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Discover Highlights from WantedDesign Manhattan 2021 at the Javits Center

Discover Highlights from WantedDesign Manhattan 2021 at the Javits Center

WantedDesign Manhattan’s November 2021 debut at the Javits Center was a resounding success, with thousands of visitors flowing through the doors, eager to once again experience design with all their senses.

We welcomed the industry to re-discover WantedDesign Manhattan in its newest form, under one roof with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) and BDNY. From the bright yellow banners and inviting Ligne Roset seating in the Lounge, to the tactile acoustic walls by Turf Design in the Talks Main Stage, to innovative new designs from North American and international designers, we boldly announced WantedDesign Manhattan’s arrival on the big stage.

WantedDesign co-founders Claire Pijoulat and Odile Hainaut with ICFF show director Phil Robinson

“We were curious to see how our first show at the Javits would come out. We knew it was a challenge to move WantedDesign Manhattan from its old home, but we are so happy with the results,” said Claire Pijoular, co-founder of WantedDesign. “Working with designer Rodolfo Agrella, with the support of sponsors like Turf Design, we were really able to recreate the atmosphere we wanted and a warm, welcoming, well-designed experience. This past event has really anchored our collaboration with ICFF and we look forward to May 2022!”

Plenty of exciting furniture and lighting collections were shown, but the biggest excitement wasn’t about the latest chair –– it was about all the people taking a seat to reconnect in-person after 18 months of virtual showcases and Zoom meetings. After all, the heart of any trade show or design festival is the connections made.

WantedDesign Manhattan Lounge designed by Rodolfo Agrella

From North American studios connecting with the A&D community at Look Book, to emerging designers getting feedback from industry professionals as part of Launch Pad and the Emerging Designers Showcase, to ideas being sparked during lively panel discussions, the trade show floor thrummed with the energy of human beings making real connections.

Look Book

At Look Book, architects and interior designers encountered the work of 28 North American high-end design studios. From wood to ceramics to textiles to scrap metal, the Look Book exhibitors represented a range of materials and practices, from the woods of southern Quebec, Canada, to Mexico City to Northern California.

Two Look Book exhibitors received ICFF Editors Awards, with Bowen Liu winning in the Furniture category and Simon Johns winning Best Designer. The judges included Avinash Rajagopal of Metropolis, Adrian Madlener of The Architect’s Newspaper, and Annie Block of Interior Design.

Simon Johns, ICFF Editors Awards, New Designer
Bowen Liu, ICFF Editors Awards, Furniture

Launch Pad

At Launch Pad, sponsored by American Standard and presented with media partner Design Milk, 30 international designers showcased their prototypes and concepts, getting valuable feedback and interest from manufacturers and experienced designers.

As part of Launch Pad, RISD MFA student Elana Shvalbe was interested in speaking to a range of industry people. “I’m a designer and maker, and I hold a lot of pride in making all the things that I’m designing. I’d love to learn about other opportunities to broaden my headspace of what I can make and talk to people who can actually help me do that,” she said.

We spotted ArtCenter student Echo Zhan, winner of Best of Launch Pad in the lighting category, in conversation with established designer Pablo Pardo, who was exhibiting at ICFF for the 28th year. The press also took note of the emerging design talent at the show, with Tomma Bloom, winner of Best of Launch Pad in the furniture/home accessories category, included in Business of Home’s round-up of NYCxDESIGN debuts.

Emerging Designers Showcase

Young designers got additional direct feedback and critiques from industry professionals as part of the Emerging Designers Showcase, hosted by Amy Devers of Clever and presented with American Standard, with a panel consisting of Rodolfo Agrella, Designer and Creative Director of Rodolfo Agrella Design Studio, Anishka Clarke, Interior Design Director of Ishka Designs Inc, and Jean-Jacques l’Henaff, Leader of LIXIL Global Design Americas.

The Emerging Designers Showcase was the most attended session of the ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Talks program, with a standing-room only audience applauding the efforts of the young presenting designers. We’re pleased that this new lively format, initiated online during the pandemic, has been so warmly received, and we will continue to develop it.

Wanted Interiors

Wanted Interiors was anchored by a Lounge designed to look like an inviting loft, featuring Ligne Roset furniture, and lighting provided by Lutron and wakaNINE. In addition, installations by Rhyme Studio and Salon Design offered inspiration and storytelling in the form of gallery-style presentions. Rounding out the immersive experience, Ressource gave live demonstrations of their new paint collection. 

Wanted Interiors will continue to evolve as a designated WantedDesign Manhattan area for brands to talk about their products in a more elevated, interactive and inspiring way than the classic trade show booth presentation.

Wanted Interiors, Salon Design

ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Talks

A schedule of lively conversations and interviews encouraged the sharing and cross-pollination of ideas, from the opening Global Forecast: Pushing the Boundaries of Creativity to the interview with Ini Archibong by Stacey Shoemaker Rauen. The ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan main stage was designed with the support of TURF Design and Be Original Americas.

ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan talks, Stacey Shoemaker Rauen speaking with Ini Archibong

ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan Together at the Javits

Since WantedDesign Manhattan’s acquisition by Emerald in 2019, we’ve worked closely with the ICFF team to develop a rich program for our audiences, first virtually by necessity and now, finally in-person. Our exhibitors, partners and sponsors all came together to deliver an invigorating and inspiring show.

“All WantedDesign Manhattan participants came with the best of their creativity, reflected not only in their products, but also in the attention to detail in their installations, and desire to communicate and connect with everyone visiting the show,” said Odile Hainaut, WantedDesign co-founder. “It created this amazing energy that everyone could feel when walking the show. We have been able to bring a new and fresher approach to a trade show with this first edition joining ICFF at the Javits. With so much great feedback from both exhibitors and attendees, we see more than ever the importance of in-person shows and the potential of making ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan the number one rendezvous for the design industry.”

Thank you to the design press for the glowing coverage of the fair. In addition to the Business of Home’s round-up, show coverage included articles in The Design Edit, Architonic, Design Milk and IFDM.

We look forward to seeing everyone back at the Javits Center in May 2022 when WantedDesign Manhattan and ICFF return to our regular Spring schedule. Emerging designers can apply now for Launch Pad 2022, and studios and brands can express interest in being part of Look Book, Wanted Interiors and other programming by emailing us at info@wanteddesignnyc.com

By Charlene Lam, contributing editor

Photo credit: Jenna Bascom Photography