The Decor + Design show, Melbourne – Trend Hub materials list

A special Hello to everyone who has visited our Trend Hub at Decor + Design 2016. As promised here is a list of the materials on display on the sample table:

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KEY TRENDS at the Surface Design Show, London

Last week we headed down to London for the Surface Design Show at the Business Design Centre in Islington.  On the train journey there I decided to write a post based around my 6 favourite finds at the show that connected with current trends, but on arrival it was obvious that 6 was not going to be enough.  This boutique-scale show was full of fascinating surface products and so here are all my favourite finds from across the show:

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I spotted this amazing leather panel (above left) on the Pintark by LOCO Design booth. Based in India, they describe themselves as “Specialising in advanced surface treatment and crafted material application”.  Their booth was filled with a diverse range of surface designs attached to their modular panel system.  This particular 3D leather panel reminded me of mushrooms or dried flowers … stunning!

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I was fascinated to discover the Metalier booth displaying panels that showcased how their product can turn virtually any surface into real metal!  Basically if you can apply paint to a material, either by spraying or brushing, you can apply Metalier to it … from cloth to polished concrete! It’s an ingenious product comprised of 95% pure metal and will last 20-25 years! This lace surface (above left) was getting all the attention on their booth.  Lace has been a big trend again since the royal wedding, and has even pushed through into makeup trends.  Now we’re seeing a host of products in stores that mimic lace patterns and textures, from tableware to wallpaper … and even baking products!

Uni

It’s always exciting and inspiring to see the booth put together by The University of Huddersfield (above). For several years, design students whose work is a direct result of industry collaboration have been selected to exhibit at the show.  Although it’s been a great showcase for the students work, and has often resulted in placements and sponsored projects, it’s been a challenge to directly convert their ideas into commissions and cash!  So a Senior Lecturer at the University, Joanne Harris, launched IDEAShaus – a commercial enterprise working to help students gain commissions or sell their work to companies. 4 students brought the booth alive with their work this year … let’s take a closer look:

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Alice McBride showcased the work from her final major project at University, which was one of my favourite projects when we attended the opening night last summer.  Her work is inspired by the relationship between nature and industrialism, and she uses a fusion of Gothic architecture and “free living botanicals” to create intricate patterns. Layers of soft paint strokes and strict geometrics are joined together to create unique wall panels. Some of this collection was a collaboration with Daedalian Glass Studios and experimented with how laser cut materials reacted to being trapped in glass. Alice’s latest project ‘ORIGIN’ was also displayed and was really extraordinary work. It has an ordered calmness that I absolutely loved and it was so easy to envision this work as intricate privacy screens/space dividers in a chic bar or hotel in the likes of Dubai; backlit as a wall panel in a retail department; or as table tops in a restaurant!

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Samantha Stewart recently completed an MA Textiles at the University of Huddersfield.  She uses a variety of weaving looms to create fabric structures that effectively “trap ephemera from social waste” (such as zips and nails) to make a creative connection with the textile traditions of the people of Kohistan, who use redundant objects to decorate textiles. From these unusual woven pieces Samantha produces digital imagery to decorate fabrics, and then upholsters seating pieces with these fabrics.

Over the past few years we’ve been exploring Glitch Art in our trend reports and Samantha’s work was strangely reminiscent of this aesthetic … disrupted patterns that have the appearance of electrical interference and contained energy.  Look out for more of these types of mis-registered, glitch patterns over the next year.

pic Emma Linney

Emma Linney displayed her final major project from her Honors Degree show.  Entitled ‘Surface Tactility’ it explored 4 main techniques for creating imagery, which comprised of CNC routing, laser-cutting, UV printing and screen printing. These techniques were combined to create surfaces that have both visually and tactile appeal. Emma’s work is ideal for large wall panels and I’d love to see her commissioned to create pieces for a hotel lobby, a fashion accessories or jewelery store, or even an independent coffee shop.

