NYCxDesign, aka New York Design Week, aka New York Design Month (since events happen throughout May), officially kicks off today—and it’s another one to follow closely for design lovers everywhere.
This year’s festivities will once again spill over into all five boroughs of New York, with headlining furniture fair ICFF returning to the Javits Center, and ever-dynamic smaller-scale shows like Sight Unseen Offsite and WantedDesign Manhattan and Brooklyn editions turning a spotlight on emerging artists, designers, and more.
As new products are unveiled, connections are made, and the seeds of future collaborations are planted, Curbed editors will be pounding the pavement to take it all in, from pure beauty moments to trends in the making. Below, we round up some of the must-sees this time around—and what we’ll be watching out for and reporting back on.
Ensemble shows: a guaranteed visual feast
Somewhere between the overwhelming scope of ICFF and the specificity of individual showroom presentations are exhibitions that round up a carefully selected group of talent in a carefully installed space.
A standout show of the sort from last year’s NYCxDesign is back for a second edition. Design studio Egg Collective’s “Designing Women II: Masters, Mavericks, and Mavens,” co-curated with Lora Appleton of kinder MODERN, brings together over 40 works from both contemporary and historical female designers.
Also of note: Online furniture brand Radnor’s “Material Interiors,” a by-appointment exhibition of pieces from its roster of designers that focuses on the theme of community and timeless materials. The backdrop? A gorgeous 17th-floor apartment in the new David Chipperfield-designed building, The Bryant.
The “shoppable apartment” takes a more millennial-targeted turn at “Home,” an IRL showroom for a bunch of direct-to-consumer home brands, such as Akron Street and Dusen Dusen. Home essentials brand Snowe is also unveiling the renovated Whitespace, a shoppable loft of its own in Union Square.
Memphis lovers, rejoice
Fans of riotously fun design will be happy to know that London artist and designer Camille Walala (the one behind this Memphis-y playground and this labyrinth) will be bringing just that to Brooklyn this NYCxDesign.
In addition to a massive mural—her biggest yet!–slated for the facade of a seven-story historic building in Brooklyn’s Industry City creative hub, the color-loving designer will also be at WantedDesign Manhattan, showing an interactive installation, a collaboration with magnetic wall covering company Visual Magnetics.
Another intriguing launch this month is the U.S. debut of Japanese company Kamarq, billed as a “Netflix of furniture.” For its first U.S. collection of subscription-based furniture, the company worked with designers Nicola Formichetti and PJ Mattan—and from what we’ve seen, the Memphis vibe there is strong.
And then there’s Raquel’s Dream House, a physical manifestation of the @ettoresottsass Instagram account, which is run not by the late, great Memphis Group founder Ettore Sottsass, but by 26-year-old collector Raquel Cayre. Cayre has turned a whole Soho townhouse into a showroom of punchy, playful designs. It’s open to the public through May.
All eyes on joinery
An exhibition all about joints drew huge crowds—especially of designers—at last month’s Salone del Mobile, so naturally we’re now on the lookout for where and how innovative joinery will come into play during NYCxDesign.
A few designers to watch, both showing at ICFF: Brendan Ravenhill, who’s debuting Hood Family, a line of lighting with complex joinery Inspired by wooden sailboats and the work of Aino Aalto; and Sun at Six, a new Brooklyn studio using traditional Chinese joinery in its furniture. Is “assembly required” making a comeback?
Installations across town
The NYCxDesign energy will be palpable for New Yorkers and tourists in a number of installations around the city. A large-scale installation designed by Brooklyn-based Ladies & Gentlemen Studio for Muji will be unveiled at the Japanese retailer’s Soho popup. Design Pavilion, a design hub for the public, is returning to Times Square, anchored by a custom-designed inflatable structure by British design studio Inflate, which will host talks, pop-up shops, and more.
Over at Tictail Market on the Lower East Side, Lonny Magazine has installed a West Coast-inspired living room decked out in works by emerging home goods designers. And in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, boundary-pushing creative hub A/D/O is unveiling a courtyard installation by London’s United Visual Artists, featuring a system of mirrored columns that will “reflect the poetic activity of New York City.”
U.S. debuts to watch
Needless to say, NYCxDesign will offer launches galore, but there are some especially exciting debuts by international brands to watch. First off, London’s Plain English, which opened its first international showroom in New York last month (ahead of the game!), is a top new destination for lovers of traditional architecture—specifically Georgian farmhouse kitchens.
Mexico’s Zavotti will be making its North American debut at ICFF with a collection of outdoor furniture blending Mexican craft and Scandinavian minimalism—consider us intrigued.
New Zealand’s Resident has shown at ICFF before, but this year the company is presenting its first large-scale independent show in New York, an exhibition called “Travelling Without Bags” that highlights its 2018 collection of sofas, chairs, and lights.
And this year, the Swarovski Interiors Showcase will present the U.S. debuts of its home collection collaborations with Japanese designer Nendo, Milan-based Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola, and more.