December 28, 2015

Design Forecast: 10 Trends to Watch for in 2016

As we close the door on 2015, lets take a look at what the design industry experts are saying about the coming year. As modern life gets busier and more pressured, our homes have become our sanctuaries. Centered around simplicity, serenity and seamlessness, the 2016 interior reflects our need to switch off and detox. Warm but calming colors are complimented by natural textures and soft shapes while furniture is becoming ever more tailored and intuitive, both at home and in the office.

Rose Quartz and Serenity

Aurora wallpaper by Calico Studios.

Global color authority Pantone surprised the design community by naming not one but two colors for the 2016 edition of its Color of the Year forecast. The pastel pink Rose Quartz and powder blue Serenity may seem like a sugary sweet selection but according to Pantone, the pairing is in fact part of a more unilateral approach to color—a commentary on the current societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity.

Chiming with Pantone’s prediction, British wallpaper brand Graham & Brown’s 2016 forecast was full of dusty pinks and pale blues enlivened with warm metallic accents. Demonstrating how these contrasting shades can be united within a single design, Calico Studios prove that they were way ahead of the curve when they launched their Aurora line of wallpapers last year. Inspired by ombre skies, the 16 gradient designs were created by dying organic linen with ultramarine and indigo dyes.

Design Detox

“Comfort Zone” by Valspar.

Offering a complete color palette cleanse, some of the major wallpaper and paint brands are moving towards quiet and calming hues for 2016. New York-based hospitality designer and entrepreneur Stacy Garcia tells us ‘the growing emphasis on this need to always be connected has created a movement to find quiet simplicity amongst the noise.’

Signaling a move away from cold greys to warm stone hues in 2016, Sherwin-Williams has announced Alabaster (SW 7008), a hue symbolic of new beginnings, as its 2016 Color of the Year. Also wiping the slate clean is paint brand Benjamin Moore, who has selected Simply White OC-117 shade as its 2016 Color of the Year while Valspar paint says that its restorative 2016 color palette ‘Comfort Zone’ is an antidote to a ‘fast-paced lifestyle’ and will ‘balance the mind, body and spirit.’

Warm Metals

Arik Levy’s Bowl collection for Inbani.

Particularly effective in the bathroom and kitchen space, rose gold, brass, copper and gold will continue to dominate in 2016 according to London-based interior designer Gemma Gordon-Duff of Gordon–Duff & Linton who suggests pairing them with raw, natural materials such as marble and wood. “Good quality materials like this are a great investment because they will never go out of style,” she advises.

Made of a copper and gold alloy mixture, the 18-carat patina of Dornbracht’s non-corrosive electroplated surface Cyprum is the first new finish to be launched by Dornbracht since 2009. Patricia Urquiola’s two-part Cuna bath for Agape features a thermoformed solid surface tub supported by a tubular copper frame. Arik Levy’s Bowl collection for Spanish bathroom brand Inbani mixes white ceramic with copper and marble details.

Rough Luxe

John Whitmarsh’s new cement tile collections for Clé.

“Instant aging of materials and adding texture and depth to a space always helps add to the experience,” says Jon Sherman Founder & Creative Director of Brooklyn-based wallpaper company Flavor Paper, who predicts that papers that mimic industrial finishes will be big news in 2016.

“Being able to add some grime or roughness to a very sterile environment adds an unexpected touch and intrigues the senses,” says Sherman of Flavor Paper’s textural designs, Teardrop Wall, Charred Cedar and Galapagos Wall, which bring roughness into the interior but without the cost, weight and problematic depth. Similarly Piet Hein Eek’s latest tromp l’oeil effect papers for manufacturer NLXL resemble architectural materials such as painted bricks and salvaged wood. Sculptor John Whitmarsh’s new cement tile collections for Clé are made by taking gypsum cement castings from reclaimed materials such as pallets, roadside guardrail posts, and discarded metals

Customized Interior

Custom furniture by Tylko.

2015 saw a slew of online furniture brands launch onto the market offering their customers the ability to customize and order furniture online to their own unique specifications. The trend looks set to continue into 2016 as these new online companies establish themselves and reach a wider audience.

Jason Goldberg’s new flat-pack furniture brand Hem offers a slick set of customization tools on its website that allow customers to pick fabrics, sizes and configurations to suit their individual space. With a big focus on the development of complex algorithms and 3D software, new Poland-based furniture brand Tylko allows customers to not only customize colors and finishes but to also create furniture with its own unique shape and form. Launched this year at NeoCon, ShopFloor makes use of generative algorithms and 3D software to facilitate streamlined production of customized furniture designs including wall coverings, perforated metal panels and a snaking aluminum bench by Jonathan Olivares.

Retro Tech

Serif TV by Samsung.

Technology is softening its edges and moving away from the impersonal, hard lined approach of the past. Like the early domestic technology of the 1950s and 60s, the latest devices are part of the furniture.

