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.