The 27th annual ICFF, North America’s platform for global design, maps the newest frontier of what’s best and what’s next at New York City’s Jacob Javits Convention Center, from May 16-19, 2015.

North America’s premier showcase for contemporary design, the ICFF annually lures those in determined pursuit of design’s timely truths and latest trends to an encyclopedic exhibition of up-to-the-moment offerings, as well as a series of fascinating, fun, edifying programs, and a packed schedule of exhibits and features.

For the four-day duration of the Fair, more than 700 exhibitors from all points of the globe display contemporary furniture, seating, carpet and flooring, lighting, outdoor furniture, materials, wall coverings, accessories, textiles, and kitchen and bath for residential and commercial interiors all under one roof.

See some of our favorites after the break…

A Hero Comes to Florence




“Hero,” a public sculpture at Three Bryant Park, New York by acclaimed Italian architect and designer Antonio Pio Saracino, was commissioned in 2013 as a gift by the Italian government and Eni to symbolize friendship between Italy and the United States. “Hero”, inspired by Michelangelo’s “David” is one of two works Saracino designed as a pairing (the other work is entitled “Superhero”) known as “The Guardians: Hero and Superhero.” The project, on view indefinitely was organized by New York based curator Helen Varola.

A new edition of Saracino’s “Hero,” will be on display at the Accademia Gallery, Florence during Expo Milano 2015, the global exhibition that Italy hosts from May 1 to October 31, 2015. “Hero,” addressing Michelangelo’s “David,” which has been selected to represent the Italian Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 as an historic symbol of Italian excellence, is being promoted by the Accademia Gallery in Florence, the Italian Embassy in Washington DC and PMG Italia.

The new Italian edition of “Hero,” specially commissioned by New York-based Global Emerging Markets Group (GEM) and to be exhibited at the Accademia Gallery, Florence, will be larger than the Bryant Park ‘Hero’ – standing as tall as the original “David” 17ft / 5,2m.The 11,000 lb marble “Hero” will be created in Carrara, Italy with the same stone Michelangelo used to create “David.” “Hero” will be exhibited in the courtyard of the Accademia Gallery, Florence, just a few meters from Michelangelo’s “David” from May through June, 2015. The Accademia Gallery welcome 1.3 million visitors per year, second only to the Vatican Museum.

ABC Stone was charged with the realization of the sculpture by Mr. Saracino.

According to Jonathan Tibett, proprietor of ABC Stone, “As the great statue of David in Florence by Michelangelo symbolizes taking on monumental challenges without fear and hesitation is how this project was approached. We were entrusted to provide the most beautiful selection of marble with meticulous fabrication and tremendous engineering and coordination to successfully achieve the magnificent result. We want to congratulate Antonio Pio Saracino for his beautiful design and for asking us to assist him on such a fabulous and worthy project. The level of complexity of making the over 170 different shaped pieces that make up this statue with exact tolerances was no simple task. To achieve proper balance and proportion we went through many levels of computer generated modeling to ensure symmetry, balance and structural integrity. The installation of this five and a half ton piece was done with precise execution determining exacting pick points to ensure proper engagement of each of the heavy segments. Any minor misalignments would have been catastrophic. The creativity, technology, artisanship and technology utilized on this project were nothing less than heroic from all involved.”

Antonio Pio Saracino is an acclaimed Italian architect and designer based in New York City. Saracino has designed buildings, monuments and products and several of his designs are part of the permanent collections of museums such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Saracino’s work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums and prominent exhibitions that include the Venice Biennale. Saracino states, “I never would have expected, two years later, to receive the great honor to see a new edition of “Hero” in the Accademia of Florence, in the same place as Michelangelo’s “David.” With the New York “Hero,” I wanted to create a symbolic protector of New York City, as “David” was intended as protector of Florence. The statue celebrates the superhuman and the inspiration that it channels. The anthropomorphic layered architectural constructions display the universal ability of mankind to cement its own presence in the world with its perennial construction skills.”

Director of the Accademia Gallery, Florence, Angelo Tartuferi states “Antonio Pio Saracino has revived the matter of “David,” the white Carrara marble, for a modern reinterpretation of the sculpture, designed not for a museum or an art gallery, but for a public space in Manhattan, thus placing itself even in this respect on the trail of the original intention by Michelangelo. The best hope is that the “Hero” can represent, in the eyes of the men of our day, the same values of freedom, justice and civic pride realized by Florentines at the height of the Renaissance by Michelangelo’s “David.” The Accademia Gallery in Florence, along the Italian Embassy in Washington, is pleased to present the work of Antonio Pio Saracino, which qualifies as one of the most intelligent, modern and qualitatively most significant interpretations in terms of the execution of one of the highest signs of Western culture.” Cultural Attachè, Embassy of Italy Washington DC, Renato Miracco adds: “The iconographic value of Michelangelo’s “David” in all various interpretations throughout history becomes a symbol of multiple meanings. Antonio Pio Saracino’s “Hero” draws inspiration from the “David” and becomes symbol of friendship between two countries. The Embassy of Italy in DC has been promoting from long times those values.”

Peter de Svastich, Managing Director, GEM GROUP states: “GEM is very proud to be involved with this wonderful art project that unites the timeless qualities of one of the great works of art in Western Civilization (Michelangelo’s “David”) with a brilliant modern sculpture that echoes the finest traditions of Italian craftsmanship and blends them with a more contemporary artistic vision. GEM considers it an honor to have worked with Antonio Pio Saracino, the Galleria dell’ Accademia, the Curators of this amazing art collection that surrounds this unique venue, the Italian Embassy in Washington D.C…”

Helen Varola, Curator, “The Guardians: Hero and Superhero,” New York states: “Saracino’s new edition of “Hero” nods to Michelangelo’s “David,” defender of the city of Florence as a contemporary civic champion who offers protection and surveillance, also suggests a long history of vulnerability spanning centuries, politics, and cultures.”

