2017 Interior Design Trends and the Futurist Movement
2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year for interior design trends.
Traditionally directed by designers and manufacturers, we are now seeing consumers garner more authority and helping curate trends.
So while tracking the lifecycle of trends remains relevant, and there is certainly materials and colour directions to discuss, design trends are evolving to create products and services that are actually purposeful.
Forecasters are also predicting the end of the “retailer reign” with modern consumers helping drive product design. Products that are constructed with quality materials and have climate credentials while still being visually pleasing. It is no longer a disposable design market.
Interior design trends are also tipped to continue filtering across various sectors.
It is now prevalent to see interior design products and fashion runways demonstrate aesthetic alignments. Kitchen design is prompting culinary movements while an increasing human desire for daily greenery is finding nature-inspired prints and patterns throughout our homes.
Confirming this trend transition is Victoria Redshaw, founder and lead futurist of UK forecasting agency Scarlet Opus.
In our discussion, she states that “the whole concept of forecasters, retailers and journalists dictating what this season’s ‘must have’ is, is becoming moribund”.
Two years ago, Redshaw’s professional title change from “Trend Forecaster” to “Futurist” further supported this prediction.
But before we launch into a formal discussion on trend evolution, here is an exclusive report from Redshaw on what we can expect in interiors in 2017.
Recently, in Australia, minimalism has been heavily valued in interiors with Scandinavian design influences and an increased use of recycled materials. This has seen a colour palette of nature-inspired hues, bronze metals including copper and a return to masonry detail seen through marble and concrete materials.
Redshaw reports that this will continue to evolve: “We forecast a new aesthetic attitude for rusticity and a new direction for minimalism as well as the rethinking of our relationship with nature to embrace the natural process and unstructured design processes,” she said.
While Redshaw is saving her official colour forecast for her Melbourne talk she has revealed several key colours for next year including “soothing spice shades such as muted saffron, natural pigments like ochre and desert toned neutrals that are calming and meditative”.
The rise of digital has certainly been impactful particularly in creating brand awareness and prompting many consumers and digital influencers to take the reigns of the new tastemakers.
Forecasters are also predicting that smartphones will be our primary digital device and be used to control our indoor environment from lighting, heating, cooling operating sound systems and smart kitchens that feature interactive cooktops and appliances.
While the technology will be helpful and consumers continue to positively respond to the convenience digital can offer, Redshaw believes the trend will also be met with the desired balance for downtime.
“In 2017 we will see design trends emerge that are influenced by the dynamism of our shared technological future, and vibrant graphic pattern trends full of attitude,” she explained. “2017 will also be balanced-out by grounded, slow, low-tech design trends with a focus on wellbeing and stylish modesty.”
“These design styles will offer respite from a modern life that is in constant motion.”
Inspired by an environmental responsibility to our climate and a love for texture, Redshaw reveals that “material trends will take us in the direction of an exploration of controlled rusticity.”
“Although much of the weathered and distressed effects that have been in favour will continue to trend, designers are beginning to explore ways in which rawness can be amalgamated with sleek precision to form pleasing unions,’ she said.
“We are forecasting the welcome return to favour of dark wood tones after many years of blonde woods getting all the attention; a move away from Carrara marble towards warmer and darker tones of marble, silver, travertine and onyx, and a new appreciation of ordinary, everyday materials such as plywood, cork and OSB (orientated strand board).”
The Environmental Effect
Climate-inspired consumers continue to seek products that are ethical, and Redshaw says in a literal way ecological awareness will be translated.
“Certainly, we are forecasting that an abundance of lush foliage prints with untamed, entangled layouts will run wild in 2017, and an array of botanical greens will form the basis of several key styles,” she explained.
Furthermore, will be the rise of upcycling and breathing new life into old items.
“Repurposing is something we have been highlighting for many years in our trend reports because it helps to creatively adjust a throwaway mentality that persists in our society,” explained Redshaw. “Some of my favourite design pieces incorporate repurposed items, and I love that sharing these projects often inspires others to create similar work for their own use.
“Beyond repurposing, we are beginning to see the re-evaluation of manmade materials that, although not natural, have good eco credentials and address sustainability issues. In my trend seminar, I will also share details of several extraordinary products using waste materials and natural materials.”
