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Old-Fashioned With a Twist

At New York’s Design Week, the best new designs evoked a sense of déjà vu. Here, ten of my favorite things.

Katie Stout’s new wallpaper. Photo: Courtesy of Jon Sherman
Katie Stout’s new wallpaper. Photo: Courtesy of Jon Sherman

New York City celebrates its own design talent and global makers every May during the annual bonanza produced by NYCxDESIGN. Between the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center, WantedDesign in Brooklyn and Chelsea, relative newbie Next Level (now in its second season), and many other venues, you needed a good pair of sneakers and lots of energy bars to take you through the wonderland of it all: luscious colors, plush fabrics, and the reimagined familiarity of objects from our daily environment: kitchen utensils, wallpaper, lamps, chairs.

Ever since founding Flavor Paper in 2003, Jon Sherman has been producing knockout wallpaper in collaboration with artists and designers. Katie Stout’s new paper As You Wish, seen above, induces childlike joy.

Smeg’s new collection in collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana elevates classic mid-century kitchen appliances such as this stand mixer by bedecking them with patterns interpreting Sicilian folklore. Photo: Courtesy of Smeg
At first glance I thought Elissa Medina’s wall covering, seen here at WantedDesign in the Terminal Stores warehouse, was done in mosaic tile, but closer inspection revealed it to be composed of pieces of felt sewn together in the image of an owl. Photo: Wendy Goodman
The vast ocean that is the Javits Center can be navigated if you know what to look for. One of my go-tos is Bernhardt Design’s studio exhibit, where I inevitably discover beautiful things such as these elegant cast-cement lights by Dror Kaspi of Ardoma Design, which come in an array of gorgeous colors. Photo: Wendy Goodman
At WantedDesign in Industry City, I walked the food court on my way to the two floors of exhibition space across the inner courtyard, which is so wonderful to spend time in on a lovely day. I loved the Miner’s Chair by Andrew Hunt in cast resin, created from the remains of a wood chair found in a 19th-century coal mine. Photo: Wendy Goodman
Back at the Javits Center, I was drawn to the poster of the 1617 Portrait of Peter Courten by the Dutch painter Salomon Mesdach behind Ruben van Megen’s coffee table, and then I realized that the coffee-table top incorporated an actual piece of a Persian carpet within. (Persian carpets were often used as table runners in the 17th century in Western Europe.) Van Megen’s Antimacassar III chair also has a historical design reference in its decorative cast-bronze doily, which harks back to the crocheted doilies used to protect seat backs from a popular brand of hair oil in the 19th century called Macassar. Photo: Wendy Goodman
The family-owned Irish furniture brand Orior has made a comeback with a new generation of designs. I visited their newly opened showroom in Tribeca. Each piece is made to order, so there are no stock pieces, explained Ciaran McGuigan, Orior’s creative director, allowing them to customize the size and finish of each piece. The Atlanta sofa, seen here in a glorious blue Pierre Frey velvet fabric, is trimmed in fringe, adding an old-fashioned detail to a modern staple. Photo: Courtesy of Orior
If you think the stack at the end of the table, pictured here along with colored crystal disks, looks like bread, you’d be right: The cut-crystal pieces of husband-and-wife company Färg & Blanche’s Knäckebröd light system are all based on the shape of a traditional Swedish bread. Färg & Blanche are part of Bernhardt Design’s stable of designers featured at the ICFF. Photo: Wendy Goodman
At Next Level, I discovered the work of Jordan Waraksa when I followed the music to its source: a speaker in the form of an old phonograph, made from fumed oak and steel. Photo: Courtesy of Jordan Waraksa
Jerry Helling, president and creative director of Bernhardt Design, has every reason to be happy as he enjoys a rare moment off his feet during the ICFF in Bernhardt’s expansive exhibition space. The Bombom chair Jerry is sitting in, designed by Favaretto & Partners, ranks as one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever experienced, and that is saying a lot. Photo: Wendy Goodman

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