On our trip to the High Point furniture show this year, the MakeNest team focused on education and research, visiting our favorite sustainable makers in between a number of seminars covering everything from the lifecycle of trends to the latest perspectives on color theory. We rounded out our trip with a visit to the venerable Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library, where the history and craft of furniture and design is reverenced with near monkish devotion. Here we highlight a few of the big takeaways from our journey and discovery.
There are a number of lifestyles for which mass customization in home furnishings can help solve problems and create opportunities. For the millennial setting up their first apartment and the baby boomer down-sizing from a larger home, modular furnishings can make hard-to-furnish spaces into peaceful oases of organization. In commercial applications, modular units make office planning flexible and efficient.
Upon meeting a new resource this market, we are now in the beginning stages of collaborating with an Ohio-based maker who can create modular collections that MakeNest will design in-house, based on our aesthetic style and what we know is appealing to our clients. The technology that our maker has developed makes optimal use of each sustainably-harvested unit of hardwood, all but eliminating waste and driving down costs to make custom an option for a greater number of clients.
The fabulous Jenna Hall, a legend in international furniture design circles, places Art Deco style on the trend forecast. Just before the advent of what we generally identify as mid-century design, there was an entirely unique period inspired by advances in furniture production. Mechanized technologies for adhering veneer led to supple waterfall fronts on dressers and sideboards. Exotic and contrasting hues of wood veneers defined the proportions of doors and drawer fronts. Then-new developments in plastics allowed designers to produce drawer pull styles that had never existed before.
As with all appropriations of an established aesthetic, the new trend will be interpretive and not a carbon copy. As a designer, I can imagine how the satin glow of Art Deco finishes would offer a welcome contrast to the cerused woods of recent years - and how those same cerused finishes would compliment the fluid curve of Art Deco's waterfall fronts. Thinking of the options opened up by 3-D printing, I see designers customizing hardware in ways that will bridge the divide between mass production and the consumer's desire for bespoke details.
At the Pratt & Lambert presentation, four highly-conceptual palettes - each based on a distinctive perspective - revealed dozens of new colors that will play a role in design in the coming seasons. We studied a palette called Enigma, which embraces the power of deep and muted tones to convey mystery and even melancholy romanticism. Through a collection named Intrinsic, we explored the use of saturated hues with strong dark neutrals to capture the immediacy and vivacity of nature. In eight peaceful hues that take their cues from clay and minerals, the Purpose palette studies the use of gentle tones to produce a contemplative space for revery and self-exploration. Driven by a point of view that celebrates innovation and altered realities, Pratt and Lambert's Convergence palette is a poem of pleasing demi-saturation and complimentary colors.
From my own perspective, and judging by the textiles that have been most inspiring to me recently, I feel that design is veering away from isolated pop colors and into complex blends of hues that exchange energy while creating more layered environments. Pattern-makers are creating modernized florals and geometrics that provide a variety of tones all in one field. From a design era that has embraced white space with a singular energy color, we will see a return to the vibrant multiple hues one finds in traditional printed goods. This shift plays to the idea of environment as expressive and dimensional rather than austerely curated and Instagram-ready.
A new era in design is emerging, one in which the styles of the past are remastered, color looms large and diverse, and technology is bent to offer more options to a greater number of niche markets. We're excited to be debuting designs we're developing with the many makers that contribute to our Nestology collection. More inspirations are coming soon from MakeNest, so keep in touch to follow our design journey. - PM