An ability to pick future interior trends is part of the job description for Tracy Kwan, director of lifestyle at Lane Crawford. She has identified four key themes from collections showcased at the major international design fairs: Vanilla Sky, Grey Scale, Rose Water and Play Dates.

Kwan describes Vanilla Sky as the use of soft, dreamlike colours such as creamy white, pastel blues and soft turquoise that portray romance. Note the subtle shapes, detailing and fluidity of design, which prevail in this trend.

Grey Scale refers to applying shades of grey or other cool colours to create a monochrome scheme, paired with textural accents such as ceramics, pottery and craft items.

Rose Water, a theme based on the Pantone palette of rose quartz, features a playful yet feminine style, using muted pinks, rose gold and light blues.

“Some of the pieces are in retro-inspired shapes, floral patterns or strong figurative prints, or with strong dark highlights,” Kwan says.

The high-spirited Play Date theme is interpreted across a range of brands and designers as an opportunity to express their playfulness. Especially evident in lighting, it has inspired innovation in style and experimentation with shape.

“Pastels were a keen favourite among the designers at shows during the year,” Kwan says.

Shades of soft pink and light grey were visible throughout furniture, lighting and accessories across price points, categories and origins of the brand, such as established names Lange Production and Fritz Hansen, and new brands including NORR11, &tradition, Self., and Reflections.

The play on colours can re-energise decor, making small rooms appear more open and adding light to dark, confined spaces, Kwan says. “In all shapes and form, from decorative accessories to small furniture pieces, the pastel colour is becoming a popular choice.

“We have seen retro-inspired shapes, and strong dark highlights from the Rose Water, and Play Date trends can be seen in Reflections and Self.’s furniture.”

The latest round of furniture fairs has shown Kwan that upcycling keeps growing. British designer Tom Dixon showcased his new Trellick collection of upcycled furniture, produced in collaboration with London-based social enterprise Goldfinger Factory.

Self., meanwhile, is giving new life to loved mid-century designs from G-Plan (a British company that was popular during the 1950s and 1970s) and Ercol chairs from the 1920s.

This look crosses over into our continuing love of all things “vintage” – the new name for antiques.Mixing vintage finds with modern furniture is a masterful design technique.

John McLennan of Indigo Living is excited about the use of texture and natural materials he’s seeing this season. “From natural linens and plush velvets to polished marbles and antique brass paired with horn and petrified stone, these materials create a sophisticated layered look that can be amped up or toned down to fit in any home,” he says.

McLennan points to the tropical look being “back in a funky, retro way”; the return of inky greys and blues in furnishings; as well as a more beachy, relaxed look in natural tones layered with an ethnic Asian feel.

In other broader trends, modular furniture systems are gaining momentum, and going upmarket. Swedish brand Ikea always excels for function and practicality, but Hong Kong designers are weighing in, too. Upscaling Operations has created its own self-assembly desk, the ButterPly, created from sustainably-sourced sculptured plywood. Meanwhile, Eric Tong of Eravolution has designed a mathematically-inspired system of mix-and-match modules, called Zystem Kershner, which work equally as shelving storage and an attractive room divider.

Advances in manufactured materials have opened up a wider choice than the traditional hardflooring menu of ceramic tiles, stone and marble.

With engineered wood, you can now have the look and feel of natural timber such as oak or walnut that is sourced from sustainable plantations, produced (if you’re careful) with a low-emission process, and is more durable than solid wood. It offers more design possibilities, such as wider floorboards, or longer expanses.

Bamboo flooring hit the market as a sustainable material, but developed a bad reputation because of the nasties such as formaldehyde once commonly used during its manufacturing. That isn’t the case now that greener processes are at play.

Artistic furniture that gives homes an imperial touch

Look for brands which are third-party-certified to be non-toxic, formaldehyde-free and contain zero volatile organic compounds. New materials are also emerging in carpets and rugs, and wallpapers, both sectors taking on a greener image. In carpets and rugs, expect to see more natural fibres such as wool, sisal from the agave plant, and biodegradable fabrics. On-trend patterns include tribal prints and earth tones, or any image you like in upmarket bespoke rugs from companies such as Tai Ping Carpets.

Think beyond size when designing a bathroom in Hong Kong

Wallpaper designers are bringing a touch of nature indoors with textured finishes such as grass cloth manufactured using natural fibres of jute, reed and arrowroot.

The look of washed-out wood, leather, concrete, marble, brick and stone remains, and works well with leather and linen textures as well as wooden furniture. Feature walls papered in luxe finishes, such as silk or shiny metallics, add an upscale aesthetic.

In today’s contemporary interior, artwork doesn’t only belong on the walls. Whether it’s a bespoke rug, a sculptured side table, a crotched lamp or handblown glassware, artworks fashioned by an artisanal “maker” are the must-have of the moment.

This article was originally published in Home Essentials

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