There can be a general perception that trends are purely created as a monetary strategy for businesses but Redshaw reveals two key areas where consumer demand is prompting purposeful design, particularly in furniture.
Smaller living spaces, along with a design influx of open-space workplaces combined with digital is making us feel that we’re constantly connected and has seen consumers crave solitude.
“It is essential to acknowledge and address the need and desire for greater privacy in our homes and workplaces,” explained Redshaw. “Furniture plays a key role in providing a quiet, comfortable, cocooning places in which to have a digital detox, contemplate and enjoy a moment of silence.”
Modular & Mobile
A new wave of mobile living has prompted an increase in furniture that offers modular customisation and freedom.
“Furniture that has some form of flexibility designed into the potential layout formats help to answer consumer desire for adaptability and a greater degree of control over how they use the products they buy,” said Redshaw.
“We are involved in many different activities in a day and furniture can help to make our homes answer our changing needs. This means that modular qualities are important, and this also links to customisation – basically allowing the end consumer to be part of the design process after they have made their purchase.”
Redshaw refers to The Agave Credenza by Richard Greenacre as an example. The product won the “Dowel Jones Furniture of Concept Award of Excellence in Design” at the VIVID design competition last year.
“Finally experimentation with multi-purpose products is essential, even if it is as simple as a sofa with a high shelf fixed to the back,” added Redshaw.
THE TREND EVOLUTION
Redshaw’s generous interiors forecast is now met with the final question of “where to now for trends?”
The modern consumer is valuing purpose and longevity while becoming increasingly educated on quality and environmentally sound materials so Redshaw warns that it’s time for design manufacturers and retailers to up their trend game.
“…It is crucial to understand that trends should not be “created” by the industry simply in order to drive pseudo desire that makes consumers spend more and buy more and more “stuff” that they do not really need,” she said.
“Trend forecasting should, however, be used to predict what consumers will genuinely want, need and desire in the future because of changes in society, technology and a myriad of other influences that have an impact on how we want to live, and ultimately what products we want to surround ourselves with and interact with. This is the way around we must look at things to forecasting future design trends,” explained Redshaw.
She also adds that manufacturers and retailers need to create products and services that satisfy the needs of consumers. “They need to think more about how people live and what would make their lives more pleasurable and easier,” she said.
“It is a fascinating time because modern consumerism is based on the making and selling of more and more stuff. Now that consumers are saying “Enough!” it is a very challenging time for retailers.
“People are buying less often but buying better – basically investing in longevity. And as new technologies evolve and much greater levels of customisation becoming possible, the end consumer will become their own designer and even manufacturer and perhaps the control of the direction of fashion, design trends and retailing will be completely in their hands – which I believe it as it should be,” said Redshaw.
And now we enter the phase of the futurist, an invaluable role to tomorrow’s creators.
As mentioned earlier, Redshaw’s title change from Trend Forecaster to Futurist is a reflection of a new role in trend predictions.
According to Redshaw, her title change was “a carefully considered decision in anticipation of a time *during the reign of iGen/GenZ) when I predict the role of the Trend Forecaster in its current form will become redundant.”
She refers to the “trend forecasting” of colours, materials, patterns and what styles will be “in”.
“I feel it is crucial to pre-emptively adapt to the new world view this generation will create,” she said. “I predict that with their new attitudes, digital lifestyles, nomadic spirit, desire for experiences rather than physical ownership, ecological concerns, and perhaps even the emergence of a less consumerist mentality, will mean that the following of trends, and purchasing in-line with trends could end.”
“I believe a new role will emerge and it is with my eye on the future of society that I changed my job title, and as a team we have altered the depth and breadth of the intelligence we provide at Scarlet Opus,” Redshaw concluded.
Victoria Redshaw will be in Melbourne for Décor + Design, and you purchase tickets to her interiors seminar on Thursday 21st July here. Be sure to also visit the Trend Hub and sign up for a Trend Tour hosted by Scarlet Opus as Victoria and her colleauge Phil Pond reveal their product picks from the show floor.
Do let me know if you go along and I will see you there, Angela.