NYCxDesign 2019

Every year, thousands of people converge on New York City to take part in the design festival known as NYCxDesign, composed of individual events including ICFF, WantedDesign, and DesignTalksNYC, among others.  This 13 day celebration of the wild, weird, and wonderful has been attended by IA | Interior Architects staff since its inception, and this year was no different. This year's delegation featured IA staff from New York City, Boston, Washington DC, and Seattle, some of whom were asked to describe meaningful moments or exhibits from their time at the event. The following are a few of their responses.

“WantedDesign Manhattan hosted an installation from the SVA Products of Design School for the seventh year in a row. Each year, the students create immersive and interactive experiences for attendees. For 2019, the focus was on sustainability; entitled Adaptive Dwellers, the students designed an exhibition that hypothesizes how the human race would survive in 100 years, after the world has been destroyed by climate change. The results were quite compelling.”

Judy Nelson | Director of Communications

"At ICFF one of the trends I was most drawn to were the wall coverings. These are a far departure from your grandma’s wall paper. These vendors had striking graphics, bold colors, and unique designs or characteristics. They are really well suited to tech clients that want a little quirkiness or delight in their spaces but may not have the budget for custom environmental graphics. Many of these companies are also providing either PVC-free or non-vinyl options, which supports IA’s goals for using products that have more sustainable stories."

Carli Rasschaert, NCIDQ, IIDA | Designer

“ICFF was an enriching experience with so many inspiring new products, but the highlight of my trip was definitely with Bernhardt Designer Terry Crews. I was completely star struck, and it was fascinating to learn about him and what continues to keep him inspired. We all know he is a jack of all trades so perhaps his work in furniture design shouldn’t have come as a surprise. When I talked to him, he spoke about how he got into design and creating pieces that are not only beautiful but comfortable as well. He said that it’s not the design that makes the most impact upon the pieces—it’s the details. My conversation with him bled into a lot of what I saw in other areas of ICFF when it came to utilizing unique materials like glass, cardboard, and biophilic elements. For me, it confirmed my belief that design has limitless potential when you show no restraint.”

Elizabeth Lo, IIDA | Designer

"This year’s ICFF expo was filled with so much innovation and creativity. I found that many of the products had softened edges, more finish options, and endlessly customizable solutions. The highlight for me, however, was the work released by Bernhardt Design. Aside from enlisting mega star Terry Crews to design their new Becca series, they also offered some new pieces with a more approachable edge. We all know Bernardt to produce high end commercial furniture with beautiful detail, but the new kids on the block were more playful in form and function. The Luca Nichetto Collection was a prime example of that. The pillow-like cushions and splayed out legs brought more of a casual vibe to a company known for a more traditional aesthetic. This, combined with the finish offerings, allowed these pieces to work well with a myriad of other furniture.

It was also refreshing to see Bernhardt promote new and upcoming designers in their “Studio” Exhibition. Here the theme continued with more playful forms, functions and color stories. I particularly loved the simplicity of Robert Kwok’s pouf with solid wood handle (above left) and Chapel Petrassi’s gradient & gold side table (above right). Each designer produced such simple forms but with unexpected twists. If this is the future of furniture design, then sign me up! In the years to come, I look forward to how these new perspectives will reshape Interior Design as we know it."

Kenneth Preaster | Designer

The Herman Miller Exhibit at NYCxDesign

“Coinciding with the launch of their new book, Herman Miller opened an exhibit with the same title as their flagship location in New York City. The book and the exhibition pull from the vast archives of Herman Miller to tell the story of how over 114 years they have lead the way for innovation. Pieces in the exhibit include early home furnishings from the turn of the century to Alexander Girard’s graphic studies, as well as the original travel models for the original action office and the latest ephemera of their Living Office campaign. Both the book and the exhibit showcase pieces that have never been seen out of the archive.”

Steven South, NCIDQ, LEED AP, IIDA | Senior Designer

buick via WantedDesign

“WantedDesign was one of the first ICFF satellite shows to spring up as part of the NYCxDesign umbrella and has gained much acclaim since its inception in 2011. This year, the show returned with both its Manhattan location in the Terminal Stores and its Brooklyn location in Industry City. My favorite parts of both of these locations are always the student work, and this year didn’t disappoint. A notable installation from WantedDesign in Brooklyn was the work of students of the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. Using the city’s history as inspiration, the students in the Product Design and Entertainment Arts program designed products and experiences based on the essence of General Motors car brands. The two students that I spoke to had been assigned to focus on Buick and Cadillac. They had spent their semester reinterpreting these brands for 2030 and created product lines that express the essence of what these brands could mean for future lifestyles. They strung it all together with a cohesive film; it was a surprising and intriguing use of these classic American cars as inspiration.”

Judy Nelson | Director of Communications

"The seventh edition of NYCxDesign brought creatives together in an iconic New York building to discuss the evolving design landscape as it merges with traditional architecture, specifically, during a tour of a new build inside the financial district's Woolworth Building. The exploration of the New York gem didn’t focus solely on history, but instead on how the past can be used to frame the future. The new interior plays on the aesthetic of nearby buildings from the same period while simultaneously reflecting the culture of the design team. The discussion noted how more creatives are designing for the future with the past in mind. Rather than simply recreating old techniques, designers instead honor historic structures by layering new materials that align with the original structure but dramatically enhance the inhabitants' experience."

Alexandria Davis | Intermediate Designer 

The Stickbulb NY Showroom

“Members of the IA team were invited to a special dinner at Stickbulb’s New York showroom in Long Island City. We were able to see their new lighting design for Chime which won best of show at the NYCxDesign awards where our own office was a finalist for the category of “Firm’s own office.” The design of the Chime fixture is based on wind chimes, and the installation in their new showroom was quite dramatic. Also on display in the showroom was a piece called Gradual. Gradual is a light fixture and a clock. Made from thousands of pieces of stacked paper the clock uses light to measure time. The clock displays the minute, hour, day, month and year up to the year 2100. The piece is reminiscent of Thomas Jefferson’s Great Clock that he designed for Monticello outside Charlottesville, VA”

Steven South, NCIDQ, LEED AP, IIDA | Senior Designer


IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.



IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.


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