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Industrial Design Essay Research Paper When Dennis

Industrial Design Essay, Research Paper When Dennis Miller told me about two new products he?ll preview at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring, I was elated. Why should I, someone who sees more chairs in 10 minutes than the average person does in a month, be so happy about the prospect of seeing two more? Because these particular pieces, and their histories, beautifully embody the mission and spirit the ICFF has pursued since its inception, under the sponsorship of Metropolis, in 1989.

Industrial Design Essay, Research Paper

When Dennis Miller told me about two new products he?ll preview at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring, I was elated. Why should I, someone who sees more chairs in 10 minutes than the average person does in a month, be so happy about the prospect of seeing two more? Because these particular pieces, and their histories, beautifully embody the mission and spirit the ICFF has pursued since its inception, under the sponsorship of Metropolis, in 1989.

It was a year earlier that Alan Steele, executive vice president of George Little Management (GLM), which produces the ICFF, and Horace Havemeyer III, publisher of Metropolis, identified a new market and decided to promote its growth. Their strategy: to create a different kind of trade show ? a kind Americans had not seen before.

Across the country, increasing numbers of young and ambitious designers were finding that they had nowhere to take their ideas; access to U.S. manufacturers was largely closed to them, as established firms with technically sophisticated production capabilities concentrated on making furnishings for the high-volume contract, commercial market. The situation forced many designers and architects to become entrepreneurs, setting up workshops as well as figuring out ways to market their products.

To establish the competitive marketplace that this ambitious but raw talent deserved, GLM hoped to attract successful manufacturers from other countries as well as the U.S. to exhibit alongside the young designers. Well-known Italian companies like Flos and Zanotta came, joined by a new generation of British craftsmen, including the irrepressible Danny Lane, who brought his plate-glass chaise longue.

The emphasis of the fledgling Fair was new product design, at a time when furniture shows focused more on presentation, such as showroom design, than on product innovation.

During the Eighties, cities, especially New York, were seen as dirty and dangerous places. Those of us who believed in the metropolis (and especially who loved New York) hoped that events like the ICFF would attract interior designers, architects, retailers, and eventually consumers looking for inspired products presented in the kind of edgy and creative setting that the city is known for. In the years that followed, New York has become a more desirable destination than ever for design-savvy people from all over the world.

To mark our entry into this newly identified market, Metropolis published a little magazine, ?Unusual Comforts: Furniture for a New Age,? that was a cross between a trade show directory and an art gallery catalogue; its hybrid nature was a reflection of the Fair?s special character. From the outset, we worked to integrate culture with commerce, creating a dialogue between design leaders and those just starting out. Andr?e Putman, Philippe Starck, and Sir Terence Conran talked about what it takes to be successful, while designers from university furniture departments provided a glimpse of what future furnishings of the home and workplace might look like.

Matthew Hoey, a 36-year-old architect who lives and works in Easton, Pennsylvania, is one of the several hundred designers who have made names for themselves ? and helped remake the landscape of American design ? by showing at the ICFF. Dennis Miller, who runs a respected New York showroom featuring American furniture design, was one of the founding exhibitors, and regularly finds new talent at the Fair.

Hoey and Miller connected about a year ago, and the two chairs that are about to hit the market are the result. One is a molded plywood stacking chair, clearly inspired by the aesthetic and technical savvy of Arne Jacobsen and the Eameses. The other design, which seems less referential but equally concerned with material experimentation, is the Corian Lounge Chair, with its seat, back, and armrests molded from the familiar solid surfacing material you see on kitchen countertops.

Hoey first showed these pieces at the ICFF, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Both earned him several newspaper and magazine stories, making him something of a celebrity. But this experience proved that while good press may do wonders for the ego, it?s not enough to build a successful business.

Until this year, the chairs remained virtual products ? though not for lack of effort on Hoey?s part. Shortly after he introduced the lounge chair, he set out to produce it independently, using fabricators in Pennsylvania. As he labored at putting together a manufacturing team, a national-brand furniture maker approached him about producing the design. But nothing came of this venture. Then DuPont called, wanting to show the biomorphic prototype in its Corian ads, which challenged readers of design magazines (including this one) to ?imagine how the old toaster will look sitting on this.? With constant exposure, the chair?s fame grew exponentially and Hoey?s luck changed. Future Corian ads will have a footnote: ?Available through Dennis Miller.?

