Saturday, August 25, 2012

"So, what are the hot trends for the Fall 2012 High Point Furniture Market?"

That's not a million dollar question; it's a multi-billion dollar question!  Designers and manufacturers the world over are hanging on those words and the answers can be hard to define.  The variety of furniture and accessories is so vast that it takes careful observation to spot a real trend instead of being swayed by merely the colorful and unique.  A genuine trend has to have the legs to carry it across many product lines and and last   long enough to justify a manufacturer's investment.  Because of this longevity factor, most predictions are based on observations from the previous market and seasoned with reports from other furniture shows worldwide.  It all adds up to some very important words.

 With that being said, top interior design publication Elle Decor has issued its trend alert for this fall's market.  Based on the optimism that they experienced at the Spring 2012 High Point Furniture Market, Elle Decor has identified the following:

GLAMOUR - People pay attention to details during times of economic hardship, so expect to see lots of high quality materials, sophisticated colors, and luscious curves.

METALLIC LEATHER - Adding glimmering detail to classic styles.

PLEATS - Lots of detailing in upholstered goods.

DINNING ROOM TABLES - Very large but still practical.

SMALL SPACE SOLUTIONS - For those of us who don't have a mega mansion.

GREEN PRODUCTS - Green materials are innovative and creative.   

With a somewhat different view on 2012 furniture trends is Li Edelkoort of Paris-based Trend Union, a company which forecasts trends for some of the world's foremost manufacturers of fashion, beauty, automobiles, and interior design.  Edelkoort has selected these as furniture's new direction:

LIGHTER AND MORE MOBILE - Rooms will have less furniture and the pieces will be both modular and portable.

DAYBEDS - They're back.

UPHOLSTERY - Beautiful pebble-inspired colors.  Tactility is key. 

PAPER AND CARDBOARD - Transformed into durable materials, also involving green construction.

WOOD - More rough and uncut.  Pieces will look more outdoorsy.

METAL - The industrial look is still in, with light weight mesh and colors of black and rust. 

These forecasts come from equally reputable sources, but there is little in common.  One report focuses more on a European audience,but the High Point Furniture Market is fully global in its reach and must be responsive to all potential buyers. This truly illustrates how elusive the definition of a trend really is.  In the long run, only time will tell which predictions are accurate and which miss the mark.   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Waver Chair by Konstantin Grcic for Vitra

QUESTION: When is a chair like a paraglider?
ANSWER:  When they share the same fabric and design!

Advanced fabrics have been the norm in outdoor sports for years.  Speciality materials that breathe, wick moisture, 
and protect skin from abrasions and the elements have revolutionized the world of sports equipment and clothing, but these high-tech fabrics have seldom crossed over into other products.  The Waver Chair, designed by Munich based Konstantin Grcic for Swiss manufacturer Vitra, boldly combines the best of sports technology to create a cutting edge chair that is as much a style statement as an innovation.   Grcic states that he intended to design a chair that was truly unique and looked to several different sports for inspiration, including windsurfing and paragliding.  The paraglider had the greatest impact, with the cantilevered frame and suspended, form-fitting seat taking cues from the seating harness.  The durable polypropylene fabric  is stretchy and waterproof, allowing the chair to be used outdoors as well as indoors and the aluminum frame swivels, allowing the seat to swing slightly.  The sports influence is seen again in the brilliant color choices available on the Waver Chair.  Not surprisingly, Grcic's breakout chair has generated critical acclaim and has been named 2012 Best Furniture Design by Azure Magazine

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer usually means a few months of taking it easy, but to interior design students, it means classes in residential and commercial lighting.  Lighting is a fascinating and often underutilized tool of design and now that class is over, I want to share some of my favorite trends in the world of illumination.

Who says that light bulbs have to be ugly?  Certainly not london based Hulgar.  Their interpretation is appropriately called the Plumen, which means plume.  The Plumen is graceful enough to need no shade while saving 80% in energy verses a standard light bulb and maintaining a life expectancy of eight years.

Pendants get wilder and more beautiful every year.  From delicate cascades of Swaroski crystals to dramatic mouth-blown globes, there is something for even taste in LBL Lighting's collection.

The Mademoiselle 2 is a sparkling piece of jewelry disguised as a low voltage halogen fixture, but not all of LBL's crystal designs are dainty.

Crystals become glistening spears on this suspended fixture called the Roxie, which features interlocking metal rings and aircraft cables.

Mid-Century continues to stand the test of time with a fresh generation of drum shades available in fabric and metal for suspended fixtures.

Last but not least is Molo Design's aptly named Cloud Softlight.  The gently corrugated forms appear to hover weightlessly, as much a freeform sculpture as a light fixture.


Monday, February 13, 2012


Spring is nearly here and the new color forecast is ready!  Pantone has long been the harbinger of color trends and their palette for Spring 2012 is alive with neons and soft pastels.  Apartment Therapy editors were especially enthused with "Back To The Fuchsia", which combined purples and pinks with green accents. 

Almost polar opposites are the Pantone "Resilience" and "Transending Time" collections.  Both feature muted neutrals and pastels that would find comfort in many interiors. "Resilience" brightens its selection of browns and greens with a flash of flamingo orange.

"Transending Time" relies on wine, plum, and rose blended with wood tones to achieve a soothing harmony.


Of course, there will always be traditional.  It has always been the style that most people feel comfortable with and it will continue to be.  But thanks to this year's new color palettes, traditional doesn't have to be boring.  The new brights or the subtle pastels will look equally well.

And what home would be complete without accessories?  These are as essential to the home as they are to fashion.  This year, the trend seems to be transparent, according to Lamps Plus.  A dramatic, clear glass or acrylic ceiling fixture paired with a glass table lamp will complement virtually any setting.

In fabric pattern and throw pillows, bigger is better according to The Trend Curve, who based their prediction on the items seen at the recent International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC.  These bigger, bolder motifs are coming after several years of small patterns and will quickly insert color and pattern into an existing interior. This trend is seen spreading to upholstery fabrics as well.  The Trend Curve is so confident in their observations that they predict bold patterning to dominate fabric accessories in 2013 as well.
The trend toward large motifs is also showing up on other accessories, such as thus lampshade.  At any rate, the year is young, and we can watch and see how all of this year's predictions hold up over time.