#46 - People

Opinion: What We Loved at ICFF

Courtesy of ICFF

Attending the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Javitt’s Center in New York City recently was like letting loose my inner five-year-old in a fun house. The colors, lines and textures were treats to the senses!  

As an unabashedly passionate lover of design, I set out from my Fort Lauderdale, Florida home to unleash our luxury custom finishes on the world. At AxolotlFL, we create beautiful, bespoke surfaces in semi-precious metals, concrete or terra cotta. With over 2,000 designs and many patinas, ICFF is truly where art meets architecture—a natural fit to take meetings and see how synergy could be found amongst the other designers. 

Learn more about AxolotlFL finishes here.

Bronze Viper Basin. Courtesy of Axolotl.

Bronze Viper Basin. Courtesy of Axolotl.

With a very broad range of applications, from feature walls, front doors, flooring and furniture, to garage doors, gates, screens, elevators and more, we knew we’d find potential partners. 

And, we did. But I found so much more. Several products and artists really stood out from the crowd. These were my faves. 

Cosmopolitan Glass 

You can’t miss Lillian Gorbachincky or her stunning cracked glass and metal designs. One dining table, created especially for the show, blew us away: a violet and mirror cracked glass with bronze metal accents, which took her six weeks to make. Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lillian started her brand in 2006 experimenting with glass and it has evolved from there.  This woman is a very talented artist, working with world-renowned architects and designers like Peter Marino, Gensler and Tony Chi and brands like Tiffany & Co. and Graff diamonds

Cosmopolitan Glass, INC. is the industry’s leading manufacturer of custom architectural and decorative laminated glass.

Cosmopolitan Glass

Courtesy of Cosmopolitan Glass


Based in Austin, Texas, Wakanine brings interesting lighting designers from around the globe to the attention of the American market. Waka means “canoe” in the Maldi language, the native language of New Zealand. There were eight tribal wakas that founded New Zealand, Wakanine founder John Cook is the 9th, hence the name. 

Sustainability and green products are core tenets of the brand, and Cook took me through each of the four artists featured at ICFF—David Trubridge, IQ Commercial, Angus Hutcheson and Stephen Pikus—, all of whom I loved. Find the products they presented here.


Lighting designs by David Trubridge. Courtesy of Wakanine

David Trubridge

Bamboo and component-based, David Trubridge designs come in a small kitset, flat pack, if you will, but that can be assembled into quite large fixtures.  The bamboo he uses is a byproduct of the food industry in China, where the extra or dormant bamboo used for the shoots is turned into plywood, some specific for his designs.

IQ Commercial

IQ Commercial is a New Zealand design firm that specializes in enhancing workplace environments, a team of top designers from around the world create their designs. The Hush, an acoustic, domed fixture made from felt that is 65% derived from post consumer waste, was featured at the show. We actually stood under it to do our interview, and it really did block some of the noise in the convention center.  It’s a cool looking design, which acts like a noise sponge. The Hush comes in three sizes and 12 colors.

Acoustic Lighting Hush. Courtesy of IQ Commercial.

Acoustic Lighting Hush. Courtesy of IQ Commercial.

Angus Hutcheson

Angus Hutcheson is a British designer living in Bangkok, Thailand, Angus’ Ango collection uses silkworm cocoons, mulberry bark, rattan and metal filigree to create his lighting designs. I loved the bright raspberry color and the unusual, yet pleasing textures.

Ango pendant for Wakanine. Ango Collection by Angus Hutcheson. Courtesy of Wakanine.

Ango pendant for Wakanine. Ango Collection by Angus Hutcheson. Courtesy of Wakanine.

Stephen Pikus

From South Africa, Steven Pikus featured two lines at ICFF. Truk is upcycled diesel engine air truck filters, which he finds at the end of their lives in dumpsters or ravines, removes any of the toxic materials, cleans them up and electroplates or powder coats them. The other collection is Fire & Ice, recycled glass from bottles, so you can have a Bombay Sapphire blue fixture or a Tanguery green, but he also recycles architectural glass, like from the side of a demolished building.

Steven Pikus

Courtesy of Steven Pikus

He utilizes a team of people who are recovering addicts and ex-cons to help him manufacture his pieces, so it’s also very much a social project as much as a design one.

Stephen Pikus and team working on Truk. Courtesy of Stephen Pikus.

Stephen Pikus and team working on Truk. Courtesy of Stephen Pikus.


I loved the lush meets organic vibe of the pieces created by Helena Sultan, founder of Konekt. Think horse hair, brass and velvet stools and ottomans and boiled wool sculptural chaises. A family business involving her husband and daughter, Sultan recently opened a showroom in New York City, which features more of their furniture.

Thing Stools by Helena Sultan. Courtesy of Konekt.

Thing Stools by Helena Sultan. Courtesy of Konekt.

Lisa Jarvis

Her tagline, Jewelry for Furniture, says it all. Lisa Jarvis’ metal hardware is crafted with both form and function in mind. “My inspiration comes from everywhere,” Jarvis declared. “Spiritually speaking, that’s my food. I see beauty everywhere.”  Lisa Jarvis’ Brutalist collection, which has a chunkier feeling, is also interesting, including The Steps, The Lines and The Waves.

She also created a great door pull inspired by one on an 18th-century pharmacy in France.  “I love things to be spare and powerful, memorable but have a beautiful hand, and I like whimsy and elegance,” she described.  Irrepressible, full of great stories and lots of fun, Lisa is a creative force in the space and I loved her pieces and her style.

Metal hardware acts as "jewelry for furniture". Courtesy of Lisa Jarvis.

Metal hardware acts as “jewelry for furniture”. Courtesy of Lisa Jarvis.


When I walked by the Drucker booth, the bright candy-like colors made me smile. The traditional, Parisian rattan bistro chair has been updated by the very company that created it back in the 1800’s. And, we love them!

Founded by Polish manufacturer Louis Drucker in 1885, Drucker designed the original Bistro chair around the time the Parisian bistros were gaining popularity.  Frequented by the rising stars of literature of the day, like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paris Café Society and this chair became a part of the Paris identity.

Drucker Chairs icff

Courtesy of Drucker

Drucker features the highest quality rattan and Rilsan, a high-performance polymer made from castor oil and the only polyamide that does not contain petroleum.  

Today, Drucker is certified “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant,” an acknowledgement of its historical relevance and expertise of craft by the Ministry of Finance in France.

Now featured in new patterns in such delicious hues as Mandarin, Petroil Blue and Pine Green, the bistro chair is vibrant with color and life and a stand out at the show.  Tres bien!


I love texture and color so Burel’s wool samples in soothing blues and exciting reds, in florals and geometrics, caught my attention. Burel is a Portuguese wool manufacturer of acoustic felt 3D wall coverings and accessories.

Rescued from the throes of bankruptcy years ago, fifty families came together to save the factory, which had been making capes and wools for the shepherds who’d traverse the mountainsides from Portugal to Spain in the 1600’s.  In the 30’s and 40’s, they’d provide fabrics for the houses of Chanel and Celine. So, Burel has a rich and storied history.

Burel icff furniture accessories event design architecture

Screenshot of the Burel website.

Today, that expertise is focused on its wool products but reinvented to include gorgeous patterns and colors, all with custom capability to mix and match what you love. For example, that floral pattern I was drawn to is called Primavera, and takes four to five artisans 10 days to make, with each piece sewn together by hand.


Hope you enjoyed seeing ICFF through my eyes. The wonderful thing about good trade shows is this: Where else can you experience so much diversity of design and product under one roof? And this design devotee couldn’t be happier.

About the Author

CEO, AxolotlFL

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