Tribeca Ball

2015-04-13 19.25.11 Presented by famed French Maison Van Cleef & Arpels, the Tribeca Ball shines a light on the emerging artists of the New York Academy of Art with proceeds supporting scholarships and public programing. Inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels’ newest high jewelry collection, this year’s décor brought the French fairy tale Peau d’Âne to life for an enchanting evening of art, cocktails and dinner. The Academy’s six floors reflected a ‘Once Upon a Time’ theme where guests become the main characters. During cocktails, guests enjoyed an insider’s view of one of the country’s leading art schools, interacting with more than 100 emerging artists in their studios. The magic continued in Wilkinson Hall during a dinner reception honoring Peter M. Brant for his indelible mark on the contemporary art world. Guests were treated to a special menu prepared by Gotham Bar & Grill’s Alfred Portale.

We had the honor of attending this magnificent evening. See some of the highlights after the break…

Carrara Residency Merit Award Party at Gallery 151

This year’s party in honor of the Carrara Residency Merit Award was held at Gallery 151 in the heart of Chelsea. We proudly unveiled “Mother” made of White Carrara marble by Joshua Henderson and “Inner Baby” made of Portuguese Pink marble by Heena Kim. The sculptures were created in Carrara, Italy during the ABC Stone-sponsored residency during the Summer of 2014. 

ABC Stone sponsors the annual Artist Residency in Carrara through the New York Academy of Art as part of its ongoing commitment to sustaining and promoting the use of stone in artistic practice. Of the many creative treatments of this material, traditional carving has suffered a decline of knowledge base during the past century. ABC seeks to address this by pairing young artists with master sculptors for experiential learning through intensive mentoring. It is our belief that deepening the awareness of stone commensurately widens respect for this venerable medium and the millennia-old human tradition in transforming it through highly skilled craft. Whether in Michelangelo’s homeland or in our very own NYC backyard, ABC remains devoted to sponsoring the cultural arts and in particular stone artistry.

The unveiling of the Ark of Return at the UN Headquarters, NYC

We were thrilled to attend the unveiling of The Ark of Return, a permanent Memorial at the United Nations designed by Architect Rodney Leon and supplied by ABC Stone. Rodney Leon was chosen as the winner of an international competition initiated by the Secretary General of the UN to build a monument to acknowledge the tragedy of the triangular slave trade and honor its victims. Mr. Leon’s design was selected from a pool of 310 architects, artists, and visionaries and was realized using Vermont Danby marble and Zimbabwe Black Granite.

The Ark of Return is a multifaceted white marble monument that has a motif of triangles and contains a sculpture of an African man at its center which houses a waterfall representing the tears of the 15 million men, women and children who were sent across the Atlantic as slaves.

The monument was formally inaugurated by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Sam Kutesa.

“I hope descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade will feel empowered as they remember those who overcame this brutal system and passed their rich cultural heritage from Africa on to their children,” Ban said.

Rodney Leon, himself a descendant of slaves taken from Africa to Haiti was quoted as saying, “It makes me feel extremely proud that I can play a role and a part in the commemoration of such an important and historic day.”
Sec. General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the unveiling of "The Ark of Return"

Sec. General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the unveiling of “The Ark of Return”

Architectural Digest Home Design Show 2015

Whether you’re an industry professional or a design enthusiast looking for inspiration, the Architectural Digest Home Design Show— a four-day event featuring the best in home design from more than 400 brands— always has something amazing for you to see, learn, or even taste. Now in it’s 14th year, this experience in design is a wonderful world of inspiration. Here are some of our favorite moments from the show…

Artists in Conversation

  • Inner Baby by Heena Kim
  • Inner Baby by Heena Kim- Side View
  • Inner Baby by Heena Kim- Alt Side View
  • Mother by Joshua Henderson
  • Mother by Joshua Henderson- Alt. View
  • (From left) Stephen Shaheen, Heena Kim, Joshua Henderson, Mark Menin
  • Inner Baby by Heena Kim
  • Inner Baby by Heena Kim- Side View
  • Inner Baby by Heena Kim- Alt. Side View
  • Mother by Joshua Henderson
  • Mother by Joshua Henderson- Alt. View
  • (From left) Stephen Shaheen, Heena Kim, Joshua Henderson, Mark Menin
On February 11th, the winner’s of the 2014 Carrara Artist Residency gathered at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca for a panel discussion moderated by Mark Menin. The discussion between Joshua Henderson (MFS 2015), Heena Kim (MFA 2014) and Steve Shaheen (MFA 2005) focused on the ABC Stone sponsored annual Artist Residency in Carrara. The panelists discussed carving in stone for the first time, the pointing system, and carving in the historical shadows of the Renaissance. Works started in Carrara were displayed.

At ABC stone, we love rocks. We happen to think they are beautiful which is why we are intensely interested in the fluidity of human emotion that can be realized through shaping them. As a means of sustaining and promoting the use of stone as an artistic medium, we work closely with many of today’s foremost sculptors to support and advance this timeless art form. It is our belief that deepening the awareness of stone commensurately widens respect for this venerable medium and the millennia-old human tradition of transforming it as a means of expression and storytelling.