Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Natural look is in

Handmade patchwork quilts

Spoons made from spanners and mirrors that mute - what will they think of next? All was revealed in interiors trends at Maison & Objet - the definitive event for home d├ęcor from around the world. If you couldn’t get to Paris in September for the fair that style-watchers watch, here is a snapshot.
Handmade and eco-chic, trends which often go hand-in-hand, are not going away any time soon.
“Craft is something that’s continuing,” says Lisa White, creative director, Homebuildlife WGSN, who explored all the fair’s nooks and crannies.

From all parts of Asia, London-based textiles company Stitch by Stitch gathered a new collection of handmade patchwork quilts and organic cotton towels with the emphasis on natural dyes. Among them: hand-woven felted rugs from Nepal, and home textiles hand embroidered by artisans in Gujarat, India ­ an area famed for its ancient textile handicrafts.

Still strong are craft finishings from yesteryear, such as lace, especially in a hard/soft mix and match, such as crocheted doilies on concrete.

French artist Nathalie Lete breaks her mould with Karma for Avenida Home, a collection of placemats and coasters influenced by 1970s colours and patterns, in a deco rewind which White says is “really trending right now”.

Lilokawa produced a range of cube footstools, baskets and cushions handmade from recycled coffee bags. Even French brand Airborne, which has been making its iconic armchairs since 1951, is getting in on the act with a one-off design made from remnants.

In what White calls an eco-active macro trend, designers are creating natural materials which are not reliant on petroleum products – as evidenced by Danish Crafts’ MYX lampshade made from hemp and mushrooms (strong, lightweight and biodegradable – and being funky-looking), and a boiled leather chair by Jonas Steenfatt Thomsen, using an ancient treatment which offers a natural alternative to synthetic materials.

The use of materials at hand such as these, White says, is fresh evidence of sustainability emerging in surprising ways. Pols Potten presented bowls made from recycled flip-flops washed up on the shores of Africa; and eco-friendliness meets design in large objects such as a cocoon-shaped baby’s crib from Pearl Cork.

It’s been around for a while, but Maison & Objet can reveal that the industrial look labours on. There was the expected factory-style lighting, but also one-off quirky pieces, such as a chair made out of an old Singer sewing machine. Spanners re-used as cutlery; and delicate white, fluted-edged crockery resembling dainty machinery cogs (both part of a brand collaboration by Diesel Living and Seletti) reinforce this trend’s muscle.

British designer Tom Dixon – Maison & Objet’s designer of the year 2014 – entered the fray with “candleholders [that] again remind you of machines and tools, but in a still very beautiful and almost chiselled way,” White says.
At the fair, the industrial look also extended to pressed metal accessories. A cabinet in new-look anodised metal, which has more of a rainbow effect than the usual aged patina, was created by Sebastian Herkner for Pulpo.

“Gentlemen’s Club” is another trend identified by White, manifested in suiting fabric upholstery [such as herringbone tweed] encased in a solid wood frame; and sofas made from the softest of leathers to look and feel like a baseball glove.

A selection of high-end gaming tables, beautifully finished with detailed stitching or exotic skins, were “further reminders of a gentleman’s living room”, along with boxes to hold cigars or other bits and pieces, and various uses of football-type stitching.

Candles for men are “such a big market”, White says, with manufacturers covering the wax with different types of skin, fur or wood catering to “the male candle lover”.  Though not necessarily gender-specific, Tom Dixon also launched a home accessories collection at the fair, including mouth-blown barware and fragrance diffusers designed “to capture the scent of London”.
For the home cook, White identified new players as a cast iron baguette maker from Emile Henry, with its promise to deliver authentic Parisienne crustiness, foie gras and tagine makers, and a barbecue cooker that works with charcoal that you can use inside the house. A display by Swiss exhibitor Nouvel suggests that the fondue party is not yet over, and now there’s a smoker you can use on a regular stove.

In the “cool, calm and collected” category, Kappes of Japan introduced relaxation and mindfulness in the form of water droplets skipping across a bowl, while Nendo bottled various types of rain, presumably to encourage contemplation.

Beds, we were informed, will be dressed in the kinds of fabrics used to make clothing – including parker material – while also on the textile front, rugs are a continuing trend – both underfoot and as wall displays – and in another 1970s revival, Berber is back.

This season designers are also experimenting with that interior staple, mirrors. New styles are patterned,  “so you can see and not see at the same time”,  White explains. Changeable (up close you can see yourself clearly, back off and the vision becomes wobbly, and faceted, for viewing from all angles.
Colour-wise, White observed pastels varying from barely there to bolder; pink as a key colour (bright and powerful, or cotton candy); furniture and tableware in fuchsia, cranberry and amethyst (a vibrant purple White views as an interesting alternative to black, even seen in hardware such as sinks and garbage cans); along with jewel tones and citrus brights. Lush green appears in “every shade you can imagine”, from lime to dark pine, as do mixes of blue. Even colors that don’t normally go together – such as orange and purple – were teamed at the Paris fair.

If you’re wondering what’s hot for Christmas, cranberry is the key color. “It’s not red, but slightly warmer, with a bit more orange,” White explains. Green and copper sit companionably in wreaths and accessories which will outlive the festive season, and lighting accents in many forms – folded as origami, set into wall treatments or designed like pine needles – are a home decorator’s must-have.

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