Hoey isn?t sitting around waiting for royalty checks; he?s working on a new chair that will go beyond the popular retro-Modern style of the last few years. He says he?s tired of seeing the past rehashed, and criticizes designers who ?pretend that what they are doing is new.? Of his offering for ICFF 1999 he says, ?Nobody knows what tomorrow looks like, and any attempt at predicting it will seem ludicrous a few years from now. My new chair is for facing the unknown ? the risk, the mystery, the surprise, and the suspense.? The thinking seems promising. Fair goers will decide if the design is.

Hoey?s innovative approach to a familiar surfacing material may be part of a nationwide shift in thinking about quotidian products. Consider Target. The giant chain?s hiring of Princeton, New Jersey?based architect Michael Graves to design an extensive line of furnishings and the ads for the line that have appeared in the New York Times and on the backs of New York City buses are clear signs that Target is repositioning itself in a market of look-alike mall tenants.

What exactly is this new branding strategy expected to do for the identities of the architect and the retailer that hired him? To find out, we invited Michael Graves and Dave Gerton, buyer for Target, to participate in the third annual Metropolis Conference at the ICFF. Meanwhile, Duravit and Dornbracht, the German manufacturers of luxury bath fixtures and faucets, respectively, will introduce collections of Graves-designed products at the show. Which prompts the question, can one man satisfy the branding needs of both a mass market merchandiser and two purveyors of exclusive European products in America? And how do all three clients feel about this?

?Wonderbrands,? as we call the conference, will explore the many aspects of creating and maintaining a distinctive identity at a time when it?s often hard to tell one product from another. Discussion will center around design and business strategies for encouraging emotional attachments to products and companies, why successful brands communicate a sense of trust, how image erosion can be reversed to become image revival, how future consumers might react to current branding efforts, ?e-tailing,? and much more. The cross-disciplinary nature of creating and maintaining successful brands will be the connecting thread of the conference.

Among other featured attractions at ICFF ?99 will be a large group of Italian firms. Backed by a strong trade organization, a multipronged marketing campaign is about to present internationally known Italian firms to the American market. Some manufacturers, like Kartell and Luceplan, have established themselves ahead of this wave. Their brand-name stores in Soho function as they do in other cities worldwide, as ?beacons,? notes Ivan Luini, the man who brought them here. The public face of Kartell, for instance, is the elegant shop on Greene Street, the handsome ads, the inventive booth at the ICFF. But for Luini, what builds a powerful brand most effectively ? particularly in the U.S. ? is quick and courteous service.

In keeping with the theme of the Metropolis Conference and to find out how ICFF exhibitors define their own brands, we asked some of them to identify the one design that best represents their firm?s identity. A small sampling is shown on these pages. For more responses, see the ICFF Directory, which is available at the Javits Center in May. When Dennis Miller told me about two new products he?ll preview at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring, I was elated. Why should I, someone who sees more chairs in 10 minutes than the average person does in a month, be so happy about the prospect of seeing two more? Because these particular pieces, and their histories, beautifully embody the mission and spirit the ICFF has pursued since its inception, under the sponsorship of Metropolis, in 1989.

It was a year earlier that Alan Steele, executive vice president of George Little Management (GLM), which produces the ICFF, and Horace Havemeyer III, publisher of Metropolis, identified a new market and decided to promote its growth. Their strategy: to create a different kind of trade show ? a kind Americans had not seen before.

Across the country, increasing numbers of young and ambitious designers were finding that they had nowhere to take their ideas; access to U.S. manufacturers was largely closed to them, as established firms with technically sophisticated production capabilities concentrated on making furnishings for the high-volume contract, commercial market. The situation forced many designers and architects to become entrepreneurs, setting up workshops as well as figuring out ways to market their products.

To establish the competitive marketplace that this ambitious but raw talent deserved, GLM hoped to attract successful manufacturers from other countries as well as the U.S. to exhibit alongside the young designers. Well-known Italian companies like Flos and Zanotta came, joined by a new generation of British craftsmen, including the irrepressible Danny Lane, who brought his plate-glass chaise longue.

