DESIGN REPORT: 2018 has been a somewhat chaotic year around the world. From the cacophony of Trump’s tweets to the brawl of Brexit, this year has been characterised by lacerating public dialogue and stunning inconsistencies.Our own home-grown, peculiarly Australian game of political musical chairs left many with a sense of ennui. It’s tiring at times, living in an era of information overload and public tantrums.

Is it any wonder that furniture designers are continually looking at how to be more authentic and streamlined in their processes?

For after all, art and design is more than merely aesthetic or utilitarian. At its most fundamental, it is a response to the world we live in. While sometimes it mirrors what’s happening on the global stage, more often than not it seeks to find an answer to it.

UK Trend Forecaster Victoria Redshaw says that “Clarity” will be an important macro trend for the coming year. This trend reflects a shift in attitude and a response to the current  atmosphere of intense content consumption and over saturation of information,

It also speaks to the uncertainty many of us feel when consuming the news. It seeks to reassure us and centre our true natures in a time when many things don’t feel real.

Both interior designers and furniture makers are creating environments which allow us to filter and block the outside world, to tune into ourselves and be honest. It’s not a minimalist direction per se…but it does simplify things down and distill them back to purity.

Warmth and softness are key, as are the origins of the materials being used. We’ve got three beautiful pieces of furniture which perfectly reflect the current mood.

Rich, Jewel-like Colour Palette

LaForma Aminy Dining Chair in Green

Furniture company LaForma have received rave reviews for their 2018 collections, which they exhibited both at the Salone Del Mobile in Milan and at the Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF) in Melbourne.

With beautiful pieces inspired by Barcelona Living, their collections are cosmopolitan and informed by a joyous approach to life. The very embodiment of of Spanish living, in fact!

Their 2018 Mahon range paired darker-toned furniture with a rich, jewel-like colour palette of dark blue and jade green. The materials are soft and nurturing, with velvets and soft leathers featuring heavily.

We adore this green ‘Aminy’ chair, which will add a dash of sensuality to any study or kitchen table.

Sustainable Furniture – Reclaimed Wood

Tuscan Spring Table, PGT-Reclaimed

Recycled wood has always been a part of the design world but in 2018 it has moved beyond the occasional statement piece to become a staple.

PGT-Reclaimed impressed at the AIFF in Melbourne this year with their collection of sustainable furniture that is made with 100% reclaimed wood, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The reclaimed wood used in their pieces began life as old pallets, shipping containers, buildings or shipwrecks. The latter adds a soupçon of romance to their collections, as does the imperfect beauty of the timber, which shows nail holes or markings.

It perfectly taps into another key trend for 2019, ‘Wabi Sabi’, or the Japanese concept of flawed beauty. It’s about embracing imperfections and featuring them, rather than hiding them under layers of varnish or paint.

With around thirty beautiful collections across bedding, dining, living and office, all of PGT-Reclaimed’s products are made by hand using old English carpentry techniques, then finished with a multi-step French polishing process that highlights the wood.

We love the coffee table pictured above, from their Tuscan Spring collection.

Startling Contrasts in Materials 

Handmade Lucite & WalnutTable, IG Furniture. Photo: E.P Grundner

We love the contrasting materials we’re seeing in pieces, ranging from an industrial-inspired mixture of anthracite and roughly-hewn wood, to unexpected materials such as tiles made out of recycled television sets. Anything goes.

This beautiful table takes the two very disparate materials of lucite and walnut and transforms them into a stunning feature piece, the richness of the walnut offset by the clear leg. It was designed and hand-crafted by IG Furniture, an American company that creates original, sustainable pieces.

We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings. Subscribe now to receive updates on the 2019 Australian International Furniture Fair, which will be co-located with Decor + Design at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, 18 – 21 July. Together they will feature over 350+ exhibitors, plus leading design thinkers and speakers from around the globe.