We missed Milan this year (the city and the annual design world jamboree that convenes there) so as compensation we stopped by the more accessible Javits center in New York for the other big event of the year: the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), a kind of Milan after-party with bad food and a less-fashionably-dressed clientele.
Still, we got a good sense of where design is going -- which is nowhere, as far as we can tell. Perhaps it's the lingering recession and hunkered down pennypinching mood of consumers, but there wasn't much risky business to be seen in the 500-plus booths we surveyed.
OK, we did come across a bushy wall-panel made of Argentine horsehair. But otherwise this year's ICFF offerings seemed rather tame, which isn't a bad thing if you're considering redecorating and don't want to take a chance on a lampshade fashioned from mulberry treebark.
One thing did stand out however: sophisticated green design was everywhere. There was lots of felt and cork, and enough reclaimed wood to repopulate the Brazilian rainforest.
But we also found innovative solutions as designers embraced locavore wood and more thoughtful packaging, and added social concerns to their green agenda.
Here's a look at some of the sustainable highlights that might work for your home.
ICFF's Green Guide
Good Green Design at ICFF
A simple eco-friendly bench from design super star Tom Dixon. It's made of 100% waste wood from mills that would have been discarded. Another eco-bonus - they're shipped flat-pack.
What could be more green than energy-efficient lamps made of recyclable polyethylene that double as planters?
Cork is cool these days (and sustainable, of course) and when combined with regionally-harvested maple and hand-rubbed VOC-free oil, this chair is not only green, but also comfortable.
Delicate yet sturdy table made from locavore wood and manufactured by a network of craftspeople and artisans in Rhode Island rather than China (where most furniture is made).
Beautiful floral patterned rugs with natural fibers and dyes are hand tufted in India in certified child-labor free facilities.