After stops at 36 schools, we added one more to the list: a grand slam finale at the enormous International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Javits Center in New York. We said yes to the final event for two main reasons: 1) Metropolis Magazine would be hosting our trailer in their booth (Metropolis Books is our publisher, and we just love Metropolis in general for being such inspiring supporters for the past few years), and 2) ICFF is where this whole adventure was set in motion. In 2008, I spoke at ICFF and met Diana Murphy after my talk. She was interested in the material, and also happened to be the editor of Metropolis Books. Project H was 4 months old at the time and I had just returned from 2 of our first projects in Africa. Fastforward to August 2008, and I had signed a book contract to write Design Revolution, which then inspired the road show. We owe a lot to Diana and the whole Metropolis team, and we were thrilled to close out our adventure in style as their ICFF booth.
With Diana Murphy, my book editor!
On May 14th we shimmied the beastly trailer into the Javits Center, which takes up about 8 square blocks and every year is filled with thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of visitors. ICFF brings about 22,000 visitors each year (we estimate bout 10,000 went through the trailer). After negotiating with the Union guys about the best way to get the trailer in place, we were good to go for a grand opening the next day, May 15th.
Over the next four days, thousands of people visited Metropolis’ booth and walked through the trailer, including David Byrne, one of our musical heroes! We only had one hiccup: the Subtle Safety ring was stolen on Sunday, but we tweeted the crime to our 70,000 files and hope the perpetrator will be shamed into sending it back or at least into never wearing it for fear of reliving the immorality of such an act
My one comment about ICFF, which I have every year, is that it seems odd that such an event even still exists. Amidst all the conversations of responsible, life-improving design that minimizes waste and maximizes opportunity, ICFF (and trade shows in general) produce a ton of waste, require tons of transportation for people and goods, and use an immense amount of electricity and other resources to make it possible. While ICFF highlights great work and continues to be an event I don’t often miss, it felt like an odd juxtaposition to be talking “revolution” in such an antiquated gathering (isn’t the trade show SO 20th century?).
At the end of the four days, we shimmied the trailer OUT of the Javits, which involved a forklift, about 10 Union guys, and Junebug looking on from the truck window (see video below). We hit the road, thanked our friends for housing our temporary home, and took to the open road once again, this time headed to rural North Carolina, which we would soon call home. A special thanks to Kim, Eve, Mason, and Susan from Metropolis Magazine, and the show producers GLM for the financial and organizational support in getting us there.
Hauling the Airstream out of ICFF 2010 from Emily Pilloton on Vimeo.