At this week’s New York International Gift Fair, I saw “Baby Champagne,” live tattooingdog portraiture, wheeled salt and pepper shakers, and “Sexy Robot Friends.” And this was all within the first five minutes of stepping inside Manhattan’s bustling Javits Center.

In total, I was at NYIGF — a biannual event that requires seriously sensible walking shoes and careful planning — for over two hours eyeballing the booths of nearly 3,000 exhibitors displaying their merch (not just gifts) to wholesale buyers and store owners. I think I only conquered ¼ of the show, mostly in the juried Accent on Design section.

Even though I couldn't buy anything myself (thank god), NYIGF is still the place to track emerging design trends from across the globe, ogle new products in over 400 product categories, mingle with designers, and get completely and utterly lost.

Here are a few of the many things that caught my barraged attention:

 The Tie Clock, made from repurposed neckties, from Umbra.
The Foldable Battery Box from Kikkerland (keep an eye out for Kikkerland’s Solar Queen, a figurine of Elizabeth II with a solar panel in her handbag that makers her wave).
 Everything and anything at the Areaware booth including classic tabletop designs from one of my personal favorites, Harry Allen, and Dominic Wilcox’s War Bowls made from melted plastic toy soldiers.
The SUCK UK booth. It can be tricky finding the complete line of goodies from this nervy Brit design house stateside so it was excellent to see everything, including fresh items like the Shoebox Organiser and the Happy Sack Bin Bags, all in one place.
Also fresh(ly) scooped: new designs from the folks at ModKat. Check out my post from May on these handsome and award winning liner-less litter boxes.
The Two’s Company booth was recycled material home accessory heaven. I dug this picture frame made from a repurposed keyboard and the detergent bottle chandelier.
 A nifty DIY project for kids, Totem Tree from Dutch design house Kidsonroof, is biodegradable and made from recycled cardboard.  

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Gifted and talented design
I encountered bright lights, blisters and plenty of sustainable design at this week's NYIGF. Also spotted: Sexy Robot Friends.