House & Home Roundup: May 19, 2005

House & Home Roundup: May 19, 2005

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Maxwell Ryan
May 20, 2005

(Rate this week's H&H at the bottom.)

"It isn't as good as last year."
"It didn't have any furniture... mainly chochtkes."
"I miss the Italians and the Annex."

These are things we heard people say about ICFF this past week. Leave it to William Hamilton to rub it in. In his lead article, Are Designers Sheathing the Cutting Edge, he makes it clear ICFF has jumped the shark and adds, "The proliferation of makeover shows on television..makes it clear just how shallow the pool of thought is in contemporary design."

We couldn't disagree more.

While we know it is a critics job to find fault, and the mass interest in home improvement has led to some pretty heinous excuses for "design," Hamilton's thesis is a pathetic cop out.

American designers are not "sheathing the cutting edge," they are simply in the midst of a major transition as the Ralph Lauren/Martha Stewart Era rattles FINALLY to close and new voices struggle to be heard.

Design creativity is taking off in Europe, and designers in the US, from California to Brooklyn, are absorbing this new inventiveness while trying to integrate it with our DIY frugality and a consumer market mentality that marginalizes anyone who isn't designing for Target.

American design will be cutting edge soon enough. Watch out.

If ICFF was anything this year, it was a fractured tower of Babel. Designers were calling out in many different languages and no one was dominant. Even the panoply of off-site shows bears this out.

This is not bad. This is good.

These are the fertile signs of a transition. Guaranteed, we will see a dominant style emerge in the next three to four years, along with some new heroes to lead the way. Right now, the field is wide open.

This glass is half full.
MGR

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