ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan 2023 ends on a high note

June 27, 2023

(USA) – North America’s contemporary furnishing design fair, and WantedDesign Manhattan, a ‘show within the show’ dedicated to high-end North American studios and international emerging designers, held during NYCxDESIGN on May 21-23, 2023, at New York’s Javits Center, finished with an enthusiastic response from exhibitors, editors, manufacturers, academics, buyers, architects and designers, and other members of the design community.

Combined, the two fairs hosted 476 established and emerging design brands from 35 countries, 116 of which were first-time exhibitors, presenting furniture, materials and textiles, lighting, flooring and rugs, kitchen and bath, wallcoverings, accessories, and assorted objects for commercial, residential, and hospitality environments.

Together, the two design fairs gathered over 9,000 architects, interior designers, and contemporary retailers in the Javits Center, up 32% over 2022. The total number of visitors to both shows topped 13,000, up 37% over the previous year, a strong indication of the industry’s desire to engage and the positive response to the new changes at ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan.

“Our plan this year as first-time brand directors for both ICFF and WantedDesign Manhattan was to bring more curated, creative, and immersive design spaces to the Javits, to deliver a more cohesive floorplan, and to improve the experience of the shows overall. And we were simply blown away by the enthusiasm and positive response from exhibitors and attendees alike. This proves to us that we are on the right path, and we will continue improving on this as we plan for 2024,” says Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, brand directors, ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan.

“Highlights for us included: The focus on US-based studios across Look Book, ICFF, and The Crossroads, located at the heart of the show, was a huge hit. The international pavilions created a nice balance and brought a rich layer of culture to the show. The Talks, both at the mainstage and at The Oasis x Material Bank, have never been so well-attended and well-received, with a succession of fascinating discussions with design rock stars, industry leaders, and cultural organisations. The work from the emerging designers in the Launch Pad and Schools areas was exceptional and the diversity of the projects and designers coming from all over the world created a fantastic energy.  The resounding applause at the end of the show that started with Launch Pad designers and students and spread to fill the Javits Center was a powerful testament to the incredible creative energy present throughout and created a truly magical moment,” adds Hainaut and Pijoulat.

Highlights: ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan 2023

The ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Talks covered topics such as the spirit of American design, diversity in design, emerging design, innovations in technology, designing the future we want to live in, ethical design, and sustainability.

The robust conference lineup included design leaders and innovators such as Snøhetta, Patricia Urquiola, David Rockwell, Sharon Prince of Grace Farms Foundation, Young Huh, Karim Rashid, Jean-Jacques L’henaff of LIXIL, Giulio Cappellini, Deborah Wang of DesignTO, Ayse Birsel, John Edelman, Pamela McNally of NKBA, Jeanine Hayes and Bryan Mason of AphroChic, and 2023 Designer of the Year Morris Adjmi, founding principal of MA Architects, among many others.

ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Talks were presented at the Main Stage, sponsored by Turf and Natuzzi, and at The Oasis x Material Bank, furnished by Normann Copenhagen, FilzFelt, Ressource, and Kasthall. The Main Stage and The Oasis x Material Bank were designed by Rodolfo Agrella from Rodolfo Agrella Design Studio (RADS) with additional support from Alessi, American Standard, Haworth, Lutron, Mecho, and Pella.

ICFF again hosted the ICFF Editors Awards where leading design editors chose winners in 12 categories for outstanding design as well as Best in Show from the 476 exhibitors. Five of the awards went to participants in this year’s Look Book, including Best in Show. Winners of the 2023 ICFF Editors Awards are:

Accessories:                              Obakki
Best Booth:                               
Body of Work:                           
NJ Roseti
(Look Book)
Carpet and Flooring:             
JD Staron
Mila International
Daniel Shapiro
(Look Book)
Tomma Bloom
(Look Book)
New Designer:                         
Kim Swift
Outdoor Furniture:                 
Mexa Design
Caleb Ferris
(Look Book)
Affreschi & Affreschi
Best in Show:                           
Caleb Ferris
(Look Book)

Judges for this year were: Lila Allen, AD PRO; Sophie Aliece Hollis, The Architect’s Newspaper; Eric Mutrie, Azure; Diana Budds, Curbed; Rita Orrell, design journalist; Stephen Treffinger, design journalist; Ben Dreith, Dezeen; Kathryn Greene, Hospitality Design; Rebecca Thienes, Interior Design; Leslie Clagett, Kitchen + Bath Business; and Ryan Waddoups, Surface.

