Furniture Trends We Love: Coloured Glass and Heavy Metals
We’re lifting the curtain to reveal the secrets behind latest furniture design trends.
Geometric patterns are back—a trend the U.K.’s House and Garden recently cheered as an “anti-dote to the ‘shabby chic’ prettiness of the late ’90s and 2000s.” And we’re seeing these striking motifs everywhere: in puzzle-like floor tiles; on chic trays, cabinetry and tabletops; and on textiles of every sort. Furniture pieces and lighting are going angular, with clean, graphic lines that are often deco-inspired. The European Furniture Group, a major office design firm, spotted the trend at the 2016 Milan Furniture Fair and attributed its arrival to the “anthropological influence of Eastern and African art owing into the West.”
The design authorities who plan Paris’s twice-yearly Maison et Object shows always choose one theme to define the times, and in February the driving concept was, simply, Wild. “Confronted with a world formatted by technology, urbanization and excessive domestication, the imaginary gets wilder,” wrote Marie-Jo Malait, editor of the inspirations book that accompanied the event, “and finds refuge in the innocence of an essential, preserved landscape, untouched.” This aesthetic isn’t just about bringing nature inside, she says, but in living with shapes that are raw, misshapen, corroded, burnt and scarified. With their seemingly unformed shape, Tom Dixon’s new Melt Copper pendant lights bring this organic ideal home. Pair them with salvaged wood and other irregular and natural materials for a primordial vibe.
Melt pendant light (from $819) by Tom Dixon, informinteriors.com
Where There’s Smoke
This year’s Milan Furniture Fair featured some stunning pieces in smoked or coloured glass, including new work by Amsterdam-based designer Germans Ermičs. His latest collection of sleek tables and chairs was tinted in gradients of purple, yellow, green and blue, to create an ombré effect. “It’s always been a problem with glass that I never found it comforting enough,” he told Dezee—infusing glass with colour gave it “a different meaning” in his eyes. Coloured glass also added life and dynamism to wood cabinetry, and more than one design group reinterpreted the sacred stained glass of church windows in statement pieces for the home.
Come As You Are bar cart ($2,730) by Christophe De la Fontaine for Dante, informinteriors.com
High-shine metal finishes continue to bring the glamour to interiors this year, though some design pundits have issued a warning: the rosy golds and coppers that have taken over 2016 may look dated and garish before long. Pure gold has a more timeless appeal—and mixes well with smart-again matte black metal.
“The days of heavy, layered furnishings and textiles,” L.A.-based interior designer Katie Hodges told Vogue, “have come to an end.” Maybe it’s the influence of the queen of tidying up, Marie Kondo, or perhaps the celebrity declutterer-turned-author’s popularity is itself a product of a larger shift, but the freshest designs in furniture are more minimalist than ever: think airy pieces, tables and chairs with delicate, pencil-thin lines. Marble is having its moment, too, but it’s incorporated with a light touch.
Captain Flint Floor lamp ($1,995) by Michael Anastassiades for Flos, livingspace.com
Pretty in Pink
Although it was rose quartz that had the distinction of being a Pantone Colour of the Year (alongside “serendipity blue”), pinks of all hues are gaining currency this year. Is our surrender to pink a reaction to our hard-edged, unpredictable digital world? As Paris-based interior designer India Mahdavi told The Guardian, “These days, with things being difficult, we need plenty of hugs, warmth and comforting.” (She used a pale candy pink almost exclusively within the Gallery at Sketch gastro brasserie in London.) Bolder pinks, like this scarlet rocking chair from Eilersen, are favoured for accent pieces in otherwise neutral or pastel-themed rooms.
Rocking chair ($1,314) by Eilersen, theotherroom.ca
Designers are also responding to our high-tech environments and the tyranny of algorithms with a messy (albeit controlled) approach: the splattered paint look that was huge in the ’80s has returned. Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo and other major labels have paid homage to artists’ untamed nature in pricey paint-splattered jeans and shoes this year, and the rebellious motif has begun marking interiors, too. Architectural Digest noted a general “artsy” trend at Maison et Objet in Paris last February, where new collections of wallpaper, ceramics and textiles featured Pollock-esque splashed paint or brushstroke patterns.
Rio Cirque rug ($11,360), burrittfloors.com