The cool kids hang out at ICFF. Have you gone? Although it’s the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, enough lighting resources line the aisles of New York City’s Javits Center each May to make this show worth a trip. And what a scintillating selection of illuminated innovations it presents (“Wow Factory,” page 62)—sexy enough to make you fall in love with lighting all over again.
Exhibitors at this year’s installment shared a fascination with technology and process, as the products on display often explored the use of alternative light sources, green manufacturing and unconventional materials. But an even more evident common thread was a touch of eccentricity. Consider the cheeky chap on this issue’s cover, the sarcastic dining room chandelier in Style We Like (page 48) and just about any of the strikingly unusual designs in “Wow Factory.” Whether tongue-in-cheek or bizarre, ICFF’s most compelling characters wandered off the beaten track.
But running with the cool kids isn’t always all that it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes it’s a tease: You can look, but you can’t touch. While it can be fun to take a peek at the wild side, for most consumers, the exotic remains a vicarious thrill—something that, in the end, they don’t bring home. It would be quite the niche lighting showroom that could stock a salesfloor with ICFF’s edgy fare.
However, the merits of exploring the contemporary category are many in today’s marketplace (Point of Sale, page 44). With trends skewing toward cleaner lines and fresh forms, consumers’ palates are better prepared for inventive styling. If nothing else, hanging a few captivating curiosities prominently could lend your store cachet as a destination for fashion-forward design.
You don’t have to stock the pieces. Just use them to make a statement. Even if customers only grant them a wide-eyed “wow” and then purchase more run-of-the-mill products, they’ll make an impact—raising the perceived value of both your business and the items customers do choose to bring home. It’s like name-dropping to get into a party. And once you’ve got your (or their) foot in the door, you can give ‘em what you got.
Where do you hang out?
Write: Residential Lighting