The emphasis of the fledgling Fair was new product design, at a time when furniture shows focused more on presentation, such as showroom design, than on product innovation.

During the Eighties, cities, especially New York, were seen as dirty and dangerous places. Those of us who believed in the metropolis (and especially who loved New York) hoped that events like the ICFF would attract interior designers, architects, retailers, and eventually consumers looking for inspired products presented in the kind of edgy and creative setting that the city is known for. In the years that followed, New York has become a more desirable destination than ever for design-savvy people from all over the world.

To mark our entry into this newly identified market, Metropolis published a little magazine, ?Unusual Comforts: Furniture for a New Age,? that was a cross between a trade show directory and an art gallery catalogue; its hybrid nature was a reflection of the Fair?s special character. From the outset, we worked to integrate culture with commerce, creating a dialogue between design leaders and those just starting out. Andr?e Putman, Philippe Starck, and Sir Terence Conran talked about what it takes to be successful, while designers from university furniture departments provided a glimpse of what future furnishings of the home and workplace might look like.

Matthew Hoey, a 36-year-old architect who lives and works in Easton, Pennsylvania, is one of the several hundred designers who have made names for themselves ? and helped remake the landscape of American design ? by showing at the ICFF. Dennis Miller, who runs a respected New York showroom featuring American furniture design, was one of the founding exhibitors, and regularly finds new talent at the Fair.

Hoey and Miller connected about a year ago, and the two chairs that are about to hit the market are the result. One is a molded plywood stacking chair, clearly inspired by the aesthetic and technical savvy of Arne Jacobsen and the Eameses. The other design, which seems less referential but equally concerned with material experimentation, is the Corian Lounge Chair, with its seat, back, and armrests molded from the familiar solid surfacing material you see on kitchen countertops.

Hoey first showed these pieces at the ICFF, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Both earned him several newspaper and magazine stories, making him something of a celebrity. But this experience proved that while good press may do wonders for the ego, it?s not enough to build a successful business.

Until this year, the chairs remained virtual products ? though not for lack of effort on Hoey?s part. Shortly after he introduced the lounge chair, he set out to produce it independently, using fabricators in Pennsylvania. As he labored at putting together a manufacturing team, a national-brand furniture maker approached him about producing the design. But nothing came of this venture. Then DuPont called, wanting to show the biomorphic prototype in its Corian ads, which challenged readers of design magazines (including this one) to ?imagine how the old toaster will look sitting on this.? With constant exposure, the chair?s fame grew exponentially and Hoey?s luck changed. Future Corian ads will have a footnote: ?Available through Dennis Miller.?

Hoey isn?t sitting around waiting for royalty checks; he?s working on a new chair that will go beyond the popular retro-Modern style of the last few years. He says he?s tired of seeing the past rehashed, and criticizes designers who ?pretend that what they are doing is new.? Of his offering for ICFF 1999 he says, ?Nobody knows what tomorrow looks like, and any attempt at predicting it will seem ludicrous a few years from now. My new chair is for facing the unknown ? the risk, the mystery, the surprise, and the suspense.? The thinking seems promising. Fair goers will decide if the design is.

Hoey?s innovative approach to a familiar surfacing material may be part of a nationwide shift in thinking about quotidian products. Consider Target. The giant chain?s hiring of Princeton, New Jersey?based architect Michael Graves to design an extensive line of furnishings and the ads for the line that have appeared in the New York Times and on the backs of New York City buses are clear signs that Target is repositioning itself in a market of look-alike mall tenants.

What exactly is this new branding strategy expected to do for the identities of the architect and the retailer that hired him? To find out, we invited Michael Graves and Dave Gerton, buyer for Target, to participate in the third annual Metropolis Conference at the ICFF. Meanwhile, Duravit and Dornbracht, the German manufacturers of luxury bath fixtures and faucets, respectively, will introduce collections of Graves-designed products at the show. Which prompts the question, can one man satisfy the branding needs of both a mass market merchandiser and two purveyors of exclusive European products in America? And how do all three clients feel about this?

