This year, five trend themes reflect a number of different microcosms – utopian scenarios displaying the living spaces of tomorrow. The digital revolution, a minimalist sense of order, modern nomadic lifestyles, light-hearted interaction and traditionally hand-crafted luxury items: colour codes and material qualities surprise us in their refinement, in the smart interplay of light and texture, as well as in their ‘intelligent’ processing.
Less but better – ‘smart‘ design is relaxing for eyes and body alike
Simple, elegant, reductionist, but in no way cold: such is the furniture that emerges – with subdued colours, yet anything but boring. The British design studio Faye Toogood has created the ABCD chair for Takeyari. This piece of furniture reveals itself to be restrained as far as colours are concerned but multifaceted when it comes to forms and shapes. With its easy-to-use mechanism, the chair can be quickly transformed into a sofa. The cushions are upholstered in a hard-wearing and durable canvas, manufactured by the Japanese label since 1888.
As though from another world: a chameleon-like interplay of colour, texture and pattern
With their ‘Guise’ project for the Nilufar Gallery, the Amsterdam design studio Odd Matter will be offering possible ways of experimenting with the colour and texture of surfaces. These items of furniture appear both unreal and real at the same time; they are made from sculpted rigid foam, which is covered either in iridescent car paint or given a traditional artificially marbled finish using a technique called ‘scagliola’. The almost other-worldly pattern of ‘Another Plaid’ by buroBÉLEN, in cooperation with Textiellab and Rubia, creates intuitive, emotional and physical design moments all at once. It is one of the many products embodying a vision of hitherto unimagined uses of materials and colour, whilst, at the same time, requiring traditional old-fashioned techniques and technologies. Here a single spool of wool is used to produce the throw. This not only saves water, it also creates new colour gradations which produce some exciting effects.
It’s playtime! Interior concepts, which invite interaction
Tactile interaction and experimentation in everyday life is a trend which runs counter to the structures of automated uniformity that we are all regularly subject to on a day-to-day basis. Powerful primary colours and abstract shapes and patterns challenge us to write our own stories and to lose ourselves in simple, intuitive interaction. ‘Blowing Series’ by Seung Jin Yang provides a good example. The naïve pleasure that we get, as we look at the pieces, is achieved through the balloon-like appearance: the sausage shapes remind us of our childhood and instinctively challenge playful instincts. But the balloons are covered in epoxy resin, which makes them strong enough for people to sit on them.
Old crafts and modern style define the ‘new luxury’
Pure opulence is out of date – the ‘new luxury’ celebrates craft techniques, together with intimacy and tactile immediacy, through clever contrasts in the materials. The Giles Miller Studio specialise in the creation of playfully designed, innovative surfaces combined with the design of sculptural and architectural works. Walls textured with structured wooden elements, providing high visual content, leather with embossed patterns, or, as here, ceramics with a metallic or pearlescent finish, acquire, through their three-dimensionality, an originality that is second to none. A designer of exceptional pieces, Rodolphe Pourente has designed for French manufacturers, Pouenat, a select and unusual limited edition in a modern, Art Deco style. The engraving, carving and the precision and finesse generated by Pouenat’s savoir-faire allows each piece to be shaped with either an elementary or deconstructed method, employed to cope with surfaces that are difficult to work and to enable the material to express itself.
High-tech meets simplification
The Brooklyn furniture brand UM Project provides, in the Ultraframe Collection, a number of ideas for bringing together high-tech materials and nature. The UM Project has produced a collection of fantastical storage cupboards made from plastic sheathing, knitted textiles and poured concrete. Some have a clear apparent use – a cupboard, a chest of drawers – but the precise function of other pieces allows plenty of room for interpretation. The design and manufacturing process derive from traditional furniture-making, with elements from architectural and transport design, such as air and space travel, as well as from motor-vehicle manufacture and shipbuilding, where flexible skins or hard shells are applied to various technical structures. The result is both familiar and other-worldly.
Header photo: ABCD Seat by Faye toogood für Takeyari ©Heimtextil Trend Book