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Alexa Boschini

Looking Ahead

February 11, 2013

I've been to four markets since I joined the Home Accents Today staff back in May, and at each one I've been in continuous awe at the time, effort and artistry that go into each one. Before covering a market we sift through hundreds of images of new products, but it doesn't compare to seeing the details of a piece in person, feeling the materials and taking in the artfully-arranged displays of product lines.

But what impresses me most of all is when I talk to vendors at market, it's clear the gears in their heads never stop turning. Even as they celebrate a new product launch or a particularly successful day of sales, they're constantly thinking about what's next - the next design, the next collection, the next show.

At the winter Las Vegas Market, I attended a seminar presented by Greg Dunlop, global commercial director of WGSN-Homebuildlife, about macro trends the group expects to influence design through autumn/winter 2013-14. A team of 150 WGSN-Homebuildlife editors worldwide explore designs and forecast these trends "from their earliest indications in the creative world, to their latest performances in the retail arena."

In a nutshell, the three major macro trends WGSN-Homebuildlife forecasts for autumn/winter 2013-14 are:

Living Design: This macro trend involves the interaction of human, animal and technological elements to create "products with personality." These products incorporate natural materials, organic shapes and fluid forms that embody a lifelike aesthetic that invites physical touch.

"Living Design is about products that have energy... a way that a product takes on a spirit and a life all its own," Dunlop said.

Design elements include feathered textures, animal prints, rounded shapes and soft, earthy colors like rust, slate blue and gray-green.

Hack-tivate: This trend takes the DIY concept to a new level, transforming existing products into new creations. An array of spare parts could converge to become a lamp base, or an accent table may feature one leg made from a different material in a different color than the rest of the piece.
"The concept is about taking something that already exists and making it do something else," Dunlop said. "Original products are changed and developed to create something different."

Local sourcing and sustainable materials are prominent in this trend, as are digital themes, unpredictable patterns and an eclectic color palette that includes vibrant blue, hot pink, rich teal and true bright white.

21st Century Romance: This trend encourages breathtaking design and pure beauty that evoke passion and romance. Designs are dramatic and ornate, infusing antique references with modern style.
"Downton Abbey is very directional within this trend," Dunlop said.

Within this trend, chandeliers are large and elaborate, soft goods boast updated Victorian designs and all-over floral patterns, decorative accessories are made to be purely decorative and finely-wrought materials are patinaed or gilded. Designs embody opposites such as light/dark, hard/soft and organic/industrial, and feature a "brooding palette with brighter accents" like charcoal gray, mauve, slate blue, fuchsia and mint green.

I'm eager to see how these trends evolve as we move further into 2013, as well as which other trends come to fruition.

What color, material and design trends do you think we'll see in the year ahead?