The New York Gift Week, which ran concurrently to textile week, offered many things to many people. The showrooms at 7 W and 230 Fifth Avenue were open for the event, and many of the events also took place under the umbrella of the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) managed by GLM. The 155th semi-annual NYIGF held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, Metropolitan Pavilion and Passenger Ship Terminal Piers 92 & 94, housed close to 3,000 participants. These exhibitors fell into nine divisions: Accent on Design, At Home, EX•TRACTS (beauty and wellness), General Gift, Handmade, New York’s Newest, Personal Accessories (fashion accessories), Studio, and Tabletop & Housewares. Attendees in the numbers of 36,000 were able to view and purchase product representative of 36 countries.
A notable emerging business trend that has been growing momentum was observed during gift week. Just as Design Miami/Basel (US and Switzerland), Parcours St. Germain (Paris, France), and Object Rotterdam (Netherlands) all have merged art with furnishings and design, 7 W brought New York the One of a Kind Wholesale Show to its buyers. This show enabled high-quality artists and artisans to showcase their works to the gift and home accessory industries, providing independent retailers a fresh way to differentiate themselves by bringing unique and one-of-a-kind products into their merchandise mix. Any retailer with unadorned wall space should consider spicing it up with some art, which also provides another revenue stream while creating more of a lifestyle setting to market product. The smallest touch, such as hanging a piece by Christos J. Palios over a sofa creates an instant room setting increasing the probability of selling both the sofa and the piece of art.
Dominant market trends found at gift week included products that fit into today’s flexible living spaces, designs inspired by nature, as well as products which worked towards a better future with eco and socially-responsible products.
Modern living is more demanding on interiors. It is often the case that one room must have many functions. Therefore, multifunctional furniture and modular units which can change easily are ideal solutions for a diverse lifestyle. An ottoman that can be a foot rest, seat, or end table and interlocking shelving that can shape shift are both great examples seen at market. Open spaces have also become more popular. Shelving, innovative textile systems, and modular wall units aid in dividing open space. A novel way to redefine an interior is with the new system Parametre by 3form which can be used as partitions, ceilings, window treatments, dividers, screens, wall coverings, decorative panels, and light diffusers. The expandable textile system is made of 100% non-woven polyester ideal for both residential and commercial applications.
Nature continues to be a source of inspiration. Organic shapes, botanical motifs, or actual components from the great outdoors decorated many booths and caught the attention of just as many retailers. Michael Aram’s River Rock floor lamp mimics the smooth stones found along a river bed while Stanley Ruiz’s clock uses actual branches as a design accent.
In order for nature to remain an influence to design, nature must thrive. The largest movement, which is more than a trend, is that of sustainability. NYIGF organized a special exhibit entitled Sustainability: design for a better world spotlighting producers and suppliers whose materials or production processes are eco-friendly, and firms who corporate philosophies are rooted in fair-trade, are philanthropic, or are socially-responsible.
Furniture was also found staking its claim in the future among the gifts and accessories at gift week. Lilipad Studio is committed to being sustainable with its collection of heirloom-quality furniture comprised of eco-friendly wood and hand-painted with non-toxic, VOC free paints. Handmade from reclaimed lumber from barns and fallen structures, vintage hardware, and antique glass T.R. Risk’s furniture boasts distressed paint, original saw marks, and stories of the past. Other companies have streamlined production to reduce energy consumption and/or switched to non-toxic materials.
The Sustainable Furniture Council’s brochures were being distributed by numerous exhibitors who believe in the SFC mission to promote sustainable practices within the home furnishings industry and raise awareness among manufacturers, retailers, designers, and consumers. SFC members aim to minimize carbon emissions and waste stream pollutants by eliminating unrecyclable content and unsustainable sources, utilizing Life Cycle Assessment, supporting the triple bottom line of people-planet-profits, and raising industry awareness of best practice throughout supply chains. What are you doing to furnish a better future?
SFC asks you to consider these questions the next time you make a furniture purchase:
- Where does the wood come from that was used in this furniture?
- Is the wood third party certified?
- Does this manufacturer have a Social Equity Code of Conduct for their production processes?
- Does this manufacturer have an energy use reduction plan?
- Where was the furniture manufactured?
- Were any high Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) finishes used on this product?
For more information visit: www.sustainablefurniturecouncil.org
A breadth of product categories catering to a plethora of taste levels were presented during The New York Gift Week. Prevalent trends noted included the merging of the art and furnishing worlds, products for contemporary living, and the inspiration from, and that preservation, of all Mother Nature has to offer.