Of all New York design week events, ICFF, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, is the most challenging. Walking miles and miles of Javits Center’s carpet avenues and viewing the works of 700 designers and interior brands is certainly more exhausting than sipping champagne at SoHo showrooms. I took the challenge and visited every single exhibitor and here’re what I discovered.

For better or for worse, the era of form-follows-function has vanished. If there was a Maslow’s pyramid of interior design where the base of the pyramid represents function and the top — form and artistic expression, this year’s ICFF should be considered an overcrowded rooftop party. Here’re some of the top design directions that stood out.

1. Unhide the structure

If only a couple years ago designers were concerned about how to conceal wires, joints and seams, this year the inner workings of the pieces were intentionally on full display.

Light by Elish Warlop, in which each section can be arranged individually.

Coffee table with exposed joints by Yield.
Chair by Bend (note the exposed and exaggerated structure).
Ceramic lamp with exposed edges by Hand & Eye.

2. Leather sneaks in

In the midst of wood, marble and bronze we’ve seen in the past few years, leather is having a comeback in two dominant forms: raw and hard as stone or smooth and silky.

Sofa by Menu.

Leather chaise longue by Klein Agency.
Hand-painted leather wallcoverings by Avo.
Chair by Klein Agency.

3. Amuse me

Instead of adding to utility, some designers tried to amuse with humor and illusion through materials, shapes and unorthodox applications.

Seating by Bernhardt Design.
Partitions, furniture and lights by Molo made of craft paper.

Coat hanger by Materia.
Bench by Skylar Morgan Furniture.
Flat faucet by Franz Viegener.
Slump mirror by Bower.

4. Mobility

If you’re like me: can’t settle where you like to sit, read, and work, there’s an array of mobile interior pieces you can move around all day long.

Portable light by Menu (charges with a micro USB cable).
Smart work table by Tanya Cai.
Stools by Materia.
Home storage by Yamazaki.

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I'm designer, photographer, and professional flâneur with a peculiar love towards impeccable design, well-crafted stories, and the intricacies of urban life. Follow me in the field on Instagram, read my tidbits Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to my weekly culture newsletter.