Put a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul Shovel

It’s the middle of May and our mailman is no longer speaking to us, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for the International Contemporary Furniture Fair! The fair opens on Saturday at the Javits Center, and the jam-packed slate of satellite events is already in full swing. Among our first stops will be “400 Years Later – Cite Goes Dutch,” an exhibition of new work by 23 emerging designers, 6 manufacturers, and 1 photographer—all of whom hail from the gray-skied design hotbed that is the Netherlands. The show is curated by industrial designers Alissia Melka-Teichroew and Jan Habraken, Eindhoven grads who each now helm their own New York-based design studios. Among the works on view will be Habraken’s new “Shovel Birdhouse,” perfect for the multitasking gardener. “As lighthearted as it seems, the design is a deliberate one,” notes Habraken. “A bird’s diet consists of seeds and worms. As children, we gather worms for fishing by wiggling a shovel in the ground. With this birdhouse, the bird can wiggle his own worms out of the ground by simply landing on the house and letting the subsequent momentum do the work.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but we’re guessing that this product is most effective when the birds are grossly obese.