It’s interesting that we’ve seen laser-cutting techniques trending strongly in product design at shows around the world, but I haven’t seen printed pattern used to forge such a close relationship with laser-cut pattern before.  It’s something I’ll be keeping a look out for in other Designer’s work because my trend senses are tingling!

pic Rebekah Hutchinson

Rebekah Hutchinson recently gained a BA Honors Degree in Surface Design for Fashion and Interiors.  Her ‘Endless Abstraction’ collection comprised a series of unique wall coverings created using screen printing, hand printing, laser-etching and UV printing.  The resulting intricately multi-layered abstract patterns blend and bleed into one another and the surface of the plywood base material.  The finished panels seemed to me to have both botanical and industrial qualities, and it’s a mix I really like – the natural textures and motif are so intermixed with the raw, crumbling, weathered surfaces that it’s hard to tell which is which.  And this whole concept of developing a new relationship with nature in our urban environment is essential to current future design trends.

Rebekah Hutchinson insitu

Rebekah’s designs are begging to be blown-up to become large-scale wall panels and, as you can see above, they would provide a very contemporary, gritty/botanical backdrop to a coffee shop, bistro or restaurant.

green wall

On our travels to exhibitions, from Décor + Design in Melbourne to Index in Dubai, we get to see a lot of products that enable nature to be brought indoors – whether it’s a commercial, retail, hospitality or residential setting. Caged plant pot privacy screens; felt plant pocket walls; ceramic planter wall tiles … we’ve seen them all! But Bright Green brought something to the show the likes of which we hadn’t seen before. They call it Vertical Pod. It’s a system that can be used with live or artificial plants, inside or outside, and it can be used against a wall or as free standing screening. And as you can see from the photo above, a row of Vertical Pods can work brilliantly as an unusual space divider or privacy screen, and is a great alternative to a traditional green wall.

Look out for the whole issue of Privacy being addressed by product designers in a big way over the next few years. It’s a hot topic in design circles at the moment as people begin to seek out greater privacy in all areas of their lives, including of course their online presence.

pic caroline hough

I was delighted to see Caroline Hough Design exhibiting again this year and I finally got to meet the lady herself. Caroline produces interior and exterior surfaces using bio resins, Jesmonite and native timbers like Elm. Her work is both texturally raw, often exploiting the natural forms of the weathered timbers, and minimalist in its smooth simplicity. To me it epitomises a new design trend relating to ‘controlled rusticity’ (something we explore in detail in our Spring/Summer 2017 trend report). Put simply, I love Caroline’s work – the marriage of materials and the complimentary contrasts that exist between textures and colours. Everything about the surfaces she creates is deeply considered and precise, and yet she seems to leave space for natural processes and chance. It’s a way of working that requires confidence and experience, as well as respect for the materials she works with. My favourite surface on her modest booth brought together bio resin and pieces of hexagonal timber … everything about it was right.

pic pladec

Pladec is a Portuguese manufacture of architectural decorative high-end panels for wall coverings and furniture applications. Their product development work is fantastic and they have a keen on current and future trends. We’ve showcased several of their panels on our Trends Hubs including at TISE in Las Vegas.
When it comes to innovative, on-trend metal or wood panels I think their range is second to none.

At the show this year they exhibited several ultra-oxidized metal effects that really caught my eye, as well as tessellated tile formations and blue-toned wood panels … if you were at my seminar or Trend Tours at TISE this year then you’ll remember that blue-toned wood was one of my top tips for flooring in 2017.

(For UK enquiries contact Kolourful Creative Solutions)

 

 

Travel Tips from a Trend Forecaster

One of the best aspects of being a Trend Forecaster is all the travelling I do.  I enjoy seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, trying local food and indulging in a spot of shopping. However it’s not until very recently that I’ve come to enjoy the actual travelling part of travelling i.e. the whole tedious flying thing.  I thought it was awful, but it turned out I was just doing it wrong!

So far this year I’ve spent just under 160 hours on planes and in airports.  Here’s what I’ve learnt that could make your next flight better:

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1. Your feet are going to swell a little during a flight and, weird as it sounds, making your feet feel comfortable is a key component to you feeling comfortable. No, sitting in your socks or expecting the people around you to tolerate your bare feet isn’t ok.  Get some slippers that squish into your hand luggage easily, or better still buy some soft shoes that roll or fold up.  I like these stone blue & gold leather ballet pumps from Cocorose London that fold up to fit neatly into a handbag.  Learn from my soggy mistake – slippers with fabric soles are a disaster if you plan on using the toilet on board!

