New York design “week” this year is spread over three weeks, but usually—and again in the future, when ICFF returns to its ordinary place on the schedule, closer to mid-month—it lasts about two. In addition to ICFF, a handful of smaller fairs anchor the calendar, beginning with Collective Design, which celebrated its fifth edition last week. The brainchild of Steven Learner, Collective is known for mixing art with collectible furniture and design. This year’s fair included ceramics from South Korea and brands like Apparatus; booths from photography galleries Yancey Richardson
and Yossi Milo
; a silver tinsel entryway-installation by the Rockwell Group; and even a pop-up of Marc Jacobs’s Bookmarc shop. An architect and designer himself, Learner started the fair when he tired of having to leave the city to discover great design at fairs like Design Miami/. (“Design Miami/’s great, New York has nothing, and it’s not okay for New York to be second to Miami,” he recalls thinking.)
“There are 55,000 designers working in New York—it’s more than twice as many as the next two largest concentrations, in Los Angeles and Paris,” Learner explains. “That market needs to be served. We have more curators, collectors, museums, galleries—it is a concentration.”
Like Collective, Wanted Design, which hosts events in Brooklyn’s Industry City (May 17–23) and Manhattan’s Terminal Stores (May 20–23) this month, grew out of the need for a forum for substantive design conversation at a time when new design communities were emerging in cities from Detroit to Seattle. Founded in 2011 by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, Wanted Design takes a distinctly international approach, bringing together contingents of new talent as part of group exhibitions representing Mexico and Holland, along with homegrown design initiatives like the American Design Honors (which this year celebrates Eugene, Oregon’s Studio Gorm).
“[New York has] a design festival that’s attracting more and more international visitors and international backing, because New York is a city that people want to come to,” notes Hainaut. “And the U.S. market is a key market for all international brands, so I think it was needed and successful the way NYCxDesign is growing.”
As events have popped up around the city, ICFF has grown rapidly as well, and it too has expanded its focus to include more special sections including the ICFF Gallery and the Luxe Interiors and Design Pavilion. In fact, since 2014 alone, the fair has more than doubled in size.