?Wonderbrands,? as we call the conference, will explore the many aspects of creating and maintaining a distinctive identity at a time when it?s often hard to tell one product from another. Discussion will center around design and business strategies for encouraging emotional attachments to products and companies, why successful brands communicate a sense of trust, how image erosion can be reversed to become image revival, how future consumers might react to current branding efforts, ?e-tailing,? and much more. The cross-disciplinary nature of creating and maintaining successful brands will be the connecting thread of the conference.

Among other featured attractions at ICFF ?99 will be a large group of Italian firms. Backed by a strong trade organization, a multipronged marketing campaign is about to present internationally known Italian firms to the American market. Some manufacturers, like Kartell and Luceplan, have established themselves ahead of this wave. Their brand-name stores in Soho function as they do in other cities worldwide, as ?beacons,? notes Ivan Luini, the man who brought them here. The public face of Kartell, for instance, is the elegant shop on Greene Street, the handsome ads, the inventive booth at the ICFF. But for Luini, what builds a powerful brand most effectively ? particularly in the U.S. ? is quick and courteous service.

In keeping with the theme of the Metropolis Conference and to find out how ICFF exhibitors define their own brands, we asked some of them to identify the one design that best represents their firm?s identity. A small sampling is shown on these pages. For more responses, see the ICFF Directory, which is available at the Javits Center in May. When Dennis Miller told me about two new products he?ll preview at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring, I was elated. Why should I, someone who sees more chairs in 10 minutes than the average person does in a month, be so happy about the prospect of seeing two more? Because these particular pieces, and their histories, beautifully embody the mission and spirit the ICFF has pursued since its inception, under the sponsorship of Metropolis, in 1989.

It was a year earlier that Alan Steele, executive vice president of George Little Management (GLM), which produces the ICFF, and Horace Havemeyer III, publisher of Metropolis, identified a new market and decided to promote its growth. Their strategy: to create a different kind of trade show ? a kind Americans had not seen before.

Across the country, increasing numbers of young and ambitious designers were finding that they had nowhere to take their ideas; access to U.S. manufacturers was largely closed to them, as established firms with technically sophisticated production capabilities concentrated on making furnishings for the high-volume contract, commercial market. The situation forced many designers and architects to become entrepreneurs, setting up workshops as well as figuring out ways to market their products.

To establish the competitive marketplace that this ambitious but raw talent deserved, GLM hoped to attract successful manufacturers from other countries as well as the U.S. to exhibit alongside the young designers. Well-known Italian companies like Flos and Zanotta came, joined by a new generation of British craftsmen, including the irrepressible Danny Lane, who brought his plate-glass chaise longue.

The emphasis of the fledgling Fair was new product design, at a time when furniture shows focused more on presentation, such as showroom design, than on product innovation.

During the Eighties, cities, especially New York, were seen as dirty and dangerous places. Those of us who believed in the metropolis (and especially who loved New York) hoped that events like the ICFF would attract interior designers, architects, retailers, and eventually consumers looking for inspired products presented in the kind of edgy and creative setting that the city is known for. In the years that followed, New York has become a more desirable destination than ever for design-savvy people from all over the world.

To mark our entry into this newly identified market, Metropolis published a little magazine, ?Unusual Comforts: Furniture for a New Age,? that was a cross between a trade show directory and an art gallery catalogue; its hybrid nature was a reflection of the Fair?s special character. From the outset, we worked to integrate culture with commerce, creating a dialogue between design leaders and those just starting out. Andr?e Putman, Philippe Starck, and Sir Terence Conran talked about what it takes to be successful, while designers from university furniture departments provided a glimpse of what future furnishings of the home and workplace might look like.

Matthew Hoey, a 36-year-old architect who lives and works in Easton, Pennsylvania, is one of the several hundred designers who have made names for themselves ? and helped remake the landscape of American design ? by showing at the ICFF. Dennis Miller, who runs a respected New York showroom featuring American furniture design, was one of the founding exhibitors, and regularly finds new talent at the Fair.

Hoey and Miller connected about a year ago, and the two chairs that are about to hit the market are the result. One is a molded plywood stacking chair, clearly inspired by the aesthetic and technical savvy of Arne Jacobsen and the Eameses. The other design, which seems less referential but equally concerned with material experimentation, is the Corian Lounge Chair, with its seat, back, and armrests molded from the familiar solid surfacing material you see on kitchen countertops.

