Every year, hundreds of people flock to New York to see the annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show and the latest furniture and accessories. Beautiful woodworking was in evidence throughout the exhibit but there were also some surprising use of unusual materials. Furniture and furnishings manufacturers from around the world along with students' designs make up a diverse and exciting exhibition.
A clear respect and love for wood is expressed in the furniture by From the Source. The bench, coffee table and media credenza takes advantage of the unique grain of the teak wood. The credenza is topped by mango wood and the cabinets below of teak. The coffee table comes from the root of the teak tree where the oldest section resides and the more interesting knots and grains appear.
Nojo Design from Easthampton, Massachusetts created distinctive headboards for the bedroom. Made of maple, cherry or mahogany hardwoods, each headboard is uniquely designed by owner, Jo Roessler. There are also matching night tables and dressers as well. Shown below on the left is the Elaine headboard made of maple and the bed on the right is from walnut. The Elaine bed evokes the Arts and Crafts era with its sturdy outlines and the stylized curves in the detail.
A more modern take on the bed is presented by Shimna. Their Liffey bed is a platform bed with four hidden drawers underneath. Its headboard is made from one slab of walnut with accents of maple from the mini drawers. These drawers slide out from the headboard and can house personal items.
David Stine, from Illinois, hand picks fallen trees to become the building blocks for his furniture. Because no two trees are alike, Stine's furniture is one-of-a-kind. The magnificent Jackson coffee table is made from a cross-section of a giant sycamore tree with a base from black walnut. The wave bench is from American black walnut with legs of white oak.
Students of furniture design can also display at the Home Design Show. SCAD or Savannah College of Art and Design presented their best graduate work, from furniture to lighting. This year, student Joseph Ryan Osborne introduced his table made of bent plywood and zebrawood veneer, creating an elegant contemporary version of a mid-century table. Another SCAD student, Timothy Luscher, created a sophisticated chair that would look at home in any Architectural Digest interior. Made of seike wood from Ecuador with leather upholstery, the Luscher chair will be reproduced by the Adriana Hoyos furniture company.
One of the surprises of the show comes from Studio Rumplestiltskin. They reintroduced the art of straw marquetry, a technique founded by French artisans in the Louis XVI period. Straw marquetry involves the process of taking rye straw, dyeing, splitting, flattening and ironing it. The resulting straw is then laid out in geometric patterns and glued to wood. Peter Tischler, the studio's cabinetmaker, custom designs each cabinet, including the chest below made of "gold" straw. The gold straw is reminiscent of the children's fairy tale where a dwarf named Rumpelstiltskin transforms a bale of straw into real gold. The colorful screen behind the chest is from different dyes of straw interspersed with wood panels.
Other furniture makers unite wood with other materials to come up with amazing combinations. Studio Roeper from San Francisco takes brass or copper and creates unique patinas and then joins the metal with hardwoods. The coffee table below is part of a series called Divided Lands and is made of brass with charred rift oak.
A fun but highly functional furnishing was introduced by Muddwall from New York. If you ever threw up your hands in despair over the mess of your entry hall, these mud walls are for you. Muddwall created different wall organizers meant to sort out and manage the stuff that you bring in to your home. The London version of the mud wall is a classic look with hooks for your coats and keys, a mirror, and baskets for the mail. The My Wall version is for a child's room with shelves for their toys and a little blackboard for their drawings. There is also a more specific mud wall organizer — the Merlot — meant to organize your wine bottles and wine glasses. In fact, there are other mud wall organizers meant to fit your specific home styles, even an eco-friendly one made of bamboo.
The Architectural Digest Home Design Show is a great source of ideas and inspiration for all homeowners as well as designers. You get a wide variety under one roof and even if you don't buy anything from the vendors, you come away positively charged with plans for your own space or your client's place.