What are the current key trends in furniture design?

With the Milan Furniture Fair just around the corner we ask experts what we should be looking out for this year.

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Sheridan Coakley, founder, SCP

“The decline of design art, or design as art, seems to have been replaced with a greater focus on craft and the fundamentals of making things for use.  A closer relationship between design and craft is logical, welcome and goes back to where design comes from. Design craft re-connects the designer with the materials used, and how and where something is made.”


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Katie Treggiden, editor, Fiera Magazine

“I have noticed a really interesting move towards embracing imperfection. The Japanese call it Wabi-sabi and have celebrated it for centuries. It seems that the West is just catching on. Camilla Bjerre’s new collection, launched at Northmodern, is inspired by imperfection. She says: ‘I have come to realise that maybe what’s perfect is the imperfection in life. As a designer I try to embrace lucky accidents – they make things so much more interesting.’ I am hoping to see more imperfection in Milan next week.”


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Luke Pearson, director, PearsonLloyd. Image by Mark Cocksedge

“I am always trying to distill what is happening ‘out there’ but identifying a trend seems a little fruitless, if not impossible, given global communication is on a second by second basis with digital media. However, I do see a preoccupation and interest with new processes of making rather than following any one stylistic whim or doctrine. It’s a kind of invention with construction rather than invention around function. In many ways it’s more relaxed and playful and this is a refreshing antidote to the commercial, although it does often ignore more practical questions. A result of the shear number of designers and dwindling companies willing to produce, or simply opportunity? Regardless, it represents a new business model albeit bespoke and small scale – a kind of digital craft.”


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Christopher Jenner, interior designer

“Trend-based design is the stuff those global brands do to ensure they meet their bottom line, yet today’s consumers are far too empowered to be dictated to – everyone has an opinion and an idea of what works for themselves. From the perspective of a designer there can be no place for trends. 
For design to be considered the product of innovation and enquiry it needs to come primarily from within. Trends are an ever-repeating loop of the same cycle – copper, colour, marble, brass, ceramic – they are there all the time, what’s essential is the matter of interpretation and sense of connection.”


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Sebastian Conran, chief executive, Sebastian Conran Associates

“As Joseph Wedgwood paradoxically observed: ‘Fashion is infinitely more significant than merit’. So one reason why we go to Milan is to absorb the zeitgeist and prevalent trends, however these days we see quite a bit on blogging websites such as Dezeen and DesignBoom. But we cannot really view the world through ‘Google Goggles’ – to get a proper perspective of such things, we need the visceral experience.  I just hope we will see something truly new and original this year; so out with plundering the world’s resources of marble and copper and in with intelligent technology and ‘Smart Homes’ perhaps?”


Credit for index image, SLV: Saverio Lombardi Vallauri.

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