A new chapter for ICFF

January 10, 2024

(USA) – New York-based International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) celebrates its 35th anniversary with a new direction for the show.

The ICFF team is reshaping the core of its brand to remain one of the leading contemporary design fairs. Its aim is to solidify its position as the entry point to the U.S. market for international brands, clarify its objective to be at the centre of culture, community and commerce and be appealing to the next generation, plus amplify content year-round to support design brands.

As part of the translation of its new vision, a new identity for the show has been created by New York-based creative agency forceMAJEURE. The new aesthetic features a solid, heavy wordmark reminiscent of the densely populated New York City, which is juxtaposed with a lighter typeface.

“New York City is substantial, to say the least. The density, scale, and span of the buildings have a way of making you feel small and empowered at the same time. New York City’s famous grid was created to combine beauty, order, and convenience. Today, the grid is so famous that it has inspired branding for the city itself, making it recognizable on a global scale. Our design work within this rectangular framework brings a million possibilities for unique expression that speaks to spatial design and is very much a tribute to the spirit of New York,” states the forceMAJEURE Design Team.

ICFF will tap into the expertise of RADS, Rodolfo Agrella Design Studio, to implement the new branding into the show floor and create the 2024 look and feel for the fair. This will include the talks on the Mainstage and The Oasis; the Wanted Lounge; The Restaurant; and the Fair’s overall wayfinding aesthetic.

Official branding will be unveiled sometime this month.

“Given ICFF’s 35-year history, we felt it was time to redefine and rebrand ICFF to solidify, clarify, and amplify our design messaging and content. Since ICFF is the leading contemporary design fair in the U.S., we decided to concentrate on the most important products, technologies, and issues facing the industry and partner with global, high-quality brands that reflect ICFF’s ethos. Our long-standing collaborations with the industry increase our engagement year-round with the design community, allowing us to enhance ICFF’s brand visibility across design communities around the world,” says ICFF Brand Directors Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat.

As part of its continued focus on sustainability, ICFF is making changes to decrease the show’s carbon footprint and lessen the amount of waste it produces. Efforts include removing most of the carpet from the show floor, renting walls instead of building them, using recyclable material for all signage, placing water fountains throughout the floor for refillable bottles, using low-energy lights, and asking the food vendors to avoid single-use plastic. It is also encouraging all participants to follow its lead and do what they can to lessen their carbon footprint at the fair.

With the ICFF Talks on the Mainstage and The Oasis, the main programming topics for the fair this year include:

  • Sustainability and materials
  • The best in making and producing, from hand-made and high-end craft to new industrial innovations and technology-related processes.
  • Business and collaboration opportunities in the U.S.: how to achieve company goals, understanding the U.S. market better, design landscape, and needs.
  • Education, including diversity in design, original design, and new tools (AI)

Further new additions to the show include a more curated, accessible, and user-friendly experience. The show floor will include more spaces to explore, lounge, network, and have conversations. New dedicated areas have been created for complementary products such as Materials, Outdoor Living, and Kitchen & Bath. The latter will also feature a lounge area for dedicated programming. The newly designed spaces will offer activation and communication opportunities for attendees, including Bespoke: The Art of Making; Design School Workshop presented with media partner Core77 and conducted with Pratt Institute and Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Honda Design; ROOM + OFS Podcast Studio; and The Library in partnership with Phaidon.

Dedicated to emerging design, WantedDesign returns as a centrepiece of ICFF with Look Book, Launch Pad, the Schools Showcase, and the new Design Schools Workshop.

Returning this year at the heart of the fair, The Crossroads will be a collaboration between the ICFF brand directors; Creative Director David Rockwell, founder of Rockwell Group; and co-curator and editor Pei-Ru Keh. Sustainability, in its complex and multifaceted form, serves as the focal point of The Crossroads’ second iteration. This year’s exhibition will spotlight the way designers seek to preserve long-honored craft traditions, together with how they push the boundaries of circularity to consciously re-think the legitimacy of material use. It will also highlight the different ways creative communities can make design more accessible to all, whether through more inclusive cultural representations or deeper community-wide engagement.

Programming curator Tiffany Jow, Editor-in-Chief of Untapped, will develop and host talks at The Crossroads with Pei-Ru Keh.

The core talks will occur on the Mainstage and The Oasis space. The Mainstage is sponsored by Turf. Additionally, focused conversations will take place in new dedicated spaces such as Bespoke, Crossroads, Look Book with media partner Dezeen, and Kitchen + Bath.

The Oasis will continue to host conversations about sustainability and conscious design topics. The Welcome Lounge, The Restaurant, the ICFF Editors Awards, and other features will also return.

Many country groups from around the world are joining ICFF in 2024 for the International Pavilions, including Norway, Brazil, Portugal, and Romania to name a few.

ICFF is evolving beyond the fair to promote its partners year-round through expanded editorial content and programming, networking, and promotional opportunities. Throughout the year, it will amplify partner and exhibitor materials across its channels (digital, newsletters, social media) and support events such as showroom activations and partnered programs to engage and educate the design community. Plans for 2024 include a networking opportunity in Paris in January, a global virtual press preview in February, a Look Book talk in NYC in April with media partner Dezeen, an event in Milan in April, and a networking designers’ trip to Design Week Mexico in October.

“Rather than ICFF being just a three-day event, we are building a brand to speak to the design community 365 days a year, on all platforms. We want to keep the conversation going and continue to provide relevant stories for the entire design spectrum from students and emerging designers to more established designers and architects. We are promoting all through our channels to make it a real added support to the industry,” says ICFF Brand Directors Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat.

The next edition of the fair takes place May 19-21, 2024, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York.