New this year, the show co-located with DIFFA by Design, a celebration of inspired design, cocktails, and community, at the Javits Center. For four decades, DIFFA has harnessed the design industry’s resources and talent to create legendary programs and events like DIFFA by Design.

New Designed Spaces

The Crossroads: One of the main highlights and focal points of the show this year was The Crossroads, designed and curated by David Rockwell, Rockwell Group, and Pei-Ru-Keh. Sitting at the centre of the show, this playful and immersive 2000sqft space celebrated American design through the works of 17 established and emerging designers. It also became the location for several Dialogues at The Crossroads, hosted by Tiffany Jow of Untapped, in conversation with the designers. This programme will be continued in 2024.

The Restaurant: Designed by Rodolfo Agrella, the restaurant became a definite go-to for attendees during the show and was furnished in partnership with Be Original Americas and its members Chilewich, Anglepoise, Heller, Kartell, MillerKnoll, and Oasiq.

The WDM Café x Caesarstone: Starting on day one as the location for the press breakfast, the WDM Café x Caesarstone became one of the main meeting points at the show. Located in WantedDesign and adjacent to the Talks main stage and The Oasis x Material Bank, this was the perfect place to host meetings over coffee. The space was designed by Rodolfo Agrella with the support of Heller, Fyrn, Tala, Turf, Ressource, and Mohawk.

WantedDesign Manhattan Initiatives

The jury for the 2023 Best of Launch Pad awards honoured two emerging designers this year based on their thought-provoking designs. Tori Deetz of Good Growing won the award for Best of Launch Pad, Furniture/Home Accessories and Shaunak Patel won for Best of Launch Pad, Lighting. The jury included: Giulio Cappellini, Founder, Cappellini; Andrea Cesarman, Co-founder, Design Week Mexico; Jerry Helling, President and Creative Director of Bernhardt Design; Jean-Jacques L’hénaff, Leader, LIXIL Global Design Americas; Jennifer Olshin, Founding Director and Partner, Friedman Benda; Kia Weatherspoon, President and Founder, Determined by Design; and Amy Devers, host of Clever. Launch Pad was sponsored by American Standard and presented with media partners Design Milk and Clever.

Look Book, the dedicated programme for high-end North American designers, makers, and studios that serves as an in-person portfolio for the A&D community, returned this year with 48 exhibitors. This year’s participants showcased diverse designs and an exceptional quality of their displays, resulting in an incredibly inspiring Look Book. It was presented by media partner Dezeen with the support of Turf. A selection of Look Book designers participated in Look Book Live, a talks programme hosted by Ben Dreith of Dezeen.

For the second year, WantedDesign Manhattan continued the Schools Showcase as an opportunity for international design schools to present the work of their best students, to be part of the main design trade event during NYCxDESIGN, to receive feedback from professionals, and to start building their network. Participating schools for 2023 included: CEDIM, Central Saint Martins, Cranbrook Academy of Art, École Boulle, IED, University of Iowa, Northumbria University, Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, RISD, SAIC, SCAD, Tec Monterrey, and Universidad Iberoamericana. As presenting sponsors of the Best of Schools and Best of Students prizes, Design Milk and Alessi chose the entire group of students from Universidad Iberoamericana as the Best of Students winner and Northumbria University as the Best of Schools winner.

Wanted Interiors returned this year with the Lounge, multi-brand presentations, and storytelling installations. Participants included Turf, Heller, Ligne Roset, Hatsu, Ressource, David Weeks Studio, and a selection of international studios in interactive and immersive spaces.

ECO Solidarity, a collaborative initiative of nine European designers and studios represented by EUNIC NY, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, returned to WantedDesign Manhattan this year. Responding to the environmental and humanitarian crises, this year’s edition focused on design with empathy, addressing some of the world’s most pressing conditions of human health and wellbeing. This year’s projects explored ways to improve urban domestic infrastructures, preserve and restore natural habitats, protect the health and well-being of people, and accommodate the displacement of the most vulnerable members of the community.

The Lounge at Wanted Interiors became a central meeting and lounge space during the show. Designed by Rodolfo Agrella, the Lounge was a showcase for sponsors David Weeks Studio and Ligne Roset, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Togo, designed by Michel Ducaroy. 

Dates for ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan 2024 are set for May 19-21, 2024.