A 2020 vision: Interiors trends to look out for in the new decade
PUBLISHED: 07:26 11 December 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 12 December 2019
Architects, designers and manufacturers all over the world agree - the next decade is going to be about emotional attachments.
I had an interesting exchange the other day with a man GQ magazine had voted among Asia's most stylish. A rather dapper former banker who'd spent his youth among the sights and smells of the Tehran bazaars.
Eventually, Hossein Rezvani decided on a change of career, and like his father before him, devoted his time to creating what they do best in hand-made suits. Rugs that take seven months to make, comprise a million knots per square metre and typically cost about £7,000.
For that price, I'd expect them to fly. But the market is enormous among those who've never had to wonder if they could get away with reusing the old underlay. He told me other things too. Like how he doesn't believe in trends, preferring to create timeless classics, pieces that fascinate because of the story behind them.
Given all this intense attention to detail, I asked him what he thought made the ideal carpet. He said simply: a sold one.
Shortly afterwards I had a similar exchange with a well-heeled industrialist from New York called Harlan Stone, whose $700 million conglomerate, HMTX industries, is innovating the hell out of the flooring materials industry and asked him a similar question
"That's easy," he said. "Joy and happiness for the person who now lives, works or visits the place where that floor has been installed." And this from a man who built a global company that's never veered from its core philosophies of passion and dedication.
What struck me was that, while it may well be all about the finished product, it was also about the sheer intensity of the process behind it. In Stone's case it was also about sustainability and transparency in the most intense detail.
Then there was architect Adrian Sierra Garcia, a young Mexican, and one half of a double act making a name for themselves internationally for what he calls "poetic, sexy, functional" design philosophy.
"We are not afraid to be guided by our emotions, he told me, "…to dive into wild and passionate projects that make us feel good."
Such designs, he explained "personify a sensitive artistic expression for a deep human experience". And then there was Zurich's Philipp Wieting, widely regarded as a godfather of all things technical in terms of what architects call building information modelling. But the high-tech stuff only helps, to use his words, give rooms a soul and "bring a sensuality to the design process".
And, thanks to an interpreter, I was able to understand what the Vienna-based architect Stefanie Wograth meant when she spoke of developing a style that was "contextual and authentic, yet self-confident" and how such authenticity emerges through personal identification with a building.
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All of which has taught me one thing as we approach a new decade: mere trends, let alone fads, won't cut it in the modern age. It really is all about going the extra mile in terms of how much more than just our knowledge and expertise we can put into creating the living environment of the future.
Trends will always be there in the background, of course, giving us the blueprint. House Beautiful magazine recently predicted 2020 would see an influx of mellow warmth in the form of "bold shades of terracotta, burnt orange, ochre and buttery tan, gorgeous tactile textures such as bouclé". And furniture and accessories will "echo nature and organic forms". All pretty much on message.
Ideal Home, meanwhile, spoke of "a fun, free-spirited interiors trend" that would take inspiration from abstract expressionist artwork. "Bold geometrics, hand-drawn sketches and playful blocks of colour" would help us express personality in our homes."
It explained: "Bold patterns and punchy colours lend a more playful approach to styling a décor. As with the expressionist art movement, this trend celebrates the imperfections and fluidity of hand-drawn forms - line drawings play a key focus within this look."
One thing that will only grow with age is that we will continue to care, not just about what something looks like or how it functions and fits into our personal space - or even our view of life - but how it's made and how it will affect the environment. I must have interviewed a few dozen of the most influential figures shaping the way we see our homes in the past year and I can't remember a single time this was not mentioned.
In 2006, the Australian bespoke flooring specialist, Modieus, produced a scented carpet featuring a backing containing vanilla and rose fibres.
The carpet was 100 per cent wool and the backing was a natural composite material which included wood chips mixed with the required fragrances, ground to fineness and mixed with a natural binder before being covered with a vacuum film and hermetically sealed.
It was an early exponent of sensory branding — connecting consumers to a brand through the senses — that's now being explored more and more; the US corporation, International Flavours and Fragrances, has been partnering companies in many countries to help increase their brand identification through the use of scent.
And all sorts of clever stuff involving cork floors and laminate underlays is going into keeping noise levels down, something that enhances our sense of wellbeing, especially when combined with acoustic panelling and soft furnishing. Anyone who's spent an evening writing a column or two in TAP Air, the new premium passenger lounge at Lisbon's Humberto Delgado Airport, will know that.
Next year will have its colours, of course. Dulux have defined them as Tranquil Dawn and have produced a series of complimentary palettes to give life to the philosophy behind a concept "inspired by the morning sky, to help give homes the human touch".
For the American colour company Pantone, it's Classic Blue, (or Pantone 19-4052, if you really want to get nerdy), a shade they describe as "a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection".
Pantone was founded in 1950s as a New York printing company before moving to Carlstadt, New Jersey, and since 2000, its trend-forecasting Pantone Color Institute has been telling us what we'll be putting on our walls and why.
This past year, it was Living Coral, "animating and life-affirming". The 2020 shade will bring "a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit, offering refuge". So now you know.
I do bet though that, whatever happens next in interiors, there are those out there making sure we'll sense it, long before we see, feel or smell it.
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