Several days after I stumbled dazed across the trade show floor, I’m still processing all the sights and sounds that I encountered — and all of the press kits that I amassed — during the 25th annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which, as always, was held at the blister-inducing labyrinth otherwise known as the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Where to even start in?
How about with something that may have not been the most sustainable of the lot but was certainly one of the more rubberneck-worthy (save for Colin Selig’s repurposed propone tank sofas) designs on display?
How about a big ol’ orange cauldron that invites folks to explore the great outdoors — or their fenced-in backyards — while also enjoying “the essence of outdoor bathing?”
I think that sounds about right.
The creation of nature-centric, Netherlands-based company Weltevree, the Dutchtub actually made its splashy stateside debut back at the 2006 edition of ICFF when attendees clamored over the portable, wood-fired hot tub resembling a colorful human soup pot. This year, it returned with no less fanfare and accompanied by a range of additional outdoorsy offerings from Weltevree including a wheelbarrow-style mobile bench, a bonfire-friendly outdoor chair, and a gorgeous al fresco cookstove.
The simple, portable design of the handmade-in-Holland Dutchtub is rather genius: Made from durable polyester and weighing a little over 165 pounds, the four-person tub — in addition to the "original" it's now available as a loveseat and in a wood-clad model — is easily transportable (two burly dudes with a pickup truck would help although it can also be tied behind a bike or canoe) and can be fired up wherever you choose to plop it down (a serene woodland meadow with access to a really long garden hose would be ideal).
Aside from the tub itself, the Dutchtub comes equipped with an attached stainless steel fire coil, a temperature-regulating fire basket that’s placed inside the coil, a turbo valve garden hose connector, and, last but not least, a wok that serves as a plug when placed atop the coil. Yep, in addition to keeping the heat contained within the coil, the wok makes it totally possible to cook up a delicious stir-fry meal while enjoying a leisurely soak. Brilliant.
A bit on how the water itself is heated: "A fire in the coil warms the water in the tub. Natural circulation causes the colder water at the bottom of the Dutchtub to go in the spiral, heat up and flow out at the top."
I’m quite enamored with the Dutchtub although I don’t think my landlord would be too keen on the idea of me hauling one of these bad boys — they're also available in “Dawn White” and “Night Blue” in addition to the signature, patriotic orange — to the roof of my apartment building. But a boy can dream, can't he?
If you want to see more of the Dutchtub, Weltevree has embarked on a month-long West Coast roadtrip in "search for sustainable social initiatives such as communities, inspiring Weltevree locations, local heroes and even new products." I guess that means you should just keep an eye out for a rental car with a giant orange bowl affixed to the roof. Additionally, the company has jut launched an "experience center" at Jungle Design in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where you can test drive the original Dutchtub as well as the newer wood and loveseat models in person.
Finally, be sure to stay tuned throughout the week for additional ICFF and NY Design Week coverage from yours truly. Plus, Lloyd Alter over at sister site TreeHugger is reporting on eco-minded highlights that he stumbled upon during the show as well.