Hoey first showed these pieces at the ICFF, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Both earned him several newspaper and magazine stories, making him something of a celebrity. But this experience proved that while good press may do wonders for the ego, it?s not enough to build a successful business.

Until this year, the chairs remained virtual products ? though not for lack of effort on Hoey?s part. Shortly after he introduced the lounge chair, he set out to produce it independently, using fabricators in Pennsylvania. As he labored at putting together a manufacturing team, a national-brand furniture maker approached him about producing the design. But nothing came of this venture. Then DuPont called, wanting to show the biomorphic prototype in its Corian ads, which challenged readers of design magazines (including this one) to ?imagine how the old toaster will look sitting on this.? With constant exposure, the chair?s fame grew exponentially and Hoey?s luck changed. Future Corian ads will have a footnote: ?Available through Dennis Miller.?

Hoey isn?t sitting around waiting for royalty checks; he?s working on a new chair that will go beyond the popular retro-Modern style of the last few years. He says he?s tired of seeing the past rehashed, and criticizes designers who ?pretend that what they are doing is new.? Of his offering for ICFF 1999 he says, ?Nobody knows what tomorrow looks like, and any attempt at predicting it will seem ludicrous a few years from now. My new chair is for facing the unknown ? the risk, the mystery, the surprise, and the suspense.? The thinking seems promising. Fair goers will decide if the design is.

Hoey?s innovative approach to a familiar surfacing material may be part of a nationwide shift in thinking about quotidian products. Consider Target. The giant chain?s hiring of Princeton, New Jersey?based architect Michael Graves to design an extensive line of furnishings and the ads for the line that have appeared in the New York Times and on the backs of New York City buses are clear signs that Target is repositioning itself in a market of look-alike mall tenants.

What exactly is this new branding strategy expected to do for the identities of the architect and the retailer that hired him? To find out, we invited Michael Graves and Dave Gerton, buyer for Target, to participate in the third annual Metropolis Conference at the ICFF. Meanwhile, Duravit and Dornbracht, the German manufacturers of luxury bath fixtures and faucets, respectively, will introduce collections of Graves-designed products at the show. Which prompts the question, can one man satisfy the branding needs of both a mass market merchandiser and two purveyors of exclusive European products in America? And how do all three clients feel about this?

?Wonderbrands,? as we call the conference, will explore the many aspects of creating and maintaining a distinctive identity at a time when it?s often hard to tell one product from another. Discussion will center around design and business strategies for encouraging emotional attachments to products and companies, why successful brands communicate a sense of trust, how image erosion can be reversed to become image revival, how future consumers might react to current branding efforts, ?e-tailing,? and much more. The cross-disciplinary nature of creating and maintaining successful brands will be the connecting thread of the conference.

Among other featured attractions at ICFF ?99 will be a large group of Italian firms. Backed by a strong trade organization, a multipronged marketing campaign is about to present internationally known Italian firms to the American market. Some manufacturers, like Kartell and Luceplan, have established themselves ahead of this wave. Their brand-name stores in Soho function as they do in other cities worldwide, as ?beacons,? notes Ivan Luini, the man who brought them here. The public face of Kartell, for instance, is the elegant shop on Greene Street, the handsome ads, the inventive booth at the ICFF. But for Luini, what builds a powerful brand most effectively ? particularly in the U.S. ? is quick and courteous service.

In keeping with the theme of the Metropolis Conference and to find out how ICFF exhibitors define their own brands, we asked some of them to identify the one design that best represents their firm?s identity. A small sampling is shown on these pages. For more responses, see the ICFF Directory, which is available at the Javits Center in May. When Dennis Miller told me about two new products he?ll preview at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring, I was elated. Why should I, someone who sees more chairs in 10 minutes than the average person does in a month, be so happy about the prospect of seeing two more? Because these particular pieces, and their histories, beautifully embody the mission and spirit the ICFF has pursued since its inception, under the sponsorship of Metropolis, in 1989.

It was a year earlier that Alan Steele, executive vice president of George Little Management (GLM), which produces the ICFF, and Horace Havemeyer III, publisher of Metropolis, identified a new market and decided to promote its growth. Their strategy: to create a different kind of trade show ? a kind Americans had not seen before.

