Friday, January 2, 2015

The top interior design trends for 2015

Brighter, livelier shades suit Hong Kong's climate.

Move over, radiant orchid: marsala is here. Pantone, inventors of the influential proprietary colour system used in printing and fabric design, keeps the fashion and interiors world in suspense all year before its December announcement of the next colour trend. For 2015, it's an earthy red wine described like the beverage itself: "impactful, full-bodied and elegant".

When used for interiors, Pantone says, marsala can be a unifying element that is an "ideal choice" for rugs and upholstered living room furniture. Its earthiness is a "natural fit" for the kitchen and dining room (in dinnerware, small appliances and linen), and "particularly strong" in the bedroom, in striping and floral patterns on bedding.

But it's undeniably dark and heavy: will it work in Hong Kong? John McLennan, managing director of Indigo Living, thinks not. Marsala "would struggle" as a spring colour in Hong Kong, and is more suited to a cooler winter season, he says.

"Climate and geographical factors dictate the light intensity, and with that the type of colours that work better in each location," McLennan says.

"Hong Kong is a subtropical city, so it tends to have a much stronger light than you would get in northern Europe. The sun can be strong most of the year here, with the spring rains, plants burst back to life and paint the landscape in amazing greens."

Even though he deems marsala too heavy for our city, others on Pantone's top 10 picks - which include aquamarine, scuba blue, lucite green and classic blue - are perfect. Says McLennan: "These brighter, more lively colours are more suited to our climate and can bring an interior to life."

Lianna Man, Lane Crawford's vice-president of womenswear, home and jewellery, predicts a continuation of established interiors trends such as geometrics and warm metals.

"These will sit alongside more conceptual ideas that take into consideration day-to-day themes, such as privacy and surveillance, and the interactive home," she says.

Man also notes a "distinct move towards softness", with rounded forms, subtle colours and malleable textures. There will also be an emphasis on sharing and communication, trends that reflect both today's global connectedness.

"Expect to see playful and composed shapes, combining different components, colours, materials or textures to create a single piece," says Man.

Playful elements include structures coiled into organic shapes, creating a sense of movement, and grid structures made of metal or wood which appear in different proportions.

Ribbed upholstery gives plain textiles visual interest and some texture, and basic geometrical shapes such as circles, squares and rectangles are once again in the spotlight, Man adds.

As for metals, the emphasis is on brass, along with mixes of silver, gold and copper tones with polished or brushed surfaces.

Designer Tom Dixon, the maestro of metals, employs this in his new Club range, a moody collection of plush arm chairs, tables, floor lamps and ceiling pendants inspired, the designer suggests, by "a misspent youth spent in the London warehouse club scene".

Ikea designer Ben Ng predicts that more attention will be placed on the bedroom and bathroom this year. "People used to believe that as the living room was the most visited place in the home, so they preferred to invest more on the designs and furnishings in this area," he says.

"But the bedroom and bathroom are two of the most important places where we begin and end the day, and spend a good amount of time on routine activities. We believe that creating a soothing space where one can embrace and energise oneself for every beautiful day will be a popular trend for 2015," Ng says.

In the bedroom, a modern Scandinavian look will prevail, Ng says, as its light and natural colour tones and materials convey a cosy environment. To create a holistic feel, he recommends sticking with a single palette for furniture, carpet, curtains, and bedding.

He'd opt for a mix of colour and texture for the bathroom. "Small changes such as a new shower curtain, towels, and accessories can give a fresh look to the bathroom without the need to alter large, fixed fittings," he says.

With Hong Kong flat sizes shrinking, keeping the interiors simple has become a priority. "Multipurpose furniture made for smaller living spaces, as well as flexible solutions that can fit a wide range of household dynamics, will be the key elements to achieving the perfect look and feel," Ng says. Attention to detail is an "essential focus".

On the global interiors scene, Lisa White, creative director of WGSN-Homebuildlife, an online trend forecasting service for interiors and industrial design, has identified several key themes. Concurring with Lane Crawford's view, she predicts that warm metals will remain in the limelight.

"Brass, copper, and bronze will increasingly be warming up our interiors," says White, explaining that inexpensive metals bring lustre. But as the economy brightens, she's seeing the return of gold, with either rose gold or a warm yellow 24-carat look shining through. "Metals are increasingly being mixed together in a collection, with different shades enhancing one another," she says.

Another theme is wood and wood grain. This warm material will be increasingly prevalent, in richer, deeper tones, White says. "The pale Scandinavian woods have been taking a break, as the Scandinavians are now painting their pines in beautiful matt colours," says White.

"Scoring and texturing of wood will also be key. Wood grain patterns and textures will appear in other materials such as towelling, ceramics and carpets. Related products such as wicker and bamboo will also gain in popularity."

"Theatrical storage" is another of White's trend tips. Storage is no longer a practical way to hide things, but a dramatic way to showcase them, she says. "The curiosity cabinet has made a comeback. Boxes are stacked on top of each other to make storage pedestals, and new forms of storage are about framing images and objects together.

"These storage solutions will allow people to curate and style their objects in creative new ways that can constantly evolve," White says.

Finally, 3D printing will creep into our interiors this year, according to White. Now that "decent" 3D printers are sold for under US$500, consumers and businesses will be able to personalise their designs, create working prototypes, and reprint spare parts for repairs, she says.

"Kids can print their own dollhouse furniture, chefs can print incredible sugar and chocolate structures, and printing textiles and ceramics are not far behind," White says.

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