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Jen Renzi’s New York Design Week Top 5 (er, 7)

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Guest lists be gone! First, a rant. Top on my list is actually a pretty petty concern, but the phenomenon of fewer VIP lists, doormen, velvet ropes, and the like at the many, many, many off-site parties made my week much easier (and made me much less cranky). One week before ICFF kicks off, in-boxes get inundated with invites to the point that – if you are a hardworking journalist/blogger on a deadline/otherwise gainfully employed person – you simply do not have time to reply to ANY of them. Thus the dread of getting to a party, knowing you are not on the list, and having to grovel with an unsympathetic doorperson – only to get in and find the whole joint filled with riff-raff. Granted, getting bounced at the door is not a high tragedy for an un-VIP like yours truly, but when people like Michele de Lucchi are reportedly denied access to the inner sanctum of Moss (per Sight Unseen’s in-the-know Twitter feed), you know the whole guest list thing just makes no sense. This year I found it much easier to decide at the spur of the moment which of the 197 SoHo parties I was in the mood visit on Monday – and just stroll right in. In this case (1) De la Espada, whose entire collection I flipped for. (Plus, in a rather un-recessionary move, many of the showrooms served wine in real glasses rather than plastic cups. Made the whole thing more civilized.)

More after the jump…

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Thoughtful homages. There’s always way too much derivative work on view at ICFF: unacknowledged debts to demi-obscure modernists, blatant rip-offs of superior mid-century designs, etc. So it was refreshing to discover pieces that elegantly – and overtly – nodded to and actually rivaled the brilliance of their predecessors. (2) Joel Voisard Box Cart at the Future Perfect was a sort of high-touch, Appalachian-esque riff on Tejo Remy’s Chest of Drawers – but levitating on a vintage wheelbarrow. And (3) John Pomp‘s gorgeous cluster of hand-blown glass pendants echoed George Nelson Bubble lamps and Serge Mouille sconces. The designer described them as “John-Pomp-does-David-Weeks-doing- Serge Mouille.” So meta! (Photos via voisard3d.com and Future Perfect)

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John Pomp‘s hand-blown glass pendants

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Meet and greet and grin and bear it. Half the fun/torture of ICFF is catching up with people you do/not want to see. (Anyone grappling with time constraints needs an invisibility cloak just to get through the show in a timely fashion.) My fave catch-up moment was with Sweetu Patel, ex-head of Citizen:Citizen, who supplements his day job at a top design showroom by running possibly the world’s coolest new online shop, C’H’C’M, which reps obscure but classic men’s clothing and accessories brands. You would have looked so much cooler strolling around the Javitz in these Shuron Sidewinder shades (4). (He is one half of a design power couple; wife Nicole just launched a brilliant Zen-eco-meets-Real-Simple design consultancy, Homework.)

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Former I.D. editrix Monica Khemshurov’s McMasterpieces show at the Ace was one of the off-site highlights. Todd Bracher answered her challenged to make a piece using only pieces from the McCarr-Masters catalog with (5) a light formed from a folding tube of aluminum – so simple it hurts! (Photo via Core77)

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Something I don’t usually find much of at ICFF is charm, but two booths had it in spades. (6) Cranbrook’s high-concept yet high-touch meditations on everyday gestures turned out some super poetic and delightful products. (7) And UK silversmith Miranda Meilleur‘s acid-etched spoons – arrayed on a sawhorse-legged table – just made me smile. (Photo plus contact at innate-gestures.com)

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Miranda Meilleur‘s acid-etched spoons

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