Most of us believe that architectural and design worlds are ahead of the rest of us in their visions for the future. If you’ve been following design trends for the past few years, I think you’ll find that forecasts for 2011 are more reflective of the very cautious optimism reflected in the economies of many developed countries.
Though forward looking, design for 2011 keeps one foot solidly on the other side of the fence.
I’d like to begin with the colour ‘dictator,’ Pantone, and its choice of colours for the year.
1. Design Predictions for Colours: Pantone Colour of the Year 2011
Pantone is the yearly and seasonal colour planner for all kinds of designers from graphic to architectural, fashion, and even make-up. And Pantone is fabulous at its job, traveling all over the world to find new colours, subtleties, and textures that can change tones just enough to give things a whole new feeling.
For 2011, Pantone has chosen ‘Honeysuckle’ as its colour of the year - that’s Pantone 18-2120, for those of you with the 2011 Pantone ‘bible.’ The colour is bright without being bold; reflecting a brighter outlook on the future, but not an ebullient one.
Pantone and other forecasters see a contrast of pale cool pastels with the deeper colours of iron and brick on the interior. Architecturally, stone colours and darker irons will be emphasized.
2. Design Predictions for Architecture: Living and Working Spaces, 2011
Euromaxx predicts that home space will continue to assimilate work activity, satisfying family and work associates, architecturally, as a ‘hub.’ Also individual offices, either within the home or in modular form just outside the home, will be common. We will see continuity in the creation of large multi-purpose rooms, rather than divided ones. Kitchens will combine eating and meeting spaces - bring dining, cooking, meeting, and recreation all together in one large space - kind of like a home rendition of Google’s office environment.
The kitchen is the place to be in 2011. No longer does the chef remain isolated from his guests while he prepares the meal. Family, guests, and business associates can feel right at home while they visit or brainstorm!
See Pantone’s color of the year, Honeysuckle, in the image of the kitchen design.
3. Design Predictions for Furniture: Minimalism for 2011
The recession has diminished our need for non-essentials and that will be seen in the simple, geometric design of furniture. Flourishes will not be noticeable with the eyes, but with the comfort of a chair that looks austere in a geometric form, but is really quite comfortable. A soft faux fur also serves as a contrast and provides greater comfort.
Here, Neutra, designed by Belgian architect Vincent van Duysen for signature Tribù, represents what I interpret as representing the coming period.
4. Design Predictions for Materials: Naturals for 2011
Again, basic structures and furniture is minimalist. Materials for building are basic too - various kinds of cement, easily stampable with patterns, will be seen more interiorly. Sustainable woods that are easily replaceable will be popular for furniture and flooring, giving a more sensual look to geometrical shapes and minimalist design.
While even cushioned furniture will be on the austere side, visually, rich materials can wake up your decor with warmth and colour. There is a big swell of material designers investigating new textiles to use as fabrics for draperies, rugs, pillows and other accent pieces.
5. Design Predictions for Accent Decor: Global and Ancestral Influences for 2011
A look at the past will dominate accent pieces in everything from materials to lighting. As in food, we will be inspired by our ancestors from the Elizabethan period to the 1940’s. Lush velvets and brocades will contrast with the cool pastels of 2011 to make some very interesting (and challenging) colour and textural patterns. Lamps, bowls, and vases: anything from antique to art deco!
A broader view of the world will invite different cultures into our homes, particularly indigenous cultures such as live in many parts of Africa and South America. The geometrical shapes and naturally dyed fabrics will bring a sense of global awareness to our living spaces.
6. Design Predictions for Solar: Solar Beautification for 2011
Of course, there will be more emphasis on creating new sustainable forms of energy, but in the design world, there will be an emphasis on beautification as well. Who says solar panels have to be ugly just because they are?
Now those seriously involved in sustainable design are thinking: make it pretty and they will come. But, of course, you’re probably thinking of those ugly panels on the rooftops. Solé Power Tiles by SRS Energy won several energy awards for its beautiful solar blue tiles in 2010.
Now, solar engineers have developed a ‘glaze’ system can be “architecturally integrated into the facades and roof atria of buildings while still providing maximum outside views and diffuse daylight for the building users. These benefits are accomplished by miniaturizing and distributing the essential components of concentrating PV technology within the weather-sealed windows of the building envelopes.”
7. Design Predictions for Lighting: Windows for 2011
Large, even huge windows, treated for insulation and solar heat are very popular as the prime source of day lighting. Artificial lighting will be recessed, hidden, or camouflaged into the lighting design, as in this futuristic bedroom. The setting below contains the elements of colour and pattern for 2011 as well as camouflaged lighting. I really like the new trends. Personally, I’m going to try the challenging feat of mixing heirlooms with new pastels. That just baffles me! (www.inventorspot.com)