Samsung’s Serif TV is bringing back the mid twentieth century concept of the stylized TV. With its I-shaped profile and a magnetic fabric panel at the rear that conceals messy wires and plugs, Serif is challenging the perception of what a flatscreen TV should look like. Packaged in a soft-edged, stitched leather carry case that blends 1960s styling with cutting edge technology, Michael Young’s new portable Bluetooth speaker for Italian brand Brionvega is inspired by one of the Italian brand’s earliest products, the TS 207 portable radio designed by Rodolfo Bonetto. Recognizing a gap in the market for finely crafted audio equipment, New York-based Symbol handcraft modern audio HIFI consoles and vinyl LP storage cabinets in the tradition of fine furniture.

Tailored Materiality

Mid-Century, part of West Elm’s new office division.

“Finish application has always been an important element of workplace design,” says Steve Delfino, vice president of corporate marketing and product management at Teknion, who believes that 2016 will see designers using color and texture to create a more varied, inspiring and personalized work environment. “We’re seeing an increased emphasis on varied materiality throughout the workplace to create environments that influence wellness and productivity,” he says.

Teknion’s upStage™ offers an assortment of material options, including textiles and wood veneer, translucent and back-painted glass, perforated metal and a range of metal and laminate finishes. “We’ve taken everyday materials and used them in unexpected ways that draw reference from residential design cues,” says Teknion. The Alumni chair by Amsterdam-based designer Jesse Visser and Geke Lensink of Dutch manufacturer eQ+ can blend into the home or office thanks to its various base options and coatings that include nickel, gold, black, black brass or white as well as a wide selection of Kvadrat fabric and leather upholstery options. Launched earlier this year at NeoCon, the 75+ pieces in West Elm’s new office division are designed to make the office feel less ‘office-like’ with finish options that run the gamut of style, from steel and white laminate to walnut veneer and antiqued bronze

Seamless Functionalities

Le Lit Nationa’s Origami Bed by Elise Fouin.

Seasoned retail and trade show editor Heloisa Righetto of trend forecasting and analysis service WGSN Lifestyle predicts a move towards furniture that facilitates numerous different activities. “Although multifunctional furniture is not a new concept, these added functions are becoming more intuitive, more fluid and less about novelty.”

Made up of modular units, including tables, poufs, cabinets and sofas in various fabrics, Werner Aisslinger’s ‘Bikini Island’ sofa system for Moroso can be customized to integrate as many functions as needed. “Life in the living room has changed quite a lot recently,” explains Aisslinger. “Families and their kids are chilling with different activities—reading, downloading files, writing emails, gaming, chatting with friends, watching movies on a pad, relaxing, talking, thinking or meditating.” Induction-charging stations are gradually being integrated into furniture and lighting as standard. Earlier this year Ikea introduced a series of lamps, bedside tables and desks that are able to wirelessly charge any portable electronic devices that are placed on top of them. The headboard of Le Lit National’s Origami bed by Elise Fouin is covered in decorative pockets that double as storage while the reverse serves as a desk.


Chouchin pendant lamps for Foscarini.

1970s-inspired furnishings are set to make a comeback in 2016 according to New York-based hospitality designer and entrepreneur Stacy Garcia. “The relaxed, free-spirited nature of that era has been attractive to the fashion industry and has quickly moved towards interiors as well. Many design elements of the 70s were bold, raw and globally-fueled, as a response to the changing social and political environment of that time.”

Stacy Garcia’s Calabasas furniture collection for D’Style takes its design cues from the wanderlust of the global traveler and the boldness of the 1970’s nonconformist. Musician Lenny Kravitz turned his hand to furniture design in 2015 when he paired with CB2 to launch his debut line of furniture, lighting and accessories. Inspired by 1970s New York club culture, the 20-piece collection features polished metals, bold geometric patterns, walnut and sheepskin. Ionna Vautrin’s Chouchin pendant lamps for Foscarini evoke the 1970s with their lantern shapes and avocado green, grey and orange colorways.

Agile Planning

QuickStand by Humanscale.

The flexible office trend has dominated the contract furniture industry in recent years and in 2016 Steve Delfino, vice president of corporate marketing and product management at Teknion, expects the theme to evolve. “There is an increased expectation for flexibility and adaptability in the workplace,” he says. “Now clients are requesting products that can adjust to an ever-changing work landscape.”

Catering to offices of anything between two and two hundred, Poppin’s Series A Desk System has an easy, tool-free construction that lets growing offices quickly and effortlessly create new different desk configurations. hiSpace is an expanding height-adjustable bench design from Teknion that can create benching environments for two to sixteen users. Named as the best office accessory of the decade at our very own Interior Design 2015 Best of Year Awards, the QuickStand by Humanscale is a height-adjustable workstation that attaches to the back of any work surface to transform it into a height adjustable desk.

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