When ICFF opens its doors at the Javits Center on May 21, the French Pavilion will be making a return engagement.
“We made our start there last year, and now there are 49 companies represented this year,” says Sophie Dufour, agent for French artisans whose work will be on display. “Some are well known like the lighting company CVL Luminaires, some are from last year like Olivier Leclerc, and some are new like Moissonnier and Petit Fritur.”
But all are high-end, she says. “Whatever the product, we’d like for it to change the room,” she says. “There’s a company, Focus Chiminees, that makes fireplaces – it’s one piece to give a room the proper atmosphere.”
The French Pavilion is organized by l’Ameublement francais, the French furniture industry association, and will showcase nine exclusive French furniture designers under the banner “my furniture is French.”
The pavilion promises a selection of signature French luxury Je Ne Sais Quoi. French Pavilion brands include: Ardamez, Moissonnier, Sifas, Lafuma, Atelier Alain Ellouz, Muquet, Petite Friture and Objet de Curiosité.
“One young woman does only bird cages company, and there are textiles from a woman who used to work for Hermes,” she says. “They’re unique and beautiful, and a big success wherever they go – they’re all good quality products, with nothing below 300 to 400 Euros.”
A perky French company known as Fermob is making its entrance into the world of outdoor lighting. The Balad lamp, a practical, decorative and innovative product, signals the brand’s ambition to become a leading name in outdoor design and aesthetics.
The artisans are seeking architects, and vice versa. “It works both ways,” she says. “Architects are looking for these kinds of products.”
And ICFF is a good venue for French makers. “It’s a simple show –there’s no chi-chi,” she says. “Maison&Objet is huge and some exhibitors, you wonder why they’re there, the quality is so questionable. The selection at ICFF – it’s not huge but it is easy to see everybody and everybody has a story to tell.”
Next year, look for a Frencg gallery that’s doubled in size. Architects visiting the French Pavilion at ICFF, it seems, like the quality of art they find in it.
Little wonder there.