I don’t know if I’m just seeing everything through “outdoor-tinted glasses” or if the furniture industry, is indeed, trying to make us feel like we’re perpetually outside. That’s what it felt like at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, May 17–20, in New York City.
Polar Moss makes mesmerizing indoor art and sculpture out of colorful reindeer moss that makes you look twice. Flower Box uses innovative natural modern horticultural arrangements that last for years in all sizes up to vertical wall gardens inspired by Patrick Blanc. The designs are just as practical as they are beautiful.
I fell in love with Green Towers living furniture. They integrate micro-farming right into your existing furniture with hydroponic and aquaponic technologies. This actually means that you can produce a portion of your own food no matter where you live or work!
The outdoors are getting more stylish and comfortable, too. Fermob’s classic French Bistro chairs bring color and a lot more styles than before. Sifas makes the “in-out” lifestyle more luxurious. Galanter & Jones is warmer with adjustable heating. Garden Glory makes it glamorous with colorful hoses and whimsical accessories for a more fabulous gardening experience. Recycled wood is the material for choice for Peter Glassford’s collage murals and tiles that make you feel like you’re in the forest when you’re nowhere near one.
For those in between the indoor and the outdoor is furniture for the “urban nomad.” Dynomighty, the innovators that introduced the original Mighty Wallet that spawned an entire new genre of Tyvek Wallets around the world, showcased a new cardboard furniture concept: portable furniture that is fun, flat and can be assembled quickly and easily. Mio Culture also makes environmentally sound adjustable room dividers and lighting that can be customized, color, cut, rotates and pasted to your specific needs. This company is really dedicated to transforming culture through the design of sustainable products that are both beautiful and affordable.
Allergies are another thing more from the outdoors to the indoors. Our indoor environments are just as much to blame as trigger foods and the pollen count outside. I’ve noticed more brands positioning their products to help create allergy-resistant homes. The tools go far beyond air quality and can include filtration systems, surfaces and treatments. Motawi, a high-end tile company, is seeing its tiles expand beyond the backsplash as people opt for hard surfaces that are easy to keep clean and free of toxins. HearthCabinets Ventless Fireplaces provide the roar of an open fire without the usual allergens. They are also safer, cleaner and usable indoors and outdoors, year-round. It gives of the glow of a roaring wood fire without the heat and can be placed safely, virtually anywhere (but a closet). It’s the only ventless fireplace approved by the New York Fire Department.
As the walls between between indoor and outdoor disappear, I expect to see even more innovations and creative designs.
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Nancy Trent is a writer and speaker, a lifelong health advocate, a globe-trotting trend watcher and the founder and president of Trent & Company, a New York-based marketing communications firm. Trent & Company grew out of Nancy’s personal commitment to helping people live longer and healthier lives. A former journalist for New York magazine, Nancy has written seven books on healthy lifestyles, serves on the editorial boards of several magazines and travels around the world speaking at conferences and trade shows on trends in the marketplace. She is a recognized expert in PR with more than 30 years of experience creating and managing highly successful campaigns. Nancy can be reached at (212) 966-0024 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.trentandcompany.com.
Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 6/12/14