design shows

the gift fair 2006 (part one)

by Grace Bonney

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i just got back from the gift fair last night and boy am i beat! you have to wade through a lot of cherub votives and marabou covered lawn gnomes to get to the good stuff, but i think i found a boatload of fresh designs that you’ll enjoy [keep in mind most of these items won’t be in stores until this fall]. my beloved ac is home sick today so i think this might have to be part one and part only because i’m going to stay home and make sure he’s ok. so, without further adieu, gift fair 2006 highlights! before i launch in with photos here are my general impressions: there were some great new textiles and ceramics to see- i walked away with my tableware meter off the charts. there was also some great new bedding that was a must-see. i made it through accent on design, at home and the handmade section so the only thing i missed was the piers. hopefully my trusty blogging peers can cover those sections for the rest of us. what i loved most about the show was the cocktail party vibe- it was so much fun to go booth to booth and meet people i’d only talked to via email. the design world is full of some real characters. so, enough from me, here are my picks for best in show (minus the piers, of course). enjoy! [if you’d rather skip this and go straight to the complete slideshow, click here. there are more photos in the show than are shown here]

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[one of the highlights for me was meeting andi kovel and justin of esque design in portland. talk about a gorgeous booth. andi was so much fun to chat with and their work was simply beautiful. their cups are my intro picture and you can get an idea of the beautiful color used in their work. great stuff]


2jane mibo

2jane shade

[the 2jane booth was fantastic. the lehti tray was even more beautiful in person and those window stickers were so much prettier than i imagined. not to mention the festival of mibo lights.]

lights up

[lights up! debuted a gorgeous new blue tonal pattern that is destined to be a hit. turns out they’re as sweet as they are talented so that was a lovely surprise]

kiln enamel

[beautiful new tableware from brooklyn’s kiln enamel. the detailing was really simple but quite striking]

xenia taler and husband

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xenai 8

[i’m a HUGE xenia taler fan so it was wonderful to meet her in person. her work is so colorful that photos just don’t do it justice. be sure to check out the full slideshow for more pictures of her work. it’s just so lovely]

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[i have a fresh design crush on the lovely ms. helen ige of ige design. i fell madly in love with her owl and chandelier mobiles and was delighted to find out that helen and her friendly team are as fun as their designs. the owl mobiles are going to be a big, big hit. apparently the last time we mentioned her friend sf had to order more mobiles because you guys ordered so many!]


dwell 5

dwell 4

dwell 7

[the dwell booth is always one of my favorites. so many talented (and fun!) women in one space. this season dwell introduced some GORGEOUS new crib linens that i was swooning over. dwell decided to do modern cowgirl and cowboy looks, complete with a silhouette of june carter cash. and if the cowboy scene isn’t your thing, try their high-end super soft linen tree set- soft to the touch and wonderfully elegant]

area home bedding

[i was thrilled to meet the gang at area home and see their beautiful bedding in person. these guys know high-end bedding like no one else- each design was subtle, modern and just oozed quality]

matta 2

matta 3


[my photos of the matta booth do NOT do the textiles justice, but this was one of my favorite booths. i wasn’t familiar with them and found myself wanting to whip out my credit card and buy their entire booth right on the spot. this gorgeous gold and white quilt was a thing of beauty. the lighting in the booth made it look a bit more yellow than it was but i’ll be preparing a longer post on them with better pictures soon. they were one of my favorite finds.]

pare umbrella

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pare 2

[i can’t tell you how nice it was to meet satoko and her husband from pare umbrella in seattle. they were as sweet and friendly as each of her colorful umbrellas. the details in each piece are so thoughtful and things like decorative handles with colored stitching make pare’s umbrellas the best in the business]

thomas of thomas paul

thomas paul yellows

new from thomas paul

[i love thomas of thomas paul. he could not be nicer or more talented. his colorful new pillows lit up the keena booth and made their little corner of the show one of the happiest spots around. i’m loving the new yellow pillows and silhouette plates- they’re even prettier in person. and if you’re going to buy things from a small company, thomas paul is a great choice. thomas and co are friendly, fun and totally unaffected by the widespread success of their work.]

