Furniture has moved away from traditional wood based designs to incorporate innovative materials, textures and colours.
India has always been known for its craftsmanship, especially when it came to wood based products like furniture. While Indian craftsmanship in teak, sandalwood and mahogany is still highly prized in the international and domestic markets, there has been much attention given to newer materials and textures.
Traditional designs in both home and office furniture have given way to those which place more emphasis on functionalities of current work and home environments.
The biggest change is obviously the growth of the customised furniture market, particularly online. India has had its own form of customisation through local carpenters, however this is the first time that branded, high quality, and customised furniture is available to a large number of people.
The previous year saw a large number of online furniture brands aggressively marketing their services and this trend looks to grow this year.
There is a move towards furniture that facilitates numerous different activities. Although multi-functional furniture is not a new concept, these added functions are becoming more intuitive, more fluid and less about novelty. This is due to changes in life style – the living room has become a space for relaxing and working, apart from entertaining guests. The rise of mobile devices is also affecting the design of furniture.
Induction-charging stations are gradually being integrated into furniture and lighting as standard. 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.
Flexible Office Furniture
The trend for more flexible and functional offices with multifunctional spaces for meetings, group projects and quiet work has dominated the contract furniture industry in recent years. Thus there is an increased expectation for flexibility and adaptability in the workplace.
A notable type of furniture which is catching on is the standing desk, which allows for better space utilisation and flexibility in working style. Steelcase’s Ology Height Adjustable Desks has an integrated rail that supports space division, lighting, power and work tools, which can all be customised to meet the specific needs and workstyles of the user. An optional soft edge profile helps to significantly reduce unhealthy pressure on forearms, and reduce feelings of shoulder and neck fatigue.
The Outdoors Inside
In terms of materials and styles, the use of outdoor fabrics in indoor environments has been growing. This is particularly because outdoors fabrics have high durability which makes them ideal for high-traffic dining room and living room furniture.
Along with outdoor fabrics, furniture fabrics have brought the outdoors itself into the living room. This can be seen through the use of horticulture inspired fabrics and combining natural materials like wood, stone, cork, metals (in particular brass and copper). This focus on materiality is accompanied by simplicity of form in the way each material will be mixed together. Nature can also been seen in the turn towards sustainable materials for furniture construction such as bamboo, reclaimed wood and recycled materials.
In terms of colours, the earthy trend can be seen in a move towards richer, warmer, darker shades. Hermann Miller’s Eames Walnut Stools is a good example of this trend, while being a classic furniture piece. Made of solid walnut, these stools can be used anywhere, alone or in groups, and are very versatile.
Soft Colours and Prints
Another colour trend is pairing pastel colours like dusty pink with neutral tones such as marble and timber, or with metallics such as copper.
The move to pastel colours is in keeping with Pantone’s Colours of the year – Quartz Pink and Serenity light blue. Many furniture and accessories could be sporting these colours, teamed with metallics this year.
Combining the natural and lighter colour trend is the use of large floral prints and designs, reminiscent of old fashioned, ‘granny’ prints.
This is also seen as a turn towards nostalgia within the design industry seen in the return to traditional prints and materials. This seems as an impulse to counter the pervasiveness of technology in the home.
By Alyssa Lobo