Byline: Karen Klages
NEW YORK_Lightness of materials. Transparency. Translucency. Pureness of form. Be they strong, sculptural shapes or softer, more organic ones.
These are trends in contemporary design right now.
But gads more interesting is "the behavioral influences of design . . . how people respond to a product, how they use it, what they expect from it" and "how that is becoming a new and increasingly important dimension" of design, says industrial designer Jozeph Forakis.
A native New Yorker, Forakis has been living and working in Milan for the last 12 years, including three years as European design director for Motorola mobile communications. He came back to his hometown this month for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (during which he had a special exhibition of his work_including lighting, furniture, Swatch watches and Motorola cell phones).
The most important trade show for contemporary home furnishings in the U.S., the four-day ICFF takes place every spring, just weeks after the vastly larger Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan.
And as in Milan this year, there was a movement toward the sort of interaction design that Forakis was talking about_even in something as "low-tech or no-tech" as furniture, as he puts it. Taking their cue from the world of electronics, more and more designers are bent on creating not just beautiful chairs, rugs, lamps and tables, but also beautiful, interactive experiences for the human beings who are going to be living with these furnishings.
And so, we saw at ICFF products like a globe-shaped floor lamp with a gossamer skin that is meant not only to glow, but also to be touched.
And: handmade, artful alpaca rugs that feel like …