Across the country, increasing numbers of young and ambitious designers were finding that they had nowhere to take their ideas; access to U.S. manufacturers was largely closed to them, as established firms with technically sophisticated production capabilities concentrated on making furnishings for the high-volume contract, commercial market. The situation forced many designers and architects to become entrepreneurs, setting up workshops as well as figuring out ways to market their products.

To establish the competitive marketplace that this ambitious but raw talent deserved, GLM hoped to attract successful manufacturers from other countries as well as the U.S. to exhibit alongside the young designers. Well-known Italian companies like Flos and Zanotta came, joined by a new generation of British craftsmen, including the irrepressible Danny Lane, who brought his plate-glass chaise longue.

The emphasis of the fledgling Fair was new product design, at a time when furniture shows focused more on presentation, such as showroom design, than on product innovation.

During the Eighties, cities, especially New York, were seen as dirty and dangerous places. Those of us who believed in the metropolis (and especially who loved New York) hoped that events like the ICFF would attract interior designers, architects, retailers, and eventually consumers looking for inspired products presented in the kind of edgy and creative setting that the city is known for. In the years that followed, New York has become a more desirable destination than ever for design-savvy people from all over the world.

To mark our entry into this newly identified market, Metropolis published a little magazine, ?Unusual Comforts: Furniture for a New Age,? that was a cross between a trade show directory and an art gallery catalogue; its hybrid nature was a reflection of the Fair?s special character. From the outset, we worked to integrate culture with commerce, creating a dialogue between design leaders and those just starting out. Andr?e Putman, Philippe Starck, and Sir Terence Conran talked about what it takes to be successful, while designers from university furniture departments provided a glimpse of what future furnishings of the home and workplace might look like.

Matthew Hoey, a 36-year-old architect who lives and works in Easton, Pennsylvania, is one of the several hundred designers who have made names for themselves ? and helped remake the landscape of American design ? by showing at the ICFF. Dennis Miller, who runs a respected New York showroom featuring American furniture design, was one of the founding exhibitors, and regularly finds new talent at the Fair.

Hoey and Miller connected about a year ago, and the two chairs that are about to hit the market are the result. One is a molded plywood stacking chair, clearly inspired by the aesthetic and technical savvy of Arne Jacobsen and the Eameses. The other design, which seems less referential but equally concerned with material experimentation, is the Corian Lounge Chair, with its seat, back, and armrests molded from the familiar solid surfacing material you see on kitchen countertops.

Hoey first showed these pieces at the ICFF, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Both earned him several newspaper and magazine stories, making him something of a celebrity. But this experience proved that while good press may do wonders for the ego, it?s not enough to build a successful business.

Until this year, the chairs remained virtual products ? though not for lack of effort on Hoey?s part. Shortly after he introduced the lounge chair, he set out to produce it independently, using fabricators in Pennsylvania. As he labored at putting together a manufacturing team, a national-brand furniture maker approached him about producing the design. But nothing came of this venture. Then DuPont called, wanting to show the biomorphic prototype in its Corian ads, which challenged readers of design magazines (including this one) to ?imagine how the old toaster will look sitting on this.? With constant exposure, the chair?s fame grew exponentially and Hoey?s luck changed. Future Corian ads will have a footnote: ?Available through Dennis Miller.?

Hoey isn?t sitting around waiting for royalty checks; he?s working on a new chair that will go beyond the popular retro-Modern style of the last few years. He says he?s tired of seeing the past rehashed, and criticizes designers who ?pretend that what they are doing is new.? Of his offering for ICFF 1999 he says, ?Nobody knows what tomorrow looks like, and any attempt at predicting it will seem ludicrous a few years from now. My new chair is for facing the unknown ? the risk, the mystery, the surprise, and the suspense.? The thinking seems promising. Fair goers will decide if the design is.

Hoey?s innovative approach to a familiar surfacing material may be part of a nationwide shift in thinking about quotidian products. Consider Target. The giant chain?s hiring of Princeton, New Jersey?based architect Michael Graves to design an extensive line of furnishings and the ads for the line that have appeared in the New York Times and on the backs of New York City buses are clear signs that Target is repositioning itself in a market of look-alike mall tenants.

