Invention, function, romance and hybrids are among the standout interior trends for the coming years, according to Greg Dunlop, global director of WGSN-Homebuildlife. Here's a summary from his presentation, “Fast Forward: A Future View of Interior Trends,” which took place during Winter Las Vegas Market.
Living Design. This aesthetic implies a tactile, organic, lifelike sense within a design. “You want to touch and feel the products,” Dunlop explained, adding that Living Design is a hybrid of digital and organic elements combined to make new products. Look no further than the culinary arena to get an understanding of Living Design, where food, kitchens and dining rooms are imbued with a sensual, sharing experience, punctuated with beautiful tools and utensils. Colors are soft, shapes are round and everything is designed for feeling or holding.
“Ceramic is a very important material,” Dunlop said. “It can be a lot of different colors, it can be embossed, and it can be smooth. Again, this material is something to be played with, something to be touched.” This trend also resonates with designs for children, encouraging cuddling and holding.
Hack-tivate. This trend revolves around taking something that already exists and making it into something else—something useful, said Dunlop. “It is about reinventing and reinvigorating products and giving them new purpose. It is about a reduce, reuse, recycle mentality on a new wavelength,” he said.
The Hack-tivate sensibility comes as a response from the new generation of creators, who are using open sourcing, 3D technology and social networking to devise a DIY design aesthetic. It’s a democratic design approach inspired by a boundless flow of ideas and resources. “You can source materials from places from all over the world,” said Dunlop.
One example he shared is the Fab Lab in the United Kingdom and other hackspaces in the United States, where designers share equipment, ideas and, often, prototypes and other creations. “Hack-tivate is about repair and repurpose. We are starting to see new tools and new rules so we are starting to see vintage equipment given a new life,” he said. In these designs, expect to see retro, toned-down neutral hues, with an occasional burst of color and unpredictable patterns, with no love for symmetry.
Dunlop added that Google is also becoming part of the design process, because users can search for a design concept and see what others have created. “What we are seeing in Hack-tivate is very irreverent, very experiential, with a concept of doing whatever you want,” he said.
21st Century Romance. Dunlop pointed out that there is a desire for wild romance and pure beauty in coming designs. It’s a combination of opposites, including hard/soft, dark/light, liquid/solid and organic/industrial, and it’s born of frugal fatigue. After the last few penny-pinching years, people are tired of being conservative with budgets and design.
“In this trend, we don’t want products that just function, but we want them to perform beautifully,” Dunlop said. “We want to transform our everyday existence with exquisite craft, and carefully curated experiences. The new romanticism celebrates spirituality, nature, emotion, authenticity and imagination. We are not turning our back on technology, but we are thinking about how technology influences the beauty and breathtaking qualities that we see.”
The color palette of 21st Century Romance combines the patina of the past with the nuisances of the present to include mauve tones, warm and cool blue, charcoal gray, fuchsia and minty green. Dunlop says the combination of design products should reflect the finest of materials with the most intricate details and the most compelling colors to combine for a dark, sensual environment.