2. Don’t eat inflight meals if you can help it – they’re generally disappointing at best and tasteless mush at worst.  Although there is a temptation to eat and drink everything offered to you, simply because it’s being offered to you, it can make you feel bloated.  Your body has enough stuff to deal with during a flight without adding food digestion to the mix! I tend to eat at the airport well before I board the flight.  We often begin our outward journeys out of Heathrow so if I have time I eat at Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food restaurant.  But I always carry a bag of nuts and a small packet of biscuits with me in case I get peckish and my blood sugar gets low during the flight.

3. No matter how warm the temperature is in the city you’re flying out of or to, at some point during the flight they’re going to turn the cabin thermostat to freezing!  Sure you could use the blanket the airline provides, but after a girlfriend of mine got a nasty skin rash from one, I prefer to take a large scarf.  Small enough to loop onto the handle of my hand luggage (using a Parisian loop knot) or worn around my neck – I then use it as a leg blanket, pillow or wrap during the chilly periods of a flight.  I love this handwoven ombre effect merino wool wrap from Uruguay-based Etsy seller Claudia Rosillo, trading as Texturable.  She ships worldwide!  I also tend to wear bamboo tops when I travel because of the inherent temperature control qualities of bamboo and the amazing comfort.  I buy mine from No Balls in the UK.

4. Everyone knows you need to stay hydrated during a flight, and lots of people now carry their own water canister.  However not as much consideration is given to how dehyrated your skin can get from the dry air circulating on planes during a long flight.  To avoid walking through the Arrivals Lounge looking like a dried-up prune I use a mini thermal spring water face spray from La Roche-Posay (a tip from Miss P in Dubai) and ‘All About Eyes’ eye cream from Clinique to reduce puffiness or dark rings, plus Applelicious Glossy Lip Balm (in Caramel Apple) from NewYorkColor to stop my lips from getting dry.

5. The headphones handed out by airlines during flights are RUBBISH!  The sound quality is sooo bad and they’re often uncomfortable.  On my last trip to Australia I invested in Bose SoundTrue headphones in Mint.  All time great decision!

6. When we’re doing any trip overseas that involves more than one flight I always take a full change of clothes for a quick outfit refresh in the transfer airport toilets.  Obviously this requires a handbag large enough to carry a change of clothes, wash bag etc… but I also use my bag as a kind of foot rest on flights, placed under the seat in front of me (I can sleep better on flights if my knees aren’t in a bent position).  I spotted this great canvas travel tote bag from Bags Wish, which has plenty of space and lots of handy compartments.  Roll your clothes – they take up less space this way and it stops them from creasing as much.

7. I find the middle period of long flights the worst.  I’ll have watched a movie, done some work, had a little snooze, eaten my biscuits, made a list of some sort (I love making lists). But then I look at my watch and we’re only half way through the flight and I’m in despair.  If I need to kill a couple of hours and have a sense of escape, so I can totally forget where I am, I read.  I always take a good book on flights.  Recently my reading companions have been Jon Ronson, Lionel Shriver and Andrea Zittel.

8. As soon as I get on a flight I change my watch to the local time in the destination I’m travelling to.  I find it helps me to begin to psychologically adjust to my new time zone before I get there.  I simply convince myself that, that is now the actual time.  Right now I’m LOVING the understated design of this genuine carrara Marble watch by Australian brand AÃRK – style at its most simple.

Miss V

Garden Trends: Bringing the indoors outdoors

Back in March I was asked for an interview by a journalist putting together a feature on domestic gardens for the Sainsbury’s Bank/Guardian co-hub.  They wanted a glimpse of possible changes 10 years into the future, specifically how the way we use our gardens in the UK might change.  I’d like to share that interview and our predictions with you here.  If you are a UK Home Builder; Interior Designer; Garden Landscaper; Outdoor Product Retailer, Manufacturer or Designer the following insights are essential reading.
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ABOVE: Grid modular outdoor teak furniture from Gloster

Q1. As we shift increasingly towards thinking of our gardens as an ‘extra room’, are there shifts in the way we might think about them as a space – more or less decorative, for instance?

Victoria: Over the next decade we forecast a strong shift towards using our gardens in the UK much more as multi-functional outdoor rooms.  The trend for bringing the outside inside is well established, but for the future we advocate the concept of bringing the inside outside!

