Thursday, 6 June 2013

Big Design Trends

THE Milan furniture fair is the biggest event in the interior design world and generally sets the trend for the year ahead. The theme at this year’s fair was unquestionably the return of nature. Subtle use of calming pastels combined with natural wood or satin gold and copper finishes featured from a variety of exhibitors.

My particular favourites are the Bell tables and ceiling pendants by Sebastian Herkner for ClassiCon. The unique glass base and brass trim provide a distinctive feature to any interior. Tom Dixon also uses copper and brass finishes within his new “Rough and smooth” collection as well as within his British heritage inspired Eclectic collection. Tom is probably our favourite designer at the moment. He fuses combinations of gold and black metals, creating a high impact look.

There is nothing more natural than bringing the outside in. Ceiling and vertical gardens are featuring more regularly in interior design magazines. New-build properties in central London tend to have minimal outdoor space so ceiling gardens, which can be suspended from the ceiling on balconies or inside the living area, bring the tranquillity of a country garden into a city home. There is definitely a consensus from designers to get people used to the idea and Arper, Boo and Live Screen by Danielle Trofe were just a few of the exhibitors who brought their stands to life with vibrant plants. Green wall paints and curvy wooden furniture really intensify the organic feel.

Colour-wise, vintage pastels have been popular on this year’s catwalks so this is what the fabric makers are concentrating on at the moment. Muted corals, soft blues and pale yellows – so popular in the eighties but seen as too feminine in years gone by – are also back in.

Additionally, azure blues and earthy terracotta's are also featuring within collections, providing a nice contrast to the pastels.

All the things that people used to see as being too traditional seem to be popular again. Real woods made a come-back; real wood tables, sideboards and beds featured in most collections. Traditional also means chevron and parquet solid oak flooring is preferred to the modern linear planks.

Organic shapes are back in too. Two of my favourite Nordic designs; the Wishbone and Elbow chair has been resurrected. I also like the Easy Chair by Republic of Fritz Hansen. There are some contrasts, however. Geometric shapes found their way into a number of collections; things like bed side tables and sideboards. Tiedye too, though we’d be careful to use it in moderation, an bedspread or a couple of cushions perhaps.

Easy Chair - Republic of Fritz Hansen
There are some cool new ranges. The Clarissa Hood chair designed by Patricia Urquiola’s for Moroso is a quirky occasional piece for a snug room or open plan living space. I really like Scholten & Baijings coloured porcelain tableware, new this season. It’s young and fresh.

Several companies extended their existing ranges by introducing new colour palettes to some of their iconic pieces. Vitra now offer their popular lounge chair and ottoman with a smart black ash shell and have re-coloured their hang it all coat hooks, now available in three versions.

Some of these trends are appearing at show apartments. Ballymore’s Embassy Gardens has traditional features such as herringbone floors, dark natural wood finishes, metro tiling and marble sinks. They still use minimalism where it matters. Kitchen units are finished in white satin and are handleless. I also really like their use of industrial ceiling light pendants which hover above the bedside tables. It’s not surprising that pastel colours, curvy furniture and natural materials are so popular. All of this creates a sanctuary for hardworking city professionals.