A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Redshaw, MD and Lead Trend Forecaster at Scarlet Opus all about the trends that she predicts will be influencing interior design this year and into 2012. The interview was published today in Inside, the monthly newsletter produced by WAN Interiors.
Interior trends for 2011 and 2012
As a new year kicks off, those working with interiors are looking ahead trying to discern the direction that the interior design scene will be taking and which styles, materials and colours will be most appealing to consumers in the coming months. For most of us, predicting the next major design trend is no easy task and working out what exactly will be driving the next season’s trends requires a great deal of detailed research and observation. And that’s where the professional trend forecasters come in.
Victoria Redshaw is the M.D. of Scarlet Opus, a company dedicated to providing trend forecasting, interior and design services, and business development services to the interiors sector. Together with her team, Redshaw conducts comprehensive research on a broad spectrum of global social issues, planned future events and the work of contemporary designers and brings this information together for analysis and translation in order to reliably predict the future design trends for interiors.
According to Redshaw, socio-economic factors have a huge influence on the design trends for interiors. “The mood in society plays an integral role in setting the tone of design trends,” she explains, citing the recession as a prime example.
“Because of the instability, many consumers wanted their homes to act as a calm sanctuary from the chaos of the outside world. There was an increased desire for familiar, stable colours that related to nature and consumers wanted room schemes that felt safe, cocooning and cosy. The nesting instinct kicked in as people couldn’t afford to go out as much and of course there has been a push towards a ‘make do and mend’ mentality and a renewed interest in craft and needlework skills and generally making things ourselves, which has driven a folk aesthetic.”
But what evolutions can we expect to see moving into 2011 and 2012? “Looking forward, interior trends are concerned with stripping everything back and loving what is left,” says Redshaw. “Consumers are increasingly aiming towards more flexible lifestyles as we seek to shed the weight of the ‘stuff’ that ties us down. The mindset of accumulating myriad possessions is changing and the concept of having fewer but more fabulous possessions becomes the new mantra for many. This is about learning lessons and living within our means post-financial crisis.”
A new minimalism
Explaining that the desired pace of change has slowed, Redshaw says that the lust for constant and rapid newness is now being replaced by a more meaningful love of the special, the unusual, the rare, the cleverly and considerately designed, and the long-lasting. She also identifies a progression of this paring-down trend to what she refers to as a new minimalism.
“We call this trend ‘Simply Flawless’. It is concerned with the portrayal of purity and it is beautifully bare. It explores the space and serenity of a streamlined lifestyle: smooth, compact, uncluttered, nude and quiet. Shapes are feminine, curvaceous, and sensual in a sophisticated colour palette consisting of cosmetic tones used in combination with minimal white and greys,” says Redshaw.
“We will also see an exploration of hand-crafted techniques resulting in products that display extreme rawness. Our ‘Hunter Gatherer’ trend comes under this banner,” she says, explaining that this trend communicates authenticity and simplicity at a time of mistrust. “Designers will revisit and reinvent old crafts and skills to present new levels of rawness as they celebrate the beauty of natural materials.”
Running alongside this trend for simplicity, pared-down beauty and rawness, however, Redshaw identifies a number of other trends that reflect the current mood of society. Her first forecast is for trends that are eccentric with a sense of humour and an uplifting vibe. “Our forecast ‘Electro-Pop’ trend and ‘The Feel Good Factor’ trend have a bold, daring and confident mood. Undulating and liquid forms emerge in the work of interior and product designers as well as architects. The trend is surreal and playful and is the perfect antidote to the recession…bright, wildly expressive and full of surprises,” she says.
Characteristic of this trend, according to Redshaw, is the comic book hero and cartoon character aesthetic that is apparent in the colour mix and the design qualities for furniture, lighting, upholstery, rugs and ceramics. “The bright ‘popped-out’ colour palette abandons the conventions of colour theory to create intense clashes of vibrant sunset shades alongside fluorescent brights, bold, cooling blue greens, Schiaparelli pink and an edgy black that gives the trend a punchy comic book look,” she explains. “High-tech materials in super glossy finishes encourage us to buy into a shiny, happy future that will be Pop-Plastic fantastic.”
Happy Ever After
A further trend that Redshaw is predicting plays on the needs of consumers to find a temporary escape from everyday life and their need for fascinating and fantastical experiences. This is achieved through products that create opportunities for playful interaction, discovery, delight, intrigue and surprise, as well as interior design experiences that have almost magical qualities and a fairytale subtext, she says.
“We have forecast a trend we call ‘Dreamscape Glamour’. This trend is concerned with the search for a new role for luxury to fit into – a role that allows it to be acceptable having now turned our backs on bling. It is magical rather than ostentatious, appealing to our emotions not our egos. Products and room schemes are therefore quietly intriguing and beguiling. They shimmer and glisten and attract our attention rather than demand our attention.”
And finally, amongst the pared-down trends, upbeat trends and fairytale inspired trends set to dominate 2011 and 2012 lurks a darker, distorted trend, which embodies our fears and forbidden fantasies, says Redshaw. “This trend’s main design traits also have connections with the work of Salvador Dali whose surreal paintings opened a window onto a melting, exaggerated, distorted world.”
With three films exploring Dali’s life set to be released in 2011, Redshaw says that surrealist qualities will begin to be embodied in the work of furniture designers along with a creative exploration of destructive qualities and apocalyptic themes. “Looking ahead, 2012 is the most widely predicted apocalyptic date by a range of religious movements, groups, prophets and cultures,” she says.
“These Doomsday predictions, coupled with 2010’s volcanic eruption, earthquakes and floods, introduce a fear factor to designer’s work. Plus current and future films such as Resident Evil, the Twilight Saga, Underworld, Gaiking and Sucker Punch help to reinforce a fascination with the dark, sinister world of vampires and leather-clad anti-heroines that is set to influence both ladies and men’s fashion…and ultimately interiors.”