the future perfect

[the future perfect had a booth this year, which felt like such a shock to me. there’s something about the gift fair that seems so mainstream that it was wonderful to see a company like the future perfect playing the wholesale game. these spotted glass pieces were my favorite. i’m preparing a bigger post on them so stay tuned…]

tair mercier lights 2

tair mercier placemat

[french company tair mercier had some lovely new lights and an eggshell placemat on display. it was wonderful to meet them in person and see how lovely their work is- photos don’t always do it justice]


simrin designer


[i was LOVING these new table linens from brooklyn’s simrin design. thomas from thomas paul pointed them out to me and i’m so glad he did. if there’s anything i saw at the show that’s destined to be an instant hit, this is it. we’re going to be seeing this everywhere next season, and because it’s repped by keena, that’s a promise. those guys know how to get items in stores and magazines like no one else. no site for simrin yet, i’ll have it soon]


matt carr for umbra rolly table

[great cups and skateboard inspired tables from u+ and umbra. they were a delight to speak with, more coming soon…loved matt carr’s table, too]

deadly squire

[lovelies from deadly squire, better pics coming soon. their baby bags are going to be HUGE]

mary and shelly at k studio

k studio up close

k studio goodies

[shelly and mary at k studio are some of my favorite ladies in the business. thoughtful, kind and FULL of talent, they consistently produce eco-friendly designs for the home that have such a wonderful handmade feel to them. they’re impossible to resist. the teal stitching on pistachio linen was to die for]

adler 7

adler 12

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adler 10

adler 9

adler 13

adler 6

adler 5

adler 4

adler 3

adler 2

adler 1

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[whew, that was a lot of adler! i saved jonathan adler’s booth for last because it was probably the one that stuck with me the most. they debuted such a HUGE and fantastic collection of new designs that i was snapping away for a long time trying to catch all the new pieces. from gorgeous new pillows and table runners to fresh menagerie designs and painfully lovely lamps, this booth was seriously on fire. it’s always a huge hit because adler is one of the biggest names in the industry, but i was seriously impressed by the new pieces. i left with a huge list of designs i want to save up for. so, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new goods from the fabulous mr. adler and until they launch, click here for the full site]

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  • oh my dear grace! too too much to take in at once! but that is how the gift show is. you made it easy for all of us by finding the creme de la creme. hope ac is feeling a bit better and will be perusing this post for some time it seems!

  • thanks susan and jan!

    this is it for today so hopefully everyone can digest it during their lunch breaks :) this was only the tip of the iceberg but it was all i could take. there’s just too much STUFF there.

    ;) d*s

  • I am not a fan of blue, but I must say I love the lamps from Lights Up, and the white Gazelles by Adler are gorgeous.

  • Oh my gosh, I love your posts from fairs & shows like this. You make me feel like I’m THERE! Thanks again.

    I love the Western cowboy/cowgirl stuff…beautifully done. Usually I’m not a fan of Western motifs but Dwell did it well. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised :-)

  • thanks so much, heidi :)

    so glad you enjoyed it. i’m only sorry i didn’t have the stamina for a second day of walking!


  • ok – I’m seriously dying over the simrin stuff! soooo great! Is there anywhere online to see any more images or info on it? I wonder how expensive it is…

    and the skateboard-inspired tables…so cool.

    Also – I must say – that keena company has one amazing list of clients! I can’t get over how many of my favorite lines they rep…wow.

  • yup, the have their own “rep” as rep to the “best”


    simrin doesn’t have a site yet, but i’m going to try to get the press shots up soon.


  • Oh, this post is going to have to be saved for a slow day on my end here. I love the spotted glass pieces.

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