It is in the nature of trends that almost everything old is new again – eventually. In the notoriously cyclical fashion industry, there’s the “20-year rule” – meaning what’s popular now will be back in vogue in 20 years. Interior design trends usually last longer, and can be resurrected many decades later. There’s an argument, though, that some don’t deserve a second (or third) coming. At a time of year when design forums are full of forecasts for 2023 trends, we asked a handful of Hong Kong designers for their predictions, and also about looks they hope will never see the light of day again. A gaudy vintage chandelier over a dining table in an otherwise modern decoration, where everything else is new? No Clifton Leung, of Clifton Leung Design Workshop Joyce Taufer, of Joyce Taufer Interior Design Studio, believes open-plan living is over. “After years of people knocking down walls to adapt to the new open concept, it’s now time to put those walls back up,” she says. The coronavirus pandemic sounded the death knell for it, the designer says. “During the lockdowns, people realised the value of privacy. They need to have a designated space for each activity in their own home.” The communal spaces of the house can still be integrated, such as the dining/living or kitchen/dining rooms, so the family can enjoy each other’s company and also have enough space for entertaining, Taufer notes. “In my opinion, this layout will provide homeowners with the correct balance between social and private space.” Rattan, meet marble. Penthouse has a Hong Kong x European vibe Mixing styles sticks in the craw of Clifton Leung, of Clifton Leung Design Workshop, because it’s “difficult to do well”. One’s home, after all, is not a curio shop. “Eclectic is OK if it follows a theme – like vintage,” he says. “But a gaudy vintage chandelier over a dining table in an otherwise modern decoration, where everything else is new? No.” YC Chen’s wish – if granted – would be something of a Christmas miracle, but the founder of interior design studio hoo remains hopeful. “One thing I really hate, and don’t want to see again, is the use of apps like China’s Instagram equivalent Little Red Book (or XiaoHongShu,)” he says. Chen explains that many clients take design references from such online platforms, but that “every picture is the same”. “They call it a style and they want us to copy that, but most are not real homes – just 3D renderings,” he says. “And they all look like show flats from developers, with oak flooring, white walls and pale marble. Living comfortably with a bold spirit of personal style is the key for a successful residential design Jason Yung, Jason Caroline Design “Anyone can do that. But design is meant to be unique – that’s the whole point of creativity.” For inspiration Chen encourages people to look at “real magazines” that showcase actual homes. “The trends you see on Little Red Book can be done by robots. That worries me,” he adds. She hopes to run the Farfetch of homeware. Her Hong Kong flat is a showcase Jason Yung, of Jason Caroline Design, agrees. He’s frankly sick of the “show flat style” that’s stuck around for the past decade, adding: “I wish we could see it a lot less often.” “This style is often packaged as a super luxurious home which displays different imported brands, regardless of the property’s size, location, and the personality of the occupants,” Yung says. “It also often comes with a menu of materials and products for the kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room.” While this homogenised approach might be a quick solution to meet functional needs, it misses the point of design, Yung asserts. The coming year will be driven by a desire to inject optimism and positivity in design everywhere Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui, co-founder, Bean Buro “Living comfortably with a bold spirit of personal style is the key for a successful residential design,” he says. And that is the role of the designer, Yung adds – to bring to life concepts that the clients “may not be able to verbally describe initially, but comes from a desire deep down”. Which brings us to colour. Every December since 2000, the globally influential Pantone Colour Institute has rolled out its prediction for a hue that it says reflects the mood of society at the time, and will influence “all areas of design” in the year ahead, from fashion to interiors. Does it, though? Sophie Seeger, owner of Seeger By Design and a tutor at the Interior Design Institute Hong Kong, thinks so, and says that the latest – Viva Magenta, a vibrant red – will resonate. “With so many unknowns in the world today we are drawn to nature for inspiration, and Pantone’s colour of the year for 2023 is inspired by a natural dye,” she says. “This red is sophisticated, versatile, adds a sense of luxe, and exudes confidence and individuality. It is a balanced red that will bring balance and optimism into your home.” For the confident who want to make a statement, Seeger advises using this colour on a front door (in a high gloss), on a dining room or powder room ceiling, or in a floral wallpaper teaming magenta with emerald. To just dip your toe in, red glassware, a luxe homeware that has come and gone through the ages, is a look she perceives as well worth reviving. As for what’s going to be “in” for the coming year, designers agree we’ll be holding on to some old favourites while welcoming in the new. Emma Maclean, founder and creative director, EM Bespoke, believes nature and indoor/outdoor themes will stick around “because we need them”, but that many of us will be returning our hastily equipped home offices to their original purpose. “Unlike in some other countries, Hong Kong people are reverting very fast to going back to the office. They’re excited to be there,” she explains. “And with quarantine dropped, we want those (home) spaces back to welcome guests again.” In another pandemic spin-off, Maclean also predicts that 2023 will be the year of the arches. “Curves have been a trend in furniture and cabinetry for the past couple of years, but in every project I’ve done during Covid clients have asked me to put in archways,” she says. “I do think it’s a result of the pandemic: after all the stress we went through, people want to be around softness, something that envelopes and welcomes them.” Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui and Lorène Faure, co-founders, Bean Buro, are confident that a brighter mood will influence home interiors trends, led by colour. “The coming year will be driven by a desire to inject optimism and positivity in design everywhere,” says Kinugasa-Tsui. “Over the past year of the pandemic, we have already seen hints of more playful use of colours and materials in the retail and commercial trends, which will positively affect residential designs in 2023.” Use of colour should be “refined, comfortable, and tasteful”, adds Faure. “It can be done in a natural and elegant manner, instead of in a showy, pretentious sort of way,” she says. “Sometimes all we need is a coloured architectural element, such as a column or a shelf, carefully incorporated into the space as a distinct colour accent to stimulate a sense of positivity and energetic mood and feel.” Some people already want to have a sink in the foyer, so they can wash before going inside Max Lam, founder, Max Lam Designs But there’s a caveat. “We would avoid using solid primary colours which could be too intense and busy,” Faure notes. “We would also avoid using pastel colours which could be too soft.” Max Lam, founder, Max Lam Designs, thinks clean and healthy home concepts will be at the front of people’ minds. “Because of Covid, (interior decor) is not just about aesthetics,” he says. “Some people already want to have a sink in the foyer, so they can wash before going inside.” In 2023 projects, he predicts, water filtration, access to fresh air, low-VOC paints and furnishings will be standard. Greenery in the concrete jungle: architect brings nature into living spaces Despite restrictions easing, Lam believes more people will want to keep socialising at home, rather than going out. “So a big kitchen is a must,” he says. Lam sees demand for an open-plan kitchen with a central island so the hosts can join in the conversation whilst cooking, and for long, convivial dining tables where “friends and family can play around the whole night with good food and wine”. Also in that vein, Lam thinks it will be a year where people will invest more in their living environment, focusing on high-quality materials and exquisite design details. Ann Chan, CEO, Hero Design Group, agrees, forecasting a willingness to invest in high- quality furniture made with long-lasting materials, and skilled craftsmanship. “Whether they be unique pieces, first editions, special editions or something produced in small series, rare and exceptional furnishing may not be cheap, but doesn’t lose value over time,” Chan said. As society becomes more environmentally conscious, people will also ask questions about where the product was made, and the manufacturing process. And this, Chan believes, will not be a fleeting trend, but a mark of the future. “It’s important to take green steps forward in the furniture industry,” she says.