This year marks the 30th edition of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), North America's premier furniture fair for global and contemporary design. For four days, 36,000 interiors designers, retailers, architects and manufacturers will traverse the halls of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City to see what's new and what's coming down the line.
Heading to ICFF for the first time this year? Thinking about going next year? Here's what you need to know about this diverse furniture fair and how to make the most fo your time at ICFF.
Why go to ICFF?
As a busy designer or retailer, you already spend a considerable amount of time touring showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas and High Point, NC, so why would you want to devote even more time and energy to another show?
It all depends on the kind of design your firm or showroom specializes in and the kind of product offerings your clients expect from you. As contemporary is in the fair's name, many of the products on display will appeal to clients with a more modern or contemporary aesthetic. That's not to say traditional design fans will be bored, but if your clients come to your showroom or firm explicitly for your traditional stylings, then maybe ICFF won't benefit you as much.
On the other hand, ICFF features a ton of international brands that don't show at any of the other big North American trade shows, so if you're looking for something new — something to make your showroom or firm stand out from your competition — you'll find new offerings in lighting, furniture, rugs and decorative accessories at ICFF.
For those who would love to make it out to Paris, Milan or Frankfurt for an international design show, ICFF makes a great substitute at a fraction of the cost and time commitment. If you're unsure about buying products from new vendors for the first time, ICFF can help you test the waters on contemporary and global designs.
ICFF at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
ICFF Dates and Times
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday-Tuesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Located on West 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues in New York City, the Javits Center hosts ICFF every year. Unlike Las Vegas Market and AmericasMart Atlanta, ICFF is all self-contained in the Javits Center, so you won't have to walk between buildings.
To get to the Javits Center, you have a few options. You can:
- Take a bus: M34 crosstown, M42 crosstown, M12 uptown or downtown.
- Ride the subway: A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, N, Q, R, B, D, F, M, 7, S
- Catch a train: Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Long Island Railroad, Metro North Railroad
- Take a ferry: NY Waterway which connects to Weehawken, NJ.
Of course, you can always take a cab or ride share. If you're close enough, just walk (it's supposed to be nice next week).
If you haven't registered for ICFF, don't sweat it. Registration is still open and can be accessed here. If you aren't sure you'll be able to make it and don't want to register in advance, you can register onsite for $60.
Overall, ICFF is like any other trade show: You walk the floors, tour the showrooms and make connections with vendors or other design professionals. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind while at the Javits Center, things like:
- ICFF does not allow children under 18.
- Not every exhibitor allows photographs. Ask before taking any.
- Luggage carts and strollers will not be permitted on the exhibit floor during ICFF hours.
- Wheelchairs and motorized scooters can be rented in advance. All floors, including the food court, are accessible via elevator.
One important thing to note about ICFF is that on the final day of the show (Wednesday, May 23), members of the general public will be allowed to tour the exhibition. Therefore, it may be more crowded than usual on that last day. Plan accordingly if you want to avoid crowds.
What to see at ICFF
ICFF doesn't specialize in one type of product over another. Here you'll find everything from furniture to lighting to decor — all with a contemporary and luxury aesthetic. But like other trade shows, there's more to ICFF than just looking at products.
Every year, ICFF and Bernhardt Design partner to showcase new designers in the ICFF Studio. This competition provides new and emerging designers with the opportunity to show off some of their original creations to vendors and designers alike. Established industry professionals judge each entry based on its design aesthetics, the ability to be economically mass produced, marketability and commercial viability. ICFF and Bernhardt Design have yet to announce with winners of the 2018 competition, so make you check back for more information.
ICFF will also host a number of great seminars on topics such as sustainability, business ideas, technology and internet retailing. If you need to take a load off or get a little business inspiration, these seminars provide great opportunities to listen to knowledgeable speakers and connect with other business owners who may be struggling with the same issues that you are.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) will also be offering CEU courses. For designers in need of more CEU credits for the year, this is a great opportunity to earn credits while you enjoy the show. Designers can listen to sessions on sustainability and forest preservation as well as business tips and advice. Seminars will be held at ASID Stage Booth # 985.