The world is awake: Anna Agapova tells us about the latest from the Interior exhibitions Maison Object and Deco Off
Creative Director of O&A Design Anna Agapova tells about the latest from the Interior exhibitions Maison Object and Deco Off. These exhibitions traditionally open the design season in January and set the main themes for design and décor in the year ahead.
When thinking what to call this article, I deliberately avoided the word “trends” which is used by everyone nowadays.
What are trends anyway? If you think about this definition then it is clear that a trend is nothing else but a visible of if cultural and technological changes which affect our consumer preferences.
The world is changing and so are our views and spiritual and material values. A very good example of how design reacts to changes in society is the bottle manufactured from oceanic waste presented by Coca-Cola shortly after The United Nations speech by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. To me this speech was one of the most significant events of 2019. Aged 11 Greta became the leader “Fridays for Future” movement, school children protesting in support of the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change. Greta today is a symbol of environmental activism and the first child to be nominated for a Nobel prize. Following her passionate speech Greta filed a petition to the Court of Human Rights about five countries — Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Germany and France — whose lack of involvement in the environmental crisis “breaches children’s rights”.
Thus recycling, ecological materials and “second life” are without questions the latest trends in the best sense of the word. They actively entered our everyday life and even luxury brands are forced to play by the new rules dictated by the current situation in order to stay afloat.
So what are the trends of 2020? Here are some of my insights and observations.
1. Organic aesthetics
Apart from eco-certificates and use of recycled materials, brands actively promote organic aesthetics which can be expressed in floral motifs both in interiors and finishing materials.
The capsule collection “Botanica e la Notte”, Promemoria. The name is inspired by the drawings in botanic museums; small and perfectly elliptical leaves like the Ficus, large fringed leaves like from the banana tree, fan shaped leaves typical of the Ginkgo.
FLORA by Chiara Andreatti for BottegaNove is Nature seen in macro. It is a stylised nature, rich in meanings. Details of leaves, veins and hues are reinterpreted, drawn and impressed into the material in order to breathe new life into a handmade coating with no equivalent anywhere else.
2. Imperfection and asymmetry
To stress the link with nature, designers expertly work on shapes aiming to achieve a prototype. Often these items are inspired by cliffs shaped by the sea, seaside boulders and rocks. This style of furniture seamlessly blends into modern spaces. It creates an accent in a neutral interior and harmoniously completes the overall image in more saturated surroundings.
The inspiration behind the sculptural OCTANTIS, O&A London side table came from nature, specifically the curves of a boulder.
3. Minerals, earth and crystals
Designers turn to abstract and unique patterns of nature which can be found in abundance in minerals, crystals and the earth itself, with all its hidden gems.
Lalique introduced a series of crystal shaped sculptures Rockstone 40, which was inspired by the Aurora Borealis. Mystical and spiritual powers attributed to crystals are empowered by the strong connection with the force of nature and its unusual activity.
Sandra Jordan, an American textile designer, called her collection Tierra, which is Spanish for Earth. Sandra dedicated this collection to her homeland, Peru, and its virginal beauty. The designer expertly implemented Peruvian landscapes into Jacquard, weaving in the most versatile colour pallet; from earthy shades mixed with golden tones to deep tropical colours and shades of blue that transport us to the Amazon forest and Peruvian night sky.
Ginger Brown presented Apodis, Chest of drawers made from natural specular stone.
4. Soft Minimalism
Practically all soft furniture strives to achieve streamlined shapes. Upholstery is mostly monochrome with light grey, dusty and mint being the most popular colours. Preferred finishing materials are velour and velvet which give this furniture a special tactile allure.
Paolo Castelli, Hubert de Malherbe Thierry Lemaire presented GREENKISS: the first eco-design collection 100% Made in Italy. 22 eco-responsible products, which not only express the importance of the functional and aesthetic aspect of the furnishings, but also underline the value and charm, which show how an ethical design must become the engine of a renewed positive and empathetic sense towards the environment “resource”.
5. Aesthetics of manual labour
Overall manual labour aesthetics are being widely promoted and this is closely connected to the tendency towards customisation. Nearly all brands offer shapes which can be customised using various materials and size and pattern variations. Therefore, designers invite the consumer to take part in creating an object. And of course, these objects then become very valuable to customers.
6. Design with a hint of nostalgia – a must have
Many brands presented renewed models of signature designer objects. For example, to celebrate its 160 years Ligne Roset presented a design consisting from module parts, which was developed with Bernard Govin in 1966.
As contrast between ultramodern and vintage objects gains popularity many designers seek inspiration in archives. Old prints and patterns find new interpretation. After four years of hard work British textile designer Berni De Le Cuona presented a new and amazing collection inspired by Queen Victoria’s drawing rooms.
8. Lemonade Shades
All the trendy colours arrive to the decorators following fashion shows. And because in 2019 podiums were dominated by all shades of gold, turmeric and mango mojito, these colours are now favouriting when it comes to object design. This trend is specifically noticeable in delicate shades of gold which designers chose for their objects.
Geometry of softness
Of course, many brands pay special attention to creators who do not strive to release new collections but spend years working and improving one item.
One of those is a French designer, Mathieu Lehanneur. In the summer of 2019 at the Design Miami exhibition he revealed his Inverted Gravity collection. Challenging, gravity, the designer placed marble blocks on top of glass vases. In Paris he told his colleagues about the inspiration and also about the “geometry of softness” which defines his new collection and his creative signature in general. I think that we will be able to find something similar in Milan in April.
Look forward to Milan Design Week in April 2020!
Text: Anna Agapova, Creative Director O&A Design