| Feb 11, 2011 |
Ambiente highlights trends: cute, refined, raw and mash
Boh staff
By Staff

The Ambiente furniture fair in Frankfurt, Germany, which began this past weekend, features four prevalent trends in market for Spring.

The fifties make a comeback with Cute. Old craft techniques are used in new contexts. The fifties cheerfully and neatly reinterpret the game of contrasts. The freshness regimen gives nostalgic designs, charming details and traditional materials a modern look, which celebrates femininity.

Manufacturers have rediscovered 1950s style with spots, stripes, checks and delicate floral patterns for cushions and tablecloths, or they have dyed them in full-bodied candy colours. Furniture comes with a feminine touch, sometimes even decorated with bows; a lot of pale wood is used, as well as brightly-coloured metal and steel tubing in the design of chairs and shelving.

While the products seem to revel in the past, they don't lose touch with the present. Products and materials with a one-time “bourgeois” feel like the cuckoo clock, for instance, are getting a contemporary makeover.

With pared down, distinct shapes and carefully considered, functional design, Refined stands for relaxed modernity. The design looks less rigid, is softly rounded off and impresses with its feelgood character rather than its architectural rigidity. Searching for a definition of a new classicism, new furniture designs are increasingly orientated towards a restrained design language.

A stylishly laid table may include ceramic crockery that looks handmade, as though each piece had been individually created by the potter. Clean-line design and a sophisticated country-house style such as the warm modern combination of metal with wood; traditional materials such as ceramic and earthenware in red and olive green; and silver and white are also prevalent in tableware. In past, coziness has been reflected in a "cocooning" effect, today people want "homing"—showing that people still like being at home, but not alone.

A trend which avows patina and turns its back on perfection, Raw concerns itself with industrial design. Raw, rough, natural materials are the focal point here. Authentic workwear becomes a discussion-starter for authentic furniture design concepts. Miners’ lamps, miners, car mechanics, workshops and garages are design role models. Visible, welded and metal seams turn into design and decorative features. Design is functional and resilient.

There is a focus on coarse, rough, untreated natural materials such as linen and jute. It is acceptable and even desireable for furnishing accessories to show signs of wear, to bring plenty of patina to the home and to be reminiscent of industrial and work-wear. In contrast to this, there are also elegant ornaments and decorations made of lace. As in the fashion world, home textiles are presented with lace trimmings and edgings, often in classic white or beige tones.

As ingenious as it is easygoing, Mash combines all that is colourful, jolly and highly expressive. A high-effect colour scheme, unusual combinations, diverse ethnic influences and unique design characterize this jolly trend, which will appeal to the whole family with its emotionally charged aesthetics. The attraction of new technologies and innovative options contrast with the charm of handmade, emotional products.

Spring is all about the courage to use color: gaudy bright tones, strident neon - and always intense. Glossy or matte surfaces, often also pictogram-like, glow in pink, orange, turquoise, green and lime green. Where color is so intense, formal lines can happily be reduced; there is a particular appeal for consumers who prefer things to be simple.

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.