While seemingly every neighborhood in New York has played host to increasingly vital and varied events this past week due to New York Design Week, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) being held at the Javits Center still serves as the steel-and-glass mothership of the whole affair. And, like any big gathering, the ICFF organizers have given out awards recognizing standouts amid the endless rows of booths and displays. The Curbed crew has spent days scouring all that Design Week has to offer, and after much deliberation and discussion, we've come up with our own, alternate awards. There were plenty of standout chairs and great wall coverings, but how about celebrating the best example of tropical modernism, awarding the booth display that best recreated a tropical jungle, or the pamphlet that made the connection between psychedelics and furniture?
Most Necessary, Non-Functioning Screen: Room Divider 01 by Todd St. John
The New York designer's geometric, solid brass room divider provides about as much privacy as the subway. But while it falls short as a screen, as a work of art, it's divine.
Most Divisive Chair: Leather Bolster Chair by Farrah Sit X Chiyome
While it looks like a Collectivist poster in three dimensions, this odd leather chair earned raves from one of our editors, who said it was one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture at Design Week. Form versus function debate aside, we can agree that back support is clearly covered.
Best Use of Leather: Chair by Erickson Aesthetics
While in the wrong hands, leather furniture can reek of bachelor-pad chic, the work of Ben Erickson elevates the material with subtle, streamlined forms. Observe the patterns and striking profile of this chair, displayed at Wanted Design by the Brooklyn-based designer, with a seat and back made from the unloved bits of material sourced from a Pennsylvania tannery.
Best Brand Branding: Umbra Shift
Umbra Shift, the Canadian company's offshoot focused on new voices in contemporary design, provides plenty of eye candy with curated work from the likes of Philippe Malouin. But the collection works as a whole due to striking packaging and graphic design treatments from Post Projects.
Most Legit Case of Tropical Modernism: Rugs by Inigo Elizalde
Consider yourself tipped off: #tropicalmodernism is coming! Filipino designer Inigo Elizalde's vibrant Selva! rugs, handmade in Nepal, offer bright, humid, multi-hued fever dreams inspired by an evening walk through jungle foliage.
Best Booth Architecture: Apparatus Studio at ICFF
The New York duo's sculptural furnishings and furniture stood out at ICFF this year due to an arched, architectural booth design that was a step above rows of staid, staged table-and-chair setups. Of the many ways to describe the room, which looked like something out of a De Chirico painting, the group's own term — "the pink fortress" — seemed particularly apt.
Least Shatterproof Material to Make Your Smartphone Shatterproof: CLIC Marble by Native Union
If, like many, you put your smartphone on a pedestal, maybe it's time to use the right material. With this sophisticated natural marble case, consumers can protect their next-generation phones with Roman-era material technology.
Best Moment of Zen: Rain Lamp by Richard Clarkson Studio
The Brooklyn-by-way-of-New Zealand design studio executed a simple concept brilliantly. The aquarium-inspired Rain Lamp, which reflects the ripples of a slow drip of water, was developed after hours spent figuring out the correct system and setup.
Best Monolithic Statement for Outdoors: MMaterial by Fernando Mastrangelo
A sculptor who has been experimenting with materials such as salt, sugar and sand for more than a decade, Mastrangelo has realized a textural breakthrough with this new mixed material outdoor collection. Simple columns resemble geographic cutaways, while colorful crystalline benches recall clusters of geodes.
Best Update on a Traditional Furniture Typology: Athenaeum Settee by O&G STUDIO
Shaker and Scandinavian designs influenced this update of the classic. But in the hands of O&G Studio, the elongated forms and a thinner profile create a real-life caricature of the Windsor, both more angled and elegant.
Best Way to Escape the Show Floor: Bec Brittain at ICFF
Sure, Brittain's sleek SHY LED lighting system is eye-catching by itself. But wrap the tubular bulbs in dense tropical plants, and you have a sci-fi scene that stands out from the carpeted masses. (Also, #tropicalmodernism)
Best Clay/Textile Collaboration: Andrew Ludick and Ceadogán Rugs
While the materials don't mix, the playful, hand-painted patterns of ceramicist Andrew Ludick were a great fit for Ceadogán's wool rugs.
Hottest Detail: Chrome Legs on the Lilt Chair by Brandon Kim Studio
Whether it's on the grill of a classic car, or in this case, supporting the curved frame of this chair, simple chrome shapes always resonate.