Home interior trends: where do they originate? How do they evolve? And how are they predicted? Sadly, there is no scientific answer, and editors are oft heard to speak evocatively of “dominant moods” being simply “in the air”. And while it’s true that what’s going on in the world at large tends to become reflected in the things designers present for us to surround ourselves with at home, I suggest that what we ultimately see in the shops reflects more a kind of action/reaction response than literal interpretations of the prevailing zeitgeist.
In other words, in times of austerity, what tends to bubble up first is a reactive craving for escapism, followed by more pragmatic representations of scarcity or restraint; consider, after all, the much-documented surge in the sales of red lipstick during both World Wars. So it is that we can definitely see this kind of defiant desire for release today. We’ve been through difficult times, but now the future is looking rosier and people are fed up with, frankly, feeling fed up! Yet the world is, sadly, still troubled by politically and religiously-provoked conflict. It’s a potent cocktail to translate into creative endeavours! And while it would be ridiculously trite to say we can see this all writ large in the arguably luxurious furniture and accessories presented over the next few pages, I nevertheless seek here to explain how the trends shown do proffer tangible interpretations of our contradictory times.
This is a gloriously unabashed evocation of the allure and sophistication of the early days of the silver screen. It recreates in silvery greens and pearly blues a fantasy of a time when stars sparkled as flawless avatars of their real selves with no Twitter or selfies to expose the cracks. It is the ultimate stylistic escape from the stresses and speed of contemporary life; a modern interpretation of nirvana through homewares. You can almost imagine the sweet scent of camellias wafting through those windows alongside gentle bird song and spring sunshine. In this world there are no traffic jams, bad news or heartache. It is a room to lose oneself within, gorgeous, indulgent and absolutely exquisite; definitely best suited to a boudoir, for there, within the cocooning Fendi furs, silks and Celso de Lemas linens of your Frato “Lagoa” bed, you can dream undistracted of a perfect world.
Brooklyn New Industrial
Aligned in some ways to the retreat luxe of Hollywood Glamour is a look we’ve dubbed Brooklyn New Industrial. This is a glamorous picture of ultra urban sophistication for an elite captain of industry, think Gordon Gekko’s Wall Street titan meets the genius of the late Steve Jobs. It is a style well suited to those who love to entertain as a way of demonstrating their taste and elegance. It is extrovert and conspicuously slick yet also contained. This is a lesson in controlled display and discreet decadence. As such, monochrome is the dominant colourway. But, this strong aesthetic is tempered by artfully-sculpted wood as seen on the Porada “Second Belt” bench and Cattelan Italia “Arabesque” side-board. The B&B Italia “Arke” mesh-effect screen and Ligne Roset “Fifty” laced-back chairs also work to contribute the all-important stealthy touches of texture that lift this otherwise frill-free look. Overall the forms are masculine, graphic and geometric, finished mostly in the sort of polished glossy that whispers carefully-curated quality. However, the details are where this look really comes into its own: exquisite Baccarat, St Louis and Waterford crystal, fine Lladro ceramics, perfect Georg Jensen porcelain and gloriously-worked Rubelli fabrics. The clever twist is underpinning the whole with a softening dose of pattern and delicate colour, introduced here via a flush of moody lilac on the walls and an oversize rug from The Rug Company that functions as art for the floor.
This look is more subtle, a style built upon the timeless pillars of superior craftsmanship and elemental materials like worn and woven leather, cast iron, a little lacquer, burnished aluminium and solid brass. It is a vision of home founded on experience. The person who lives here is well-travelled and confident, but when they come home they wish to retire to an environment that permits private reflection and relaxed repose. It is a look for collectors of memorabilia, people who like to surround themselves with tokens of their travels and reflections of their personality, as seen in the many quirky touches that abound: globes, Indian busts, unique artworks (here from Timothy Oulton and Roche Bobois). It is unapologetically individual; patterned and playful yet also classic for comfort is king. References are global (Persian rugs from The Rug Company to antique lanterns redolent of a Turkish bazaar from Eichholtz). It is also old school, reassuringly anchored in quality and unpretentious, much like the generously deep-seated Eichholtz armchair and the linen?-upholstered Flamant sofa that inhabits the heart of this space. Sink back and relax for this is your personal, cosy corner of the world.
Bringing us in full stylistic circle is the quietly contemporary ode to modern we’ve called Tailored Scandi. Clean, bright, light and vivaciously coloured in a splendid yellow, it has an openness and innocence to it that’s reflected in the natural materials used like the classic oaks seen on furnitures from Zanotta and [brand? Side table from Yoo Home] juxtaposed against the slubby linens of the Giorgetti “Aton” sofa, a discreet touch of metallic bling courtesy of choice Tom Dixon accessories and more leather, but here rather than being weathered and worn as in RestorationChic, it’s polished and smooth or intricately worked as on Bethan Gray’s Brogue side table). The feel is warm and gentle; simple and straightforward. This is about solid icons of design (Fritz Hansen’s Egg chair to the Anglepoise standing lamp) which speak of an enduring and underlying sense of history overlaid with a youthful freshness which ensures the mood stays absolutely contemporary. Despite its apparent simplicity, this is actually one of the harder looks to pull off as it can so easily tend towards feeling cold and unwelcoming. The key is a liberal dose of colour and plenty of pattern and texture introduced through glorious fabrics like the Designers Guild and Colefax and Fowler prints used here on cushions. It is about the promise of comfort married to modernity; a visual conversation about optimism.
First published in Harrods Magazine April issue 2015