Guest Blogger: Catherine B. Stein, president of THE COLOR COUNCIL
Caren’s note: The New York International Gift Fair is a five-day showcase of the latest releases in the gift and home furnishing industries from about 2,700 companies around the world. Catherine B. Stein, color trend forecaster and convention regular, brings us the style trends seen at August 2007′s fair for Design Happen’s NYIGF series. All pictures except Eggflat and Tatami Organic bedding taken by Catherine.
Just when you thought you’d seen every imaginable texture applied to throw pillows, comes one you don’t want to throw. Tumbled, delicate white stones adorn the front face of this gravel-textured pillow, which is surprisingly supple and inviting. The ultimate for patio or pool — and limited edition — be the first on your block to own one before Wilma and Betty!
Modern meets environmental on these smooth, tactile twig and branch vases. Each round wood slice is hand set on a fiberglass mold and preserved with a lacquer coating. Watertight to hold fresh florals, or interesting enough au naturale! Singularly, or grouped together to create your own forest landscape, these pieces have all the makings of a future classic.
Coddle your riches the eco-conscious way. This sculptural, felt tabletop piece evolved from an experiment in bending surfaces along seams. Named Eggflat, it folds flat for storage, and then unfurls to hold fruit, keys, coins, jewelry and other small treasures. Individual 12″ x 12″ units can be joined laterally to extend and form a personal landscape. The gray industrial felt is made from factory excess, and is 85 percent wool, 15 percent mixed fiber.
From the culturally rich archipelago of the Philippines, comes a dancing driftwood candelabra ready to strike a pose. Graceful arms hold small pewter dishes ready for votives to illuminate an arabesque. All is staged on a base of indigenous molave wood.
Mango wood from Thailand fashionably stacks up to brighten your life by way of a handcarved lamp base with silk shade; or use as a single candle holder. These handpainted pinstripe beauties can also be used as serving bowls, cache-pot or for seasonally displaying autumn’s bounty.
Looking to create your own enchanted forest? The Grove Furniture Collection, from a company called Roost, supplies everything you’ll need. Gnarled and twisted roots are sandblasted, nailed together and then blow-torched to achieve an uncommon burnt, rustic character. Tabletops, seats and flat surfaces are made of recycled elm wood.
Adorable seedlings sprout from Matt Roth’s, “Packs of Seeds.” Each little box is a plant container, made of recycled rice hulls, filled with natural soil and holds the potential of a tree. If you nurture friendships and honor loved ones with this 100 percent natural gift, the earth will smile upon you.
Eco-fashionistas rejoice! Tired of explaining why you still carry a leather handbag? Let the Marsha messenger bag flaunt your eco-consciousness. Each aluminum bag is hand-crocheted by a cooperative of Brazilian crafts women, using 100 percent post consumer recycled pull tabs. Now that’s commitment.
Materials that were once considered discards have now become “reconstructions,” given a new life and meaning. Here, designer Dorothy Spencer uses old advertising yardsticks to create an eccentric, homespun box. Resting on old roller skate wheels, and thoughtfully hinged, it opens by way of a red enameled, garden spigot. Nostalgia and charm collide in a most appealing way.
Wriggling its way out of the exotic jungles of Thailand, this primitive floor lamp balances simplicity with sophistication. So called “strangler” vines, because of their encompassing nature to trees and vegetation, are cut, dried and sculpted into totemic works of art, all on a base of mango wood. This nether-world original can be topped with a shade of paper, cotton, silk, raffia or linen.
As if blown in by a zephyr, this teak root bench is comfortable indoors or out. Crafted with minimal cutting, these pieces retain the beautiful twists and turns formed by weather and wind. Artisans from small villages in Indonesia coax the spirit of the wood to lie gently and beguile.
This is where art meets craft and transcends both categories. Form defies function in these museum-quality, abstract vases. Spanish cedar, flamed birch, cherry, Sargasso, ebony, and zebrawood veneers are shaped to create distinctive vessels. Interiors are finished with a beautifully transparent, waterproof resin. Specific size, shape and wood requests can be met. Wow!
Light up your Eco Chic room with an array of nature-inspired pendant lamps. Gourd-shaped mango wood displays its grain in glowing subtleties, while delicate twigs weave a rustic nest. Smooth cane — thin as spaghetti — is engineered into an elongated globe that appears lighter than air. On another, a veil of coconut shell beads outline a fantasy coral, sheltering an inner linen shade.
Tranquility prevails in geometry, ivory bed coverings. A light gray, over-scaled graphic grid is symmetrically styled to soothe inner chaos. Tatami Organic is the name of this 100 percent organic cotton collection, and is available in full, queen and king sizes. Time to “Z-Z-Zen” to sleep.
Get more Eco Chic inspiration:
10 Ways to Go Green In Your Home
More Earth-Friendly Home Decor
Looking for green products seen on HGTV?
Looking for more from the New York International Gift Fair? Check out Catherine’s Asian style roundup.