Tuesday, August 21, 2012


The second day at a Trade Show can sometimes be lackluster. The excitement of the travel to get there, the anticipation of the first day of the show, the hope of discovery of that special item or line, all of it together almost give me butterflies. 
However by the second day, especially towards the end of it, the feet are aching, the head is spinning, and sometimes throbbing. Decisions over the last two days have to be number in the multi-thousands-- ahh...look at that, or OMG! look at that. Those words can mean Eureka!, or as easily mean egads!

While we have to keep an open mind, it sometimes becomes difficult as you pass by vendor spaces by the hundreds, sometimes almost feeling sorry for many of them for having to represent such strange products. We trudge on in the hopes of landing the big one! I consider a trade show successful if we find two or three good lines. Now considering the number of lines here, almost 100 thousand according to the shows promoters, finding a wonderful new line is like finding a needle in a haystack. The buildings are huge, so our feet are killing us, our shoulders are aching from carrying all of the product info that is thrust upon us by hopeful vendors.  

So, why do we do it? I think it’s the thrill of the hunt! There is real satisfaction of finding that unique product that really excites, and the hope that it will thrill our customers in the same way. 

Okay, enough about the process, let’s see the goods. Similar to yesterday’s report on the color, Celine Blue (aka Yves Klein Blue), the color was very present in the products being offered. We saw it on lacquered boxes, art, accessories, and on furniture.

Trend Alert No. 2:
In addition to the "new Blue", we spotted another trend that is being shown by many of the better vendors. The tend is a finish referred to as Gesso, defined as: A white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these. 

Typically, gesso is used as substrate or base for paint and other materials to be applied over it. However, what we're seeing is what looks like raw gesso, it appears like there is no other finish or product added on top of it. It looks just like the paint on a whitewashed house in Greece, bright white, raw and pure. 

Of course there is a sealer on it so it doesn't come off on your hands or clothing, but it looks as if it would be chalky to the touch.

Photo above: A gesso finished African stool, made for indoor use
Photo below: A "gesso look" finish on a stool, made for outdoor use

Photos, below:
A new cabinet finished in a gesso finish. From Mr. Brown for London, England based design house Julian Chichester

Photo below: Resin boxes with textured finished resembling gesso. hardware is faux Matt Gold finish. The mat metal finishes were also prevalent in the marketplace. From Fait by The Artist Lab

Photo below: Another cabinet by Mr. Brown for Julian Chichester features ridge cut doors finished in a gesso finish.

Another important category that was represented by many, but none of them could match the quality of the pieces featured in the next four photos.

Photo below: Buffalo Bone box in Diamond pattern

Mirror, below: A mirror framed in Bone by Made Goods.

Photo below: An unusual table with a detailed edge design. Beautifully executed in Bone

Another material we saw used fairly extensively was Tibetan lambs hair. We saw the fluffy stuf on everything from Rugs, Throws, Chairs and Benches.

Photos below-
Left: A tie-dyed throw in multi-colors
Right: Dyed into several colors including "Celine Blue", shown at bottom of stack.

Fur is big, like it or not. We saw faux furs by the ton, some really fine furs, and some that were not so fine. Lesser furs were like Rabbit were printed to resemble their finer relatives.

Photo below: Spotted Jaguar printed on Rabbit.  

Lucite was also well represented. Used mostly as legs to Benches and Chairs, in addition to lamp bases and pedestals.

Photo below: A bench in tufted linen with a Lucite "X" base.  

Photo below: A bench with Lucite legs, and an interesting woven hemp textile covering the seat.

Photo below: The Etruscan Bench
What is an Etruscan Bench? According to Google, the most original contribution of the Etruscan's to furniture was in their use of Bronze. This bench is made of cast brass to emulate bronze (the poor man’s alternative!).
Okay, so the look of this benches material is right on, but what about the style?