What exactly is this new branding strategy expected to do for the identities of the architect and the retailer that hired him? To find out, we invited Michael Graves and Dave Gerton, buyer for Target, to participate in the third annual Metropolis Conference at the ICFF. Meanwhile, Duravit and Dornbracht, the German manufacturers of luxury bath fixtures and faucets, respectively, will introduce collections of Graves-designed products at the show. Which prompts the question, can one man satisfy the branding needs of both a mass market merchandiser and two purveyors of exclusive European products in America? And how do all three clients feel about this?

?Wonderbrands,? as we call the conference, will explore the many aspects of creating and maintaining a distinctive identity at a time when it?s often hard to tell one product from another. Discussion will center around design and business strategies for encouraging emotional attachments to products and companies, why successful brands communicate a sense of trust, how image erosion can be reversed to become image revival, how future consumers might react to current branding efforts, ?e-tailing,? and much more. The cross-disciplinary nature of creating and maintaining successful brands will be the connecting thread of the conference.

Among other featured attractions at ICFF ?99 will be a large group of Italian firms. Backed by a strong trade organization, a multipronged marketing campaign is about to present internationally known Italian firms to the American market. Some manufacturers, like Kartell and Luceplan, have established themselves ahead of this wave. Their brand-name stores in Soho function as they do in other cities worldwide, as ?beacons,? notes Ivan Luini, the man who brought them here. The public face of Kartell, for instance, is the elegant shop on Greene Street, the handsome ads, the inventive booth at the ICFF. But for Luini, what builds a powerful brand most effectively ? particularly in the U.S. ? is quick and courteous service.

In keeping with the theme of the Metropolis Conference and to find out how ICFF exhibitors define their own brands, we asked some of them to identify the one design that best represents their firm?s identity. A small sampling is shown on these pages. For more responses, see the ICFF Directory, which is available at the Javits Center in May.

Bibliography

When Dennis Miller told me about two new products he?ll preview at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this spring, I was elated. Why should I, someone who sees more chairs in 10 minutes than the average person does in a month, be so happy about the prospect of seeing two more? Because these particular pieces, and their histories, beautifully embody the mission and spirit the ICFF has pursued since its inception, under the sponsorship of Metropolis, in 1989.

It was a year earlier that Alan Steele, executive vice president of George Little Management (GLM), which produces the ICFF, and Horace Havemeyer III, publisher of Metropolis, identified a new market and decided to promote its growth. Their strategy: to create a different kind of trade show ? a kind Americans had not seen before.

Across the country, increasing numbers of young and ambitious designers were finding that they had nowhere to take their ideas; access to U.S. manufacturers was largely closed to them, as established firms with technically sophisticated production capabilities concentrated on making furnishings for the high-volume contract, commercial market. The situation forced many designers and architects to become entrepreneurs, setting up workshops as well as figuring out ways to market their products.

To establish the competitive marketplace that this ambitious but raw talent deserved, GLM hoped to attract successful manufacturers from other countries as well as the U.S. to exhibit alongside the young designers. Well-known Italian companies like Flos and Zanotta came, joined by a new generation of British craftsmen, including the irrepressible Danny Lane, who brought his plate-glass chaise longue.

The emphasis of the fledgling Fair was new product design, at a time when furniture shows focused more on presentation, such as showroom design, than on product innovation.

During the Eighties, cities, especially New York, were seen as dirty and dangerous places. Those of us who believed in the metropolis (and especially who loved New York) hoped that events like the ICFF would attract interior designers, architects, retailers, and eventually consumers looking for inspired products presented in the kind of edgy and creative setting that the city is known for. In the years that followed, New York has become a more desirable destination than ever for design-savvy people from all over the world.

To mark our entry into this newly identified market, Metropolis published a little magazine, ?Unusual Comforts: Furniture for a New Age,? that was a cross between a trade show directory and an art gallery catalogue; its hybrid nature was a reflection of the Fair?s special character. From the outset, we worked to integrate culture with commerce, creating a dialogue between design leaders and those just starting out. Andr?e Putman, Philippe Starck, and Sir Terence Conran talked about what it takes to be successful, while designers from university furniture departments provided a glimpse of what future furnishings of the home and workplace might look like.

