Atrend does not just start at the turn of the calendar. It builds up slowly as an idea that captures people’s mind and fulfils a need over time. In fact, all the trend markers for 2010 can be found in the year that precedes this decade: a time of uncertainty after rampant luxury and bling; a year that saw jobs and homes drop by the wayside; a fatigue with things artificial and synthetic; a yearning for the real and natural, the slow and magical.
In this dichotomous decade, there is a tendency to ping-pong between staying real and the urge to escape it all through novelty and excitement. Based on the way people will want to live, given the changes in their lives, we outline three trend directions.
Everyday décor: Ice-cream sticks become a quirky expression of the creative rebel. Photograph courtesy: Freedom Tree Design
Influence: Gilt and glitter give way to stylistic independence. Space is like a neutral ground with endless possibilities. Sober aesthetics and a need for escape drive this influence.
Expression: Traditional luxury combined with raw modern edges makes for “unfinished” chic. The mood is contemplative, but contemporary; sophisticated, smoky and seductive. The secret space makes room for a peaceful inner world.
Palette: Deep colours—inky blues and intriguing violet—with atmospheric smoky hues. The dark mysterious colours are lightened by shimmering, bright whites and electric blues, promising quietude. The space is burnished with subdued metal finishes: copper, tarnished gold and antique silver. Textiles and materials offer subtle textural contrast, with a silken sheen against rough concrete, perfectly smooth porcelain against gilt patina.
Influence: Challenging times throw up rule breakers. And the creative rebel dares to be different and irreverent. Quirky individual expression comes home to rest in a “rad pad”.
Expression: The creative rebel’s response in tricky times is to create his own escapist shelter, mirroring exciting attitudes to life in a pulsating metropolis. It is a study in courageous contrasts, a fusion of old and new: Grandmother’s cross-stitch might cozy up to digital graphics. It is exciting, but nevertheless casual and relaxed. The style is pick-and-mix, intertwining genres and even decades.
Palette: Discordant colour contrasts and uncomfortable combinations of purple and orange, pale blue amid strong red, pretty pastels alongside flat industrial colours challenge conventional “good taste”. Colours are vibrant, zesty, optimistic—but also realistic, a saturated palette faded by sunlight. Lively crafts and global products sit alongside futuristic materials such as gel and super-synthetics.
Influence: When we go through tough times, things that matter most are people (especially family) and health. We like being protected, relating to just a few people. We are interested in their well-being, and show empathy. The urge is to re-establish those values and qualities that are enduring, true and solid.
Expression: In our desire for a better world, we build shelters for spaces that let us enjoy peaceful coexistence with the relaxing beauty of nature. Be it a roof garden, a balcony or the smallest getaway home, the idyll of the countryside is the ultimate refuge for a fatigued city dweller. More and more, people in the world’s cities are trying to integrate to enjoy the ordinary, to value all things natural. The effect is unfussy, uncomplicated and effortless.
Palette: There is a practical trend towards using new resources of non-precious woods such as tamarind and “up-cycling” previously used products. At the same time, we embrace new developments in natural fibres, looking at bamboo and banana bark fibres as textile alternatives. Familiar tones of naive vegetal colours, glowing with health and creating a sense of well-being, are intuitively textured. There are greens in earth and forest tones, watery washed blues, undyed neutrals and petal-soft pastels. Yarn with imperfections and irregularities; wood with wide natural streaks and unpredictable knots, are added to the palette. Texture is emphasized over colour saturation, with materials that form a modern harmony with nature: weathered wood, clear glass and stone stacks, plant fibre and leather, smooth concrete and plastering, brushed steel and iron ware.
Latika Khosla is the Asia-Pacific chair at Color Marketing Group, US, and the India director for the Pan Pacific Color Conference. She is design director of Freedom Tree Design, the founding organizer of Colors India, and undertakes colour consultancies and design assignments.
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