Each spring, I look forward to the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York, a four-day extravaganza where more than 800 exhibitors from around the globe display the latest furniture, lighting, flooring, and every other conceivable product for residential and commercial interiors. There’s always a contingent of talented designers and manufacturers using hardwood in creative and innovative ways, and this year was no exception. Here are three items that caught my eye.
With summer approaching, it’s natural to think about outdoor furniture. At ICFF I discovered a jaunty table and bench combo that would look equally good on an urban terrace or a suburban backyard. It’s made of American white oak, which can be left untreated to allow the wood to age naturally, or sealed with a clear stain to preserve the oak’s initial color. The powder-coated aluminum frame is available in an extraordinary 210 colors. The SR Outdoor Table Set is designed and produced by Scout Regalia, a small Los Angeles–based company established in 2008 by Benjamin Luddy and Makoto Mizutani, who aspire “to embody innovation, discipline, and inquisitiveness in all their work.” Mission accomplished!
District Mills, another Los Angeles–based design and fabrication studio, specializes in reclaimed wood and salvaged materials. They showed an item I never thought I’d describe as beautiful: a ping pong table. But this one boasted a natural walnut top—a gorgeous, nine-foot-by-five-foot expanse of fine-grained playing surface. It sits on an appropriately fine-boned base comprising a black steel frame with “clip” legs on brass levelers. The company, which clearly takes pride in its craftsmanship, says: “We hope that our pieces will continue to develop their histories as modern artifacts in the lives and environments of our customers.” That’s an aspiration we can all live with—and play on.
Drawing on a variety of traditions, from Midcentury Modernism to Scandinavian minimalism to American Shaker furniture, 57st. Design is a Chicago-based furniture brand that designs, manufactures, and retails its products in-house. I was taken with its collection of contemporary dressers, which are crafted in a variety of solid American hardwoods with a Danish oil and wax finish, or a Danish soap finish, where applicable. The six-drawer Forde Wideboy model, available in ash, cherry, or white oak, was my particular favorite, but any dresser can be made-to-order with custom dimensions and configurations. As 57st. Design puts it: “Our work tends towards considered simplicity: pieces that are strong, durable, meticulously proportioned, and visually understated.”