What will this mean?  Well firstly it will mean really comfortable, quality furniture and accessories, more usually associated with living room and dining area styles, being incorporated into outdoor room schemes.  And overall the look becomes more decorative, from lighting and outdoor rugs to stylish outdoor storage pieces akin to sideboards, it has a less temporary feel about it and a much more considered decorative style … the same level of decorative consideration we would give to our living rooms or bedrooms.  Of course adaptable covered areas that allow us to stay outside when the inevitable UK rain comes will also need to be incorporated into designs (climate change in the UK could simply mean hotter, wetter weather).  It’s about creating a sense of home in our gardens no matter where we live or how small the outdoor space is.

montage 2 gardens UK

ABOVE: 1. Stylish Frame chaise longue from Paola Lenti with a braided rope fixed cover, deep seat pad & cushions.  2. Outdoor Blue Hydrangeas Pillow by London-based Etsy seller Amanda Jane Dalby.  Amanda’s stunning photos are printed onto weather-resistant & fade-resistant polyester poplin fabric, which is then individually cut & sewn by hand to make the final double-sided cushions.  They are such a clever and simple way to add extra floral colour to an outdoor seating area (I have her White Hydrangea Pillows on my terrace!).  3. Alison Iroko Outdoor Furniture from Minotti’s new 2015 collection.  The squared-off, architectural lines and bold use of exotic Iroko Heartwood make this a quality outdoor furniture statement.

Victoria: We will also need to incorporate fast, effective heating solutions that enable us to relax, cook, eat, entertain and work in our gardens during any season, even when the weather is cooler.  Plus we predict a move away from ‘drag it out/store it away again’ barbeques and instead an investment in modular outdoor kitchen solutions, which allow the preparation of food to take place outdoors, as well as the actually cooking.

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ABOVE: 1. The WWOO Outdoor Kitchen, created by designer Piet-Jan van den Kommer, is a virtually maintenance-free prep’ & cook area made up of personalised components, which are set along a modular wall, and can include a Big Green Egg, stainless steel sink, integrated steel fireplace, South African braai, rugged wood storage crates and olive-wood cutting boards. 2.This stunning outdoor kitchen was built by Australian-based company Brick and Stone Construction (contracted by Harrison Landscaping for a project in Mosman, on Sydney’s North Shore).  The kitchen includes a wood fired pizza oven, BBQ grill and sink. The splashback & bench top are hand cut & polished Bluestone, and the doors are made of Cedar.  3. This cleverly concealed outdoor kitchen was created for a home in Brighton (the one in Melbourne!) by Interior & Landscape Designer MR.MITCHELL.  The reclaimed Australian hardwood adds visual warmth and softens this otherwise minimalist, grey outdoor area.  4. This super stylish prep’ & cook area includes a Belgium-made traditional wood-burning open fireplace by metalfire.

Q2. What about using gardens as playspace, especially for children: do you think that is going to change (and if so, will that affect the look or feel, or indeed the equipment we keep in them)?

Victoria: Creating garden spaces that allow free, unstructured play for children is an increasingly important focus for many parents, as is enabling fun opportunities to exercise.  Purpose built, recreation park quality outdoor play features, from climbing walls to mini skatepark ramps, will provide children with secure spaces at home to play, practice skills and exercise.  This could lead to an increased demand for all-weather safety flooring, better outdoor lighting solutions and even products as simple as outdoor drinks dispensers.

An emphasis on discovery and learning associated with environmental awareness and food origin also drives a trend for dedicating space to mini allotments for children within the garden.  And therefore practical problem solving associated with this, like having outdoor hand washing facilities available for children to use, will also begin to be addressed.  

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ABOVE: 1. An amazing home skate circuit in the garden that still looks great because it incorporates planting.  2. A home rock climbing wall out on the patio by Elevated Climbing Walls 3. Vegetables, salad & herbs grown in small, raised, colourful boxed beds/patches that are manageable for children to maintain and inexpensive to make.  4. A brilliantly simple, inexpensive but effective vertical garden solution for small children.

Q3. Will we have, overall, just less room in gardens?

