The New WantedDesign: A mainstay for emerging talent at the ICFF

Since its inception over a decade ago, WantedDesign has been a prominent platform for showcasing exceptional talent among students and emerging designers globally. Established in 2011 by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, who are also co-brand directors of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), WantedDesign has evolved through various formats, including a standalone exhibition, a multi-day festival, a physical store, and a co-located event within ICFF.

In a significant development this year, WantedDesign Manhattan will undergo a transformation. Renamed as Wanted, it will be integrated as a permanent element within the broader ICFF framework. The Schools Showcase, Launch Pad, and Look Book programs, previously central to ICFF, will not only remain within the fair but are set to expand in 2024.

WantedDesign originated as an annual event at the Terminal Stores building in Manhattan, with its final iteration in 2019. Between 2014 and 2019, WantedDesign Brooklyn was also hosted at Industry City, a refurbished shipping terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, as part of the city-wide NYCxDESIGN festival.

The transition period of 2019-2020 saw the Manhattan show being acquired by Emerald Exhibitions, leading to its rebranding as WantedDesign Manhattan in 2021 and incorporation as a show-within-a-show at ICFF. In 2024, a further name change to Wanted marks the latest evolution.

WantedDesign operates as an independent entity, managing programs like the International Residency in partnership with Industry City and running the IC Store by WantedDesign. The rebranding to Wanted aims to distinguish the ICFF feature from the broader organization of WantedDesign, underlining Wanted’s integral role within ICFF and envisioning growth through features like Wanted, The Oasis, and Bespoke.

Wanted is firmly embedded within ICFF, poised for expansion. The addition of the Design Schools Workshop, first introduced in 2012, exemplifies this growth. WantedDesign’s integration signifies a unified show with ICFF, emphasizing the collaborative partnership and promotion of Wanted by the WantedDesign organization.

Founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat shared insights into the evolution of WantedDesign and the forthcoming changes.

Over the years, WantedDesign has evolved from a standalone show to a significant part of ICFF. How do you see design innovation shaping the future of Wanted, and what role will emerging technologies play in this evolution?

The WANTED feature at ICFF is growing as a sign of the industry being curious and interested to look forward, discover new ideas, explore materials, and propose new directions. Our visitors appreciate the WANTED feature for its energy. It’s a younger crowd, eager to make its mark, learn and offer new perspectives. When we started WantedDesign, we had envisioned that this energy was missing from the design week. ICFF was bringing the industry together and offering a place for business. WantedDesign’s role was to create a meeting point, a hub for connections, a platform for the new generation to meet the established brands and designers. The beauty of having everything under the same roof is that interaction, that encounter. One feeds the other, and ICFF becomes a nurturing environment for business whether you are starting your career of have been in the industry for decades.

As Wanted is focusing on emerging designers, certainly emerging technologies will be not only embraced more and more by the new generation of designers, but also embraced by our platform a way or another to stay relevant.


WantedDesign has been a platform for international designers. How do you plan to further integrate global design perspectives into Wanted, and are there specific regions or countries you’re focusing on for future collaborations?

Correct, WANTED has always been featuring international designers and we will continue to do so. There is no specific region of the world that we focus on however there are countries that show a strong interest in being part of WANTED and ICFF like Canada, Italy, Norway, Finland, Morocco, Mexico, France, Belgium. This year our Launch Pad program is very international again and we plan to continue to expand our horizons with this program.

When we started WantedDesign, as both coming originally from Europe, we really thought about what New York is about and what can happen in New York that doesn’t happen anywhere else.

Certainly, this is one of the most international city in the world, the entry point for the US market.

We decided to focus on creating this platform for North and South America.

Canada and Mexico have a special place for us as 2 countries at the borders of the USA that could have so many opportunities in the US. Look Book reflects this as it is focusing on North American Design Studios from those 3 countries, with such a different design inspiration, identity, but also share similarities in terms of business model and audience.

Sustainability and social responsibility are increasingly important in design. How is Wanted addressing these issues, and what initiatives are you implementing to promote environmentally friendly and socially responsible design practices?

First, as show directors of ICFF, we take this topic very seriously. We removed 90% of the carpet which was a complete waste and was not being recycled after the show. We are renting walls instead of building and trashing new structures. We will provide water fountains on the show floor, and we encourage the food vendors to avoid single use plastics.

Not only in the selection of the companies who are part of the event, but also as show organizers, we encourage our exhibitors to do the same.

Part of the programming, we have an amazing content and roster of speakers who come and discuss sustainability (The Oasis).

When it comes to select designers for Launch Pad and studios for Look Book, we are very careful to look at their project with a few criteria: locally made or sourced, original design and use of sustainable material.

We think this is not a theme, but a necessity that our industry needs to take seriously. 

And it starts with young designers and at school: we created a few years ago the Conscious Design Awards with Metropolis magazine to reward design students who are responding best in their projects to the notion of sustainability and social impact.

With the growing importance of digital and virtual spaces in the design world, how do you envision Wanted to adapt to these changes? Are there plans to incorporate virtual exhibitions or digital platforms to complement the physical experiences of ICFF?

Back in 2020, the pandemic forces us to think about alternatives to the physical fair. We launched “CLOSEUP” that was more like a TV show format, offering time spaces instead of booth spaces. It was actually a very interesting exercise to give a voice to the brand/designers with a mix of prerecorded video and live presentation and interviews.

That was a very fresh, successful, and certainly pioneering approach for the design world. A way to reach out beyond NYC. 

It gives a lot to think about how we could create hybrid events, and virtual spaces.

We are working on elevating ICFF Channels and creating interesting and inspiring content, and giving voice to everyone doing good in the design world all year long.

For now, we have no set plans to expand to virtual exhibitions but It is important to continue to support the designers and give them a platform and a voice beyond the three days of the show.

The digital tools allow us to communicate faster but we believe in slowing down and taking the time to meet people in person, not just consume design visually but meet the designer, touch the material, and feel the space.

Experiencing things physically can add a whole new dimension to our understanding and appreciation of design and human connections. It allows for deeper engagement and a more meaningful experience.

At the scale of WantedDesign, we care about growing our community, and creating opportunities in May and during the year for this network to come together. That will be our focus.

We are very much community, human and people focused. The success of WantedDesign, and we hope the future of ICFF as a platform, is based on relationship, and the amazing network we are creating since we started in 2011. 

Learn more and get your tickets at

Visit WANTED DESIGN 2024 at ICFF to witness what’s next in design. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of contemporary design at WantedDesign 2024.

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