Matthew Hoey, a 36-year-old architect who lives and works in Easton, Pennsylvania, is one of the several hundred designers who have made names for themselves ? and helped remake the landscape of American design ? by showing at the ICFF. Dennis Miller, who runs a respected New York showroom featuring American furniture design, was one of the founding exhibitors, and regularly finds new talent at the Fair.

Hoey and Miller connected about a year ago, and the two chairs that are about to hit the market are the result. One is a molded plywood stacking chair, clearly inspired by the aesthetic and technical savvy of Arne Jacobsen and the Eameses. The other design, which seems less referential but equally concerned with material experimentation, is the Corian Lounge Chair, with its seat, back, and armrests molded from the familiar solid surfacing material you see on kitchen countertops.

Hoey first showed these pieces at the ICFF, in 1995 and 1996, respectively. Both earned him several newspaper and magazine stories, making him something of a celebrity. But this experience proved that while good press may do wonders for the ego, it?s not enough to build a successful business.

Until this year, the chairs remained virtual products ? though not for lack of effort on Hoey?s part. Shortly after he introduced the lounge chair, he set out to produce it independently, using fabricators in Pennsylvania. As he labored at putting together a manufacturing team, a national-brand furniture maker approached him about producing the design. But nothing came of this venture. Then DuPont called, wanting to show the biomorphic prototype in its Corian ads, which challenged readers of design magazines (including this one) to ?imagine how the old toaster will look sitting on this.? With constant exposure, the chair?s fame grew exponentially and Hoey?s luck changed. Future Corian ads will have a footnote: ?Available through Dennis Miller.?

Hoey isn?t sitting around waiting for royalty checks; he?s working on a new chair that will go beyond the popular retro-Modern style of the last few years. He says he?s tired of seeing the past rehashed, and criticizes designers who ?pretend that what they are doing is new.? Of his offering for ICFF 1999 he says, ?Nobody knows what tomorrow looks like, and any attempt at predicting it will seem ludicrous a few years from now. My new chair is for facing the unknown ? the risk, the mystery, the surprise, and the suspense.? The thinking seems promising. Fair goers will decide if the design is.

Hoey?s innovative approach to a familiar surfacing material may be part of a nationwide shift in thinking about quotidian products. Consider Target. The giant chain?s hiring of Princeton, New Jersey?based architect Michael Graves to design an extensive line of furnishings and the ads for the line that have appeared in the New York Times and on the backs of New York City buses are clear signs that Target is repositioning itself in a market of look-alike mall tenants.

What exactly is this new branding strategy expected to do for the identities of the architect and the retailer that hired him? To find out, we invited Michael Graves and Dave Gerton, buyer for Target, to participate in the third annual Metropolis Conference at the ICFF. Meanwhile, Duravit and Dornbracht, the German manufacturers of luxury bath fixtures and faucets, respectively, will introduce collections of Graves-designed products at the show. Which prompts the question, can one man satisfy the branding needs of both a mass market merchandiser and two purveyors of exclusive European products in America? And how do all three clients feel about this?

?Wonderbrands,? as we call the conference, will explore the many aspects of creating and maintaining a distinctive identity at a time when it?s often hard to tell one product from another. Discussion will center around design and business strategies for encouraging emotional attachments to products and companies, why successful brands communicate a sense of trust, how image erosion can be reversed to become image revival, how future consumers might react to current branding efforts, ?e-tailing,? and much more. The cross-disciplinary nature of creating and maintaining successful brands will be the connecting thread of the conference.

Among other featured attractions at ICFF ?99 will be a large group of Italian firms. Backed by a strong trade organization, a multipronged marketing campaign is about to present internationally known Italian firms to the American market. Some manufacturers, like Kartell and Luceplan, have established themselves ahead of this wave. Their brand-name stores in Soho function as they do in other cities worldwide, as ?beacons,? notes Ivan Luini, the man who brought them here. The public face of Kartell, for instance, is the elegant shop on Greene Street, the handsome ads, the inventive booth at the ICFF. But for Luini, what builds a powerful brand most effectively ? particularly in the U.S. ? is quick and courteous service.

In keeping with the theme of the Metropolis Conference and to find out how ICFF exhibitors define their own brands, we asked some of them to identify the one design that best represents their firm?s identity. A small sampling is shown on these pages. For more responses, see the ICFF Directory, which is available at the Javits Center in May.

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