Victoria: Population boom projections and mass migration to cities mean that smaller homes, and therefore smaller gardens, are very likely in the future for many places around the world.  Often in the UK we make the mistake of thinking about an outdoor area as a flat space, and that limits its potential.  We will need to be smarter about how we use the space in our gardens by creating multi-levels, buying multi-functional furniture or furniture that also incorporates storage space, as well as utilising wall space in creative ways, for example using wall space to create vertical gardens to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit or fold down desks that create a work desk outdoors in the sunshine!

Spring Summer 2016: Modern design lessons from Ancient Japan

As we look ahead with enthusiasm to a future filled with wearable technology, haptic interfaces, augmented reality and smart everything, let’s be mindful to also look back and continue to learn from innovations and wisdom of the past.

Natural dye techniques, wood preserving methods, needle crafts, slow surface design techniques, the working & tooling of natural materials, and living in harmony with nature in order to achieve wellbeing are just a few lessons from ancient Japan, along with restraint and simplicity, which we should value and explore.

Here I’ve brought together my pick of contemporary products that pay homage to Japan’s ancient craft skills.  From Sashiko and Shou Sugi Ban to the use of Indigo, these unique products have been made with passion, care and respect.  And they provide you with an insight into important design features for Spring / Summer 2016 trends for Interiors.

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  1. The DALMA chair by design trio CARAPACE uses Shou Sugi Ban, an ancient Japanese technique that preserves the wood, making it robust and durable. The wood undergoes a charring process and is then washed and brushed with water to remove excess soot, before a natural oil is applied to seal it.  This technique is traditionally used for the cladding of buildings.
  2. I love the magical glow of Ryosuke Fukusada’s limited edition Wooden Light Bulb available from LEDON. The are made using the traditional Japanese Rokuro technique – the bulbs are handmade by turning pine on a lathe and carving away until the bulb is between 2-3mm thick. An LED light is then placed inside the shell. The resulting bulb looks solid when off, but when switched on, a warm glow shines through the woods grain.  Watch this VIDEO to see exactly how they are made in Kyoto.
  3. The Sashiko Leather Tray is handmade by the wonderfully talented Etsy seller Joey of SubconsciousCrafts, based in Rennes, France.  Sashiko (meaning  “little stabs”) is a form of decorative running stitch technique from Japan.  Traditionally used to reinforce points of wear, or to repair worn places or tears with patches. Usually white cotton thread stitched on traditional indigo blue cloth gives sashiko its distinctive appearance, but here Joey uses hand-stitched white thread on vegetable hand-dyed tanned leather to create this unusual tray, assembled via corner snap buttons.
  4. The Blue & White Beaker by South African-based ceramicist John Newdigate uses a very similar method to Shibori (the Japanese resist-dye technique described in point 7) but here John uses wax and cobalt oxide on porcelain instead of indigo and cotton/linen.
  5. The Mökki lamp-pot by architect-designer Caterina Moretti of Peca mimics the shape of a house surrounded by a mini-landscape that the end consumer designs. It pays homage to Zen Gardens and the art of Bonsai.  Hand carved from White Onyx & Carrara Marble and with an LED light, it is a pot that gives life, light and a sense of wellbeing.
  6. The Ki-oke Stool by OeO Design Studio fuses the fine tradition of Kyoto woodcrafting with Western sensibilities. The result is an object of beauty which also pays homage to traditional bucket making in Japan.  Handcrafted in Japan by Shuji Nakagawa, they are available in Japanese cypress (sawara) and in a limited edition of Japanese cedar (jindai-sugi) with a natural, 2000-year-old patina.
  7. The Shibori Tie-Dye Pillow from Posh Living is hand dyed and custom made especially for you when you place an order. Shibori (meaning “to squeeze or wring”) is an ancient Japanese tie-dying resist technique (the earliest known example dates from the 8th century) using methods to bind, stitch, fold, twist, gather or compress cloth so the dye (usually indigo) can’t reach certain areas and therefore patterns are created.

CONTEMPLATION TIME:

  • Think about ways to honor and promote the heritage and traditions of your company, manufacturing methods or products.
  • Think about ways to tell the story of the products you sell in engaging ways … not just the technical spec.
  • Think about ways to create calming, edited-down retail experiences (this applies to website design and brochures too!).

To find out more about our Spring / Summer 2016 trend forecast or ways in which we can improve your product offer, marketing or store design email Phil.