Interest in sustainable products and inspiration from nature is redefining the boundaries of design.
Between August and September, several Houzz editors have attended the most important fairs in the sector, from London to Oslo, Paris, or Bologna, where they have corroborated many of the trends that we have been observing (and counting) throughout the year: black and pastel tones are trendy, as is mixing vibrant colors, something we have verified at Maison & Objet (Paris, September 6-10). Wood, copper, and marble are among the predominant finishes on walls and floors or as an accent note and counterpoint to velvet or natural fibers. Terrazzo will also be back in 2022. Meanwhile, the design of past decades is gaining space, especially the glamour of the 1920s, the chic of the 50s, and the color of the 80s.
In any case, from what the Houzz editors have seen, we have distilled three main ideas that, we believe, are going to dominate the design scene. First, nature is entering into almost every aspect of design, both material use and inspiration. Second, boundaries within the home continue to break down, with the office and bathroom merging with the rest of the house. And third, sustainability is now an integral part of furniture design.
- NATURE CONQUERS DESIGN
It's something we've been talking about for some time: design is increasingly inspired by nature. Natural materials such as rattan, teak, or cork have made a strong comeback in chairs, sideboards, lamps, etc. Floral prints are very much in vogue in large patterns and smaller ones, Liberty style, as the French editorial team says. Tropical and forest-type motifs also inspire tile designs.
The incorporation of nature is not a trickle but has reached all design aspects. Natural colors (greens, dark blues, terracottas, blacks, and floral pastels) have dominated the latest edition of the Maison & Objet fair. Still, they have also done so at Formex (Stockholm, August 20-23) and at Cersaie: the international fair for ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings (Bologna, Italy, September 23-27).
Furniture and decor inspired by nature have also had a lot of prominence during the London Design Festival (September 14 to 22) and Maison&Objet. In addition, at Formex, many natural textures and details have also been seen in the stands: from spikes to feathers, wool, bark, shells, ceramics, or glass.
At Cersaie, the Italian editorial team was able to see in situ how technological advances have led to significant innovation in porcelain products, which are now able to perfectly reproduce the appearance of natural materials such as marble and wood. For example, Marble-look tiles increasingly mimic varieties of stone, while wood-look tiles can produce specific parquet patterns and details such as inlays.
- OPEN INTERIORS AND SPACES THAT BLEND
We've been talking about how kitchens are looking more and more like living rooms for some time now. As open day spaces have become more popular and the function of kitchen and living intermingle, and as our busy lives make the kitchen the social center of the home, kitchen design has also adapted. Thus, appliances and other components are being hidden away, and simple lines and a sleeker aesthetic are taking over in the kitchen.
The bathroom is also changing its aesthetics. Thus, at the London Design Festival, the bathrooms adopted some of the living area characteristics showing, for example, dark blue palettes. At Maison&Objet, there was also space for the home office's change. As more employees work remotely or in coworking spaces, the nature of the home office is evolving.
In the words of Formex moderator Pekka Heino at the press breakfast before the event presentation, "sustainability is no longer a trend." Still, it is slowly becoming an integral aspect of furniture design. There is no doubt that sustainability is an industry-wide movement. Green materials are on the rise, from furniture made from potato waste to shower trays made from the waste materials of industrial supply chains (pictured). Bioplastics, especially, have been among the featured products of major manufacturers, especially at Maison & Objet. Designers are also increasingly interested in the life cycle of products, and manufacturers are increasingly eschewing designing fast-moving consumer pieces in favor of quality craftsmanship made from durable materials. Thus, furniture refurbishment and restoration is gaining more and more followers and has been highlighted as a vital part of the circular economy at a panel of experts during an exciting conference at the 100 % Design London Design Festival held in September. Restorers play an essential role in sustainable design to extend the useful life of the objects we already have. Finally, the Oslo Design Fair (August 28-30) addressed how to make trade shows sustainable. In the Rethink section, wooden stands (see photo) have been reused after the fair in construction projects in northern Norway.