Furniture and interior design trends are always reflective of what is happening both within us and in the world around us. We live in an age which is incessant, where divisive information is the norm. Creating a safe space where one can both retreat and replenish is essential.

 ‘The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again.’  Justin Trudeau

Is it any wonder that the world of furniture design is looking towards pieces which operate as ‘blockers’, or balms against the continual wrench of change?

From ultra-cosy bedrooms to multi-functional chairs with an almost womb-like quality, here are some stylish trends which also help form a buffer against the outside world…

Multi-Functional Furniture

There’s a firm trend towards multi-functional pieces which create comfort but de-clutter at the same time. It’s not minimalism per se; more a ‘tidying’ up in the style of Marie Kondo.

We love this leather and sheepskin chair from Vivian Johnson, which also cleverly serves as a drinks table.

Chair: Vivian Johnson. Image: Elle Decor

Ultra-Comfortable Loungers

For a while, furniture almost swung towards the punitive, i.e. hard benches and chairs which were better suited to recalcitrant students outside the headmaster’s office than a living room. Now, people are looking for lush materials and a squishy sense of satisfaction to sink into.

German furniture giant Himolla is renowned for their state-of-the-art yet functional sofas and armchairs, made from the finest leather.

Established in 1948, the name Himolla comes from the German terms himmlisch, mollig and angenehm, which translates as heavenly, cosy and pleasant.

Palena recliner chair and stool. Image: Himolla

Himolla exhibited at the Australian International Furniture Fair in July 2019 and showcased some of their gorgeous new collections. We’d love to drop into this Palena reclining chair and footstool at the end of the day. We’re digging its retro colour palette too.

Curved Furniture

We’re seeing a resurgence of 1960’s and 70’s-inspired curved furniture. It has been popping up everywhere, reflecting our current need to be nurtured.

The Up5 armchair & Up6 ottoman by Gaetano Pesce. Image: Dezeen

A famous curved design from the ’60’s – another time of political turbulence – is enjoying renewed relevance: the Up Series by Gaetano Pesce.
First designed in 1969, the Up5 armchair is the collection’s most famous, and represents a female figure tied to the ball-shaped Up6 ottoman, “symbolising the shackles that keep women subjugated.”

The design has seen several iterations and is currently available from B&B Italia, and in Australia from Space.

The photo above shows a Gaetano Pesce’s ‘Up Series 2000’ chair incorporated into an Australian penthouse apartment designed by architect Adam Haddow of SJB, with interiors by BKH. Photograph: Felix Forest. From Belle October 2017.

However, the design enjoyed some infamy at the 2019 Milan International Furniture Fair. In collaboration with Gaetano Pesce, B&B Italia staged a huge installation for the duration of design week, called Maestà Sofferente – Suffering Majesty. The flesh-coloured, eight-metre high version of the Up5 armchair and Up6 footstool were installed in Piazza del Duomo in the centre of Milan.

‘Suffering Majesty’ at Milan 2019. Image: Dezeen

Pierced by arrows and flanked by the heads of wild animals, and with the ottoman attached by a chain, it was a deliberate thought piece on the subjugation of women. Feminist group Non Una di Meno saw it differently and staged a demonstration. Artist Cristina Donati Meyer threw red varnish on the seat of the chair in protest at a woman being reduced to a piece of furniture.

Pesce defended his design and that the chair is meant to make people think. Whatever your opinion, it is a seminal piece of Italian design which has had a huge influence on curved furniture.

Bedroom Retreats

Moving from international controversies to a room closer to home – the bedroom.  We’ve seen the concept of bathrooms as home spas gain traction over the last couple of years, and that continues with more focus on creating bedrooms which are lush and plush.

From luxe headboards to curved bedroom reading chairs and essential oils, the bedroom is once again moving beyond a functional sleeping space and becoming a serious place to retreat, restore and feel safe.

Adding greenery is essential. If you or your client aren’t natural green thumbs, perhaps add one of the beauties from Abigail Ahern’s faux greenery collection.

Mistletoe Cactus from Abigail Ahern. Image:

If all else fails, turn off your phone and curl up beneath an Ethan Blanket from L&M Home.

Ethan Blanket from L&M Home.

Exhibitors at the 2019 Decor + Design and Australian International Furniture Fair, L&M Home have a range of beautiful bedroom linens and throws which will turn any bedroom into a superbly padded fortress. This throw is 100% cotton, knitted and drapes beautifully.

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