designjunction, original photo on Houzz
The wingback armchair is reinvented. Our love of all things midcentury isn’t exactly waning, but it’s definitely evolving. This was evident in many of the pieces on exhibit — check out British designer Charlene Mullen’s Marimekko-esque plates and Scandi folk-style illustrations — but most noticeably in the form of the wingback chair.
A midcentury classic, this instantly recognizable seat, with “wings” at head height, has had something of a reinvention, and versions of it were plentiful. This curvy pastel take on the chair by Republic of Fritz Hansen is just one example. Elsewhere, there were fresh, boxy versions by James UK; extra-tall backs at Knightsbridge Furniture; streamlined, modern designs by Icons of Denmark; and super-cushioned incarnations by Norr11.
Giant pendants get a sleek makeover. Although there were still plenty of large, factory-style metal shades around, a new breed of oversize pendant was spotted nudging ahead.
Contemporary shapes and materials ruled at Lightjunction, part of Designjunction, and Danish design brand New Works was just one of the companies with an example on show — theirs came in matte black metal. Huge textured pendants that looked like giant origami creations were also a thing; check out Foldability.
Nature takes over. Biophilia — humans’ theorized need to interact with nature — was officially touted as one of this year’s themes by The London Design Fair, one of the capital-wide festival’s key events. Across all the shows, plants were everywhere, especially little plants — the sort just perfect for small-space living. Teeny, trailing greenery was particularly popular, displayed in tiny decorative hangers (a trend in their own right) or cascading out of petite pots on shelves.
Designer Iona Dunsire put on a wonderful display of trailing ivy, planted in her own slatted wood hanging pots, alongside delicate insect-like lighting. Sian Zeng’s Dino wallpaper at Tent depicted green dinosaurs, palms and ferns. And one of the landmark installations of the week was Mini Living’s Forests by Asif Khan, which comprised three lush, plant-filled rooms dotted around the city for members of the public to enjoy.
Miris Windows & Doors, original photo on Houzz
The new marble? Try some terrazzo. Marble most definitely has a competitor: terrazzo, a typically polished composite material with a distinctive speckled look, thanks — traditionally — to the prominent chips of quartz, granite or glass that feature in its makeup.
Terrazzo has commonly been used, as seen here, as a floor or wall surface, and featured a lot in midcentury design — think of the shiny, speckled communal staircases in so many apartment blocks of the 1950s and 1960s. However, all over the festival there were accessories inspired by the look of this retro material. Sevak Zargarian’s clay Unearthed collection is shot through with shards of a marble-like porcelain material called Parian for a similar effect.
Danish designer Troels Flensted mixed acrylic powder, resin and speckles of colored pigment to create his Poured tables and Poured bowls, which also have the appearance of terrazzo. Olivia Aspinall’s tiles tapped into the trend too.
Elsewhere, the effect was created using heat-resistant rubber. Swiss design duo Loris & Livia took inspiration from the speckled flooring on London Underground carriages for its coasters and placemats.
The base mix for terrazzo — the bit that the speckles are set into — is often concrete. However, the whole mixture can also be made with plastics, and this has opened up a new, interesting and eco-friendly direction since it works very well with recycled materials. Expect to see lots of examples coming your way.
Cool dark green is hot news. It’s the new gray, the new indigo and the new black all rolled into one (and don’t assume it’s time to repaint those moody hues, either — this is just the newest incarnation).
This classical shade is popping up on walls, cupboards and upholstery all over Houzz and was very much in evidence during the festival. It also features in the official complementary palette that accompanies the Dulux Color of the Year 2017, announced this past August. It’s going to be huge. Get in early.
Clerkenwell Design Week, original photo on Houzz
Concrete evolves. This kitchen, by French company Concrete LCDA popped up earlier in the year at Clerkenwell Design Week, but it signaled a move forward for concrete into something sleeker, softer and less industrial.
At 100% Design, there were concrete bathroom sinks by Kast Concrete Basins in a rainbow of shades (could a return to colored bathrooms be another trend brewing?). Room 9 had concrete so smooth, pale and highly polished that it looked like soapstone, and Polish company Concreate used it as a material for its wall paneling. Talking of which …
Cladding is back. Yes, even stone cladding, last fashionable in the 1970s, is a continuing trend, building on the popularity of those staggered 3-D tiles. Wooden decorative paneling for walls also continues to grow in popularity, with geometric cutouts and marquetry featuring heavily.
NAKED Kitchens, original photo on Houzz
The new metallics. Shiny metallics have been a big trend for the past few years, but there were significantly fewer of them on show this year. Gold and brass, however, did still pop up in small design details, such as hinges and handles, as seen here. Also spied was parquet flooring inlaid with slim strips of brass (and parquet, which was everywhere, clearly remains hugely on-trend). Designer Bethan Gray’s ornate — and rather midcentury-ish — new furniture also featured brass used in a similar way.
That doesn’t mean metallics are out of fashion at all, more that a new approach to these materials is coming through in the form of oxidized and rusted metals. In the same way that antiqued mirror is becoming popular, this lived-in approach to metallics adds character to a space and, with orange and brown tones, plenty of warm color too.
Marble moves on. Browse the Houzz photos tab for “marble,” and most of the images you’ll find feature a stone that’s predominantly gray and white in tone.
What we spotted around the various shows and events at this year’s festival were more marble features that used warmer or colored incarnations: browns, sandy shades and pinks.
This was also a trend highlighted in a talk by trend-forecasting company WGSN at 100% Design as something to watch out for in spring and summer 2018.
Brooke Wagner Design, original photo on Houzz
Tiles go for texture. Tiles, overlapping somewhat with the already-mentioned wall paneling, were everywhere.
Although the hugely patterned encaustic concrete tiles we’ve loved for the past few years aren’t going anywhere, what was on show during the festival was something new. Rather than pattern from color, the trend was for pattern formed by the shape of the tiles themselves, as seen in this kitchen.
3-D was a big look, with Theia Creative Tiles providing a good example of tactile geometric designs that stand out from the wall. At the Ateliers Zelij stand, beautiful one-color mosaics had been made from uneven tile fragments to create texture.