tried our hardest to condense our thoughts into four main takeaways but if you’d like more information please get in touch via aming@tsar.com.au. 

 

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TSAR Designer Julia Gentil

With major collections under her belt, TSAR Carpets and Rugs designer Julia Gentil is inspired by the world around her. Whether it’s in the form of scattered leaves, a concrete path or a rural lake, Gentil is fully aware of the potential TSAR Rugs and Carpets provides for all spaces. What’s most important for Gentil is her direct awareness of the potential rug designs have on all of our daily and visual experiences. Gentil’s background is accomplished, and innovative to say the least. Her hi-end retail branding experience in Sydney led her to Melbourne where she transitioned her skills and began to dedicate her time to the passionate and creative team at TSAR.

Tell us how you got started with TSAR, and all it’s wonderful beginnings?

I started working with TSAR in 2010. With a background in hi-end retail branding in Sydney, I had enjoyed a transition into rug design specializing in handknotted rugs. When I moved to Melbourne and joined TSAR I had to translate that knowledge across to hand tufted rugs and learn the business. TSAR is a family owned company with a team of dedicated and passionate people. With all the idiosyncrasies that come with a smaller company, there also comes a huge amount of autonomy and potential to create and push boundaries. TSAR is unique in this way. There is an ethos of celebrating the new and constantly challenging the known.

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From the Mirage Collection in “Thirlmere Cardamom”

What collections have you designed for TSAR Carpets and Rugs?  

I have designed many one offs, custom client designs and collections for TSAR. Among my favorite are:
– Individual House Colleciton rugs: Autumnal and Berridale 2011
The Royale Collection 2012 (Brocade Royale, Patti, Doiley and Castallo)
– co-creating the Mirage Collection 2013 (Thirlmere and Jindabyne)
The Neva Fade Collection 2014
The Aquarelle Collection 2014
The Cetak Collection 2015 (Daun, Renda, Pita etc)

Autumnal Fawn
“Autumnal Fawn”- An original design by Julia Gentil

 

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“Berridale Dusk” – An original design by Julia Gentil 
Autumnal Fawn Stairs
“Autumnal Fawn” Stairs

What made these collections successful in your opinion?

The jury is still out on the latest ones as to whether they are a success. It is really over time (9-18mths) where we see what has worked. Often we will have a range online and/or in the showroom and it will get lots of admiration but not actually take off commercially until after 8-9 months. Internally we like to console ourselves by exclaiming that we are “ahead of our time”. In general terms though, a collection that both aesthetically and conceptually engages with contemporary colours and themes, is forgiving to everyday living and fits into comfortable price ranges tend to succeed in Australia.

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From the Aquarelle Collection in “Fabien”

What inspires you to bring your designs and visions to life?

Mostly I’m inspired by what’s around me. Whether it be scattered autumn leaves on the concrete path, a reflection of reeds at twilight on a rural lake, the splotches of a water colour palette… it is a real joy to be living with an awareness of potential rug designs in any visual experience. It keeps me on my toes and my eyes open to the textures and details of life.

 

Loft interior with brick wall and coffee table. 3d rendering
From the Cetak Collection in “Renda Mist”

What’s the one piece of advice you can give to a TSAR Customer shopping for a prospective rug or carpet?

My advice is consistent. Take a photo of your space you need “rugged”. Measure up, take pictures of anything that surrounds the space, paintings, lighting, the view. Collect swatches from the upholstery in the room and note what colour timbers are used if any. Set yourself a budget and take this information to a TSAR consultant. And then trust them. TSAR have been doing this a long time and are really good at tailoring the best design for the space. The best designs have come from the brief being thorough to begin with.

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From the Cetak Collection in “Pita Fig”

TSAR has a prolific portfolio, spanning just over 30 years. Where do you see the future of TSAR at this moment in time?

TSAR have been tackling the US market for the last few years and this has been both challenging and exciting for the business. It has opened up doors for bigger markets and therefore more diverse aesthetics. I work a lot on R&D and the US potential has allowed this to be feasible. Exploring new fibers, techniques and suppliers all rely on having the market to embrace it. –