Green is the new black

Cathy Steel, a spokesperson for New York’s International Gift Fair, fills us in on the biggest trends in interior design this season: green and sustainable products, multicultural influences, and iconic classics updated with current styles.

Consumer demand for organic products has been rising constantly in everything from fashion to cars, so it’s no surprise that the interiors scene is increasingly dominated by eco-friendly items, while the main challenge remains to keep thing stylish.

“Smart designers understand the need for balance between style and environmental engagement,” Steel said in a trend report, saying that “the products shown at the summer NYIGF were hailed as eco driven, but not eco-dominated.”

And she continued: “Repurposed products abounded, as discarded, non-biodegradable items enjoyed an encore as something new, and still functional: old neck ties became clock hands, skis turned into coat trees.

“Plastic soldiers were melted down and turned into wax bowls, and old 45 records were crafted into coasters. Trash became treasure, with a whiff of whimsy.”

Another prevailing trend at the NYIGF was design inspired by the global cultural melting pot (already highlighted at the Maison & Objet fair in Paris in January).

“It’s become imperative for designers to understand and study intercultural design,” Steel wrote. “Because […] consumers have developed an appreciation and demand for products which introduce escapist notions into their spaces.

“They want eclectic mix-and-match options, unexpected materials and, most recently, rich color palettes of khakis, browns and deep reds… Looks which evoke China, India, Mexico, Morocco and Russia, to name a few.”

Finally, in tune with the impressions won at the imm Cologne that designs were often still influenced by the recession (even though the mood was already more optimistic), Steel confirmed that the economic crisis continues to have an impact on interiors.

She explained: “Established aesthetics comfort us during turbulent times, as do products and styles which have stood the test of time. Assurance can be found in a grandfather clock, a string of pearls or a Burberry plaid coat.”

However, she emphasised that designers were mixing things up, updating timeless classics with modern twists: “Updated variations mean the use of nontraditional colors and pattern sizes, and unexpected functionality.

“Roll-top desks in high-gloss black and toile wallpaper, but this time in the nursery, are just two examples of how timeless becomes today.”

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