We’ve living in a special time. Thanks to the digital era, we can access a lifestyle ¬— any kind, for that matter —with just one click. “With the advent of Instagram particularly, consumers are becoming trend-setters and full-fledged influencers themselves. They share their findings with their communities, revealing interesting case studies and voicing opinions on social media platforms. This is what we call the ‘showroomisation’ trend. It’s no longer the product that makes the consumer, but the consumer that makes the product,” begins Vincent Gregoire, designer and scenographer from Agence Nellyrodi, an important arm in the conceptualisation of the Inspirations Space at MAISON&OBJET Paris.
MAISON&OBJET is the world’s most renowned interior design tradeshow that takes place biannually in France’s stylish capital. Ever-evolving design trends are scrutinised and if there’s one thing that the design fraternity concurs wholeheartedly on right now is this latest trend for ‘showroomisation’.
This trend is essentially the expression of the growing inclination to publicise one’s life, one’s intimacies, one’s fantasies and one’s world; showcasing both the stages people create, as well as what’s behind the scenes. As a result, story-telling is rendered obsolete by story-living.
As consumers, it seems that we no longer want to be told stories. Instead, we want to experience things. Living rooms and retails stores are being turned into a stage for the whole world to see.
“I imagined the place to have a dramatic feel, with mirrors, glass displays, and spotlights, but I also wanted it to be interactive and to reflect the new dynamics initiated by social networks,” explains Gregoire as he presents a repertoire of showcases during the tradeshow.
The curated space is an invitation to question the status quo, take a stand, and to overcome ennui. The creative maven believes that ‘selfie traps’ will last, citing that it’s a platform to set oneself apart; to voice an opinion; to love and to hate — exactly how social networks work.
The point is no longer to please everyone, but to please a targeted audience. And because the dynamics have shifted, all notions of good and bad taste have gone out of the window.
“We tell stories so people can experience these stories. Businesses, however, need to reconnect with passion, with emotion and to present customers with unique moments so that they can be surprised and be moved,” he elaborates, adding: “These are wonderful times we’re living in. The only constant is change and we just need to realise it.”
Let’s face it, decoration can be serious and sometimes, a big joke. The 53-year-old Frenchman admits that trends in the past few years have been wishy-washy because of the uncertainties involving world politics, erratic economic status and world peace. This year, the design industry believes that it has finally gotten things right. Things appear to be more affirmative and grey spots are turning black and white.
The following are the top five design trends that are inspired by the new ‘consumer’ — you.
1. Assured Palette
Colour plays a huge part in design of all sorts. In line with the current trend, the colours have grown to be more mature and confident. Rich and darker tones such as burgundy, dark ochre and navy blue take precedence.
And if brighter hues are more preferred, a space in solid yellows, fuchsia, peacock green or teal can bring out the interior’s livelier spirit.
2. Freedom in Fluidity
It’s time to think out of the box. The new trend is more daring yet flexible. Design fundamentals are liberated from rules and restrictions as daily objects become more experimental. The idea of freedom is evident in tangible objet d’art and emotionally in interior spaces. Consumers today are no longer interested in the sort of prim-and-proper spaces previously seen in many design magazines. Instead, people are opting for spontaneity and a more unpretentious setting with a freedom to express.
3. Amazonian Tropics
The exoticism of the tropics is making a comeback as the colourful birds migrate into fashion. In the next few months, you’ll be able to spot toucans, flamingoes, cranes and hummingbirds in prints and fabrics. Palm leaves, butterflies and floral motifs will gain popularity.
And if you’ve noticed, cactuses are also joining in the fun in homes, landscaping and as patterns.
4. Of Play & Disguise
The concept of a masquerade illustrates the need to have fun and be playful. It’s about role playing and adding a layer of surprise in the design context. But there’s a duality in its interpretation. Bringing mystery to a space, elements of disguise such as masks (Chinese masks, Venetian masks and tribal masks) are used to amuse and ignite a sense of suspense. The masquerade also translates as a cover-up to something uncertain, but bringing a sense of certainty to an entire look. What is being externalised now matters more than anything.
5. Ode to Heritage
No matter how far we’ve come in terms of advancements, origins and roots remain important. Craftsmanship and heritage become the point of reference, inspiring all creative facets from product design to industrial design, interior design to fashion design. When culture and heritage are put into context, it makes a design story more meaningful and relatable.