As design industry professionals converge in New York this week, Art Center College of Design is prominently featured as part of the 25th annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), taking place May 18–21. Attracting more than 26,000 professionals from the worlds of interior design, architecture, retail, manufacturing, distribution and development, ICFF is considered North America’s premier showcase for contemporary design.
Leading the College’s presence at this influential summit is David Mocarski, chair of graduate and undergraduate Environmental Design.
Art Center’s Booth 3016 at the show’s main venue, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, features an exhibition of work by eight students in the College’s Environmental Design program, and presents visitors an opportunity to mingle with the design community and learn more about the undergraduate and graduate programs.
Additionally, several alumni are represented in the prestigious ICFF Studio, which serves as a platform to match selected designers and their products with potential manufacturers.
It all takes place during NYCxDesign, a city-wide design celebration continuing through May 21 and packed with events and showcases.
Kicking off the festivities on Thursday, May 16, is Influencing Change, the Art Center Alumni Party at the headquarters of global retail design firm Eight Inc. Founded by alumnus and Art Center Trustee Tim Kobe, the enterprise is known for developing long-term successful campaigns for some of the most beloved brands including Apple, Nokia, Citibank, Virgin Atlantic and Nike. Joining Kobe in leading the firm are fellow alums and principals Wilhelm Oehl and Mayumi Seto.
Mocarski and Product Design Chair Karen Hofmann will be circulating among partygoers sharing news from Art Center and the latest developments regarding its design industry partnerships.
The ICFF Studio is presented by ICFF and Bernhardt Design, a longtime corporate partner and collaborator with Art Center. The judges reviewed hundreds of designers’ portfolios to decide who would occupy the 11 coveted spots at the event. This year, three Art Center alumni were chosen for that honor: David Okum, Brandon Kim and Jonathan Rowell.
Furniture designer David Okum was chosen as one of eight Designers to Watch in an ICFF preview feature by Interior Design magazine, one of the event’s primary sponsors. He is also on the shortlist for the Wallpaper and Ketel One Vodka Modern Craft Project competition. The winner receives support and funding to take their work to the next level and global exposure through Wallpaper platforms. Okum believes in a hands-on approach of experimentation in materials and processes, creating designs of complexity and simplicity. Interior Design describes Okum as a stand out because his minimalist desktop accessories yield maximum impact when rendered in solid aluminum, American walnut, solid surfacing or white maple. Visitors can find his work in Booth 974.
Returning to ICFF after debuting his outdoor poolside chaise last year is Brandon Kim, who was exposed to design from an early age, growing up with a fine artist for a father and a fashion designer for a sister. While at Art Center, Brandon has learned that, as a designer, the mission is not only to design our world to be more beautiful, but to be more meaningful. His work, Solace, will be featured in Booth 1073.
Jonathan Rowell is a San Francisco-based designer who combines his experience in consumer products and manufacturing and applies it to his furniture. His lamp, Screw Me, is made out of anodized aluminum and stainless steel and can be found in Booth 870.
Art Center instructors are also making a strong showing at ICFF.
Environmental faculty member Ben Luddy is exhibiting in Booth 2352. His firm, Scout Regalia, is a Los Angeles- based, multitasking design practice “obsessed” with the design and fabrication of space, furniture, home products, graphic identities, material processes and sustainable living.
The work of Product faculty member and alumnus Javier Palomares in collaboration with David Okum for a newly formed company known as Palokum Studio can be seen in Booth 955.
Alumnus Nolen Niu (Booth 1400) established Nolen Niu, Inc. in 2005, a Southern California custom furniture design and fabrication firm providing services for retail, residential and individual clients.
A concurrent New York Design Week confab, WantedDesign, founded in 2011, offers design lovers exhibitions of international talent, a rich conversation series and workshops, in addition to an Architecture & Design Film Festival. Most venues are in the landmark Terminal Stores building on 11th Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets.
Four Art Center designers are participating in the WantedDesign Challenge: Water Cycle where they will be tasked, in just three days (May 17–20), to develop a product or systems-based solution that addresses the planet’s shrinking water supply.
Art Center Environmental Designers Tony Chiu and Evan Liao, with Product Design students Kristina Marrero and Wen Han, will be assigned to teams that bring together participants from design schools in New York, Mexico City, Paris and L.A.
On Monday, May 20, the public has a chance to vote for the best student project and winners will be announced later that day. Cindy Allen, editor-in-chief of Interior Design is heading up the jury.
Art Center alumna Zorine Pooladian was selected to showcase a new lighting design, LUCIN, at WantedDesign in collaboration with Neal Feay Studio, the award-winning, global leader in creative aluminum.
There are so many Art Center-affiliated designers featured at this industry celebration, and we’ve done our best to offer a comprehensive view in this story. However, we realize we may be missing a few. If you discover more, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or #artcenteraticff.