ICFF 2011

During the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Bernhardt Design paid tribute to the work of three generations of young designers ranging in age from 13 to 35. Showcasing the annual studio with Art Center College of Design, Tools At Schools, and ICFF Studio, Bernhardt Design continued their commitment of encouraging, supporting, and promoting young furniture designers.

Tools at Schools, a pilot program illustrating how design can be integrated into early education, is a partnership with New York creative consultancy Aruliden and The School At Columbia University. The entire process was detailed for show visitors in a series of six videos documenting the student’s journey into the world of the design.

After working for eight months, the young designer’s vision of ideal school furniture was a serious departure from today’s basic classroom fare. Lockers in shades of blue featured locking door knobs, mail slots and an interior that encourages personalization. Their bright lime green chairs came equipped with a subtle rocking mechanism that promotes controlled moving and fidgeting. Gone was the standard issue hard plastic seat which was replaced with soft padding and upholstered in waterproof suede. The adjustable desks featured inserts for math, reading or art class.

The class hosted a punch and cookies party for journalists to share their experiences and describe the personal impact of the program. The consensus was that ordinary objects are now viewed with a critical eye and design is understood to be a purposeful way to improve our surroundings and experiences. They were unanimous in the fact that design thinking is now part of their everyday lives. The students received an unexpected surprise when the ICFF jury broke from tradition and gave the Best Body of Work by a Design School to Tools at Schools.

The celebration continued with a retrospective recognizing the fifth anniversary of Bernhardt Design’s inter-disciplinary studio with Art Center College of Design. The understated exhibition featured the work of 25 students.

Natural oak and walnut woods were complemented by polished stainless steel and white leathers. Jessica Pell’s new Apel poufs and Rich Overcash’s Hyphen chair served as strategic pops of orange in the monochromatic setting.

Scale models enclosed in glass boxes highlighted the work from earlier studios. A total of eight new designs were debuted including the Serif training tables and two new modern benches by current students Jenn Kuca and David Kim.

In what has become the “not to be missed” section of the fair, ICFF Studio presented ten new designers from around the globe. The program, created six years ago to showcase young designers, has served as a career catalyst for a number of past participants.

Stand outs from this year’s edition were the internationally acclaimed design collective from Oslo, Angell Wyller Aarseth. The focus of their presentation was the appropriately titled cookware, Handle Me. Shawn Littrell of Los Angeles also received a great deal of attention for his beautiful yellow, cream and grey Aline chaise.

clamp by andreas kowalewski

Click, a downloadable lamp using a computer screen as its physical form, challenged visitors to debate the question of what constitutes furniture in the digital age. Designed by Patrick Martinez of New York, the product won the ID Award for best furniture in 2010 and was displayed for the first time at ICFF Studio.