I would consider the style to be Klismos style, and further research states that the Etruscan's used the look of this style chair, but it didn't say they designed it. 
So, back to Google where I found that the Klismos Chair was first depicted in Greek history in the mid- 5th Century BC. 
Then, I Googled the Etruscan Period (once source said doesn't exist) and found that it was between 800-500 BC. So, this piece is appropriately named!

Whew, now aren't you glad I'm in the furniture business so you don't have to do this?!
Or, is this more info than you wanted to know? Don;t answer that! 

Let's move on! 

Photo below:
Not an Etruscan Chair! The chair below is a new take on an old design, but modified (greatly), and made into a folding chair rendered in high-density plastic. Cheap, durable, offered in fun colors, and easily stored. Very cool for extra seating. 

Photo below: Not so glamorous, but also practical are these new door stops, a nice alternative to the oversold knotted rope ball with handle.  

Back to the cool side, this cabinet is leather covered door panels, trimmed in Bronze finished brass, with dark wood cabinetry. By Julian Chichester. 

A rock crystal lamp base designed and made by fellow Californian Kathryn McCoy, the original supplier of similar rock crystal lamps to the infamous, the late Tony Duquette.


Photo below: 
Designed by an Belgian expat living in American, this Cocktail Table is made from a slab of "live edge" solid reclaimed Walnut wood. Live edge means the natural free form edge as the tree originally grew. The base for this table is a very sophisticated series of wrought iron legs in the style of sculptor Diego Giacometti (yes, brother of Alberto).


Photo below: Now for some fun, is this outdoor Ottoman that is covered in synthetic grass! Know anyone who needs one?

Photo below: Again, in the style of Giacometti is this lamp designed by Made Goods. Available in silver or gold finish.

Photo below: Hand cut and sewn cowhide rug. This collection featured over 30 patterns in natural cowhide colors, as well as an infinite number of dyed color combinations. These rugs will be available at Cabana Home by November 1st.

A poured Bronze table, in a style that I hand't seen before. There's another style that has been floating around for years, still a great table, but no longer fresh. Its great to have an alternative!

The next two pieces, shown below, are from a Furniture Designer based in Maine, whom we met when the first time he ever showed at the New York show. Now, six years later, this original iron sculptor cum designer has added other materials and has created some unique furniture pieces. Below is his very good looking oval Dining Table on an steel base. Available in custom sizes.

A hammered iron Console Table with a wood top that has been embossed with a steel plate, leaving the "diamond plate" pattern imprint on the wood surface. Very clever, and available in custom sizes. 

A new talent, this brightly lacquered electric wall sconce is from designers based in Marthas Vinyard,  actually, Chappaquiddick (yes, that Chappaquiddick!). They also make single Sconces, table top  Candleabras, and table lamps. Several standard colors are available.

Another newby to the New York show is a line of clever Ottomans designed by TRUE BEE design. This recently patented design is called the Crown Ottoman, because the center of the ottoman is a flexible crown, which is removable (like a crown) to reveal storage below. One side of the "Crown" is upholstered for seating, and flip it over and the painted flat wood panel becomes a table top. It is shown in bright whimsical fabrics, but more demure fabrics are likely available to suit more conservative tastes. We wish these gals the best! Good luck!


Okay, enough already! How about some Worst of Show? 

LED lighted trees

'Camo" throw pillows with your choice of appliqued Pheasants or Quail

An upholstered Dining Chair with an outline of the human spine... how appetizing!

And let's don't forget to bring something home for the children: 
For the children's bedroom, a 'Gun' throw pillow.

A chandelier made with canning jars with tin lids, topped with elaborate matt finished brass detailing.


On a fun note, we happened in to a gelato store (okay, we Googled it, too!), and they make custom or "Dream Donuts". On the wall is a diagram that walks you through the steps to create your own donut masterpiece. Very funny, and probably a lot of fun! Shown below: Fruit loops with gelato! 

Photo below: The steps to build your dream donut!

Please join me tomorrow for Day 3 of the New York International Gift Show.

All for now, good night!

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