Last week one of the biggest homeware and craft trade shows in the UK, Top Drawer, was on at London’s Olympia and we were there to uncover some exciting new designers and spot key trends for the coming year.
It was a great place to get a feel for what’s hot right now and what trends are emerging for Spring/Summer 2016. Here is our round-up of the designers and trends that caught our eye!
Trend 1 : Woodland Hues
With rich yet muted shades, the work of a two young designers, whose collections have taken inspiration from British woodland landscapes, capture the feeling of reflecting and magnifying nature within our interiors, which, when done carefully through the use of colour and subtle texture, feels like an exciting new direction for Spring 2016.
These cushions from Emma June Designs form part of her ‘Woodland’ collection. Made from silk velvet and an eco-conscious sustainable linen, the rich muted colours hand-dyed on soft luxurious velvet are so inviting and would bring real warmth to a room.
Using a very similar palette of colours, Rae Anne, an emerging textile designer from the Scottish Highlands, was exhibiting as part of Emergents Makers. With names like ‘Woodland’ ‘Forest’ and ‘Shaded Leaf’ describing each of the prints, Rae Anne’s designs are almost hyper-real incarnations of woodland forms and colours. The combination of the three rich colours together is especially striking as are the modern graphical prints that hint at the organic forms they are named after.
These collections tie-in to the the wider trend for muted colour-palettes that appeared throughout the show but it’s these particularly British (read ‘rain-soaked’) colours of forest leaves, stormy skies and wild-flowers creeping through the undergrowth, that feel so right for the coming season.
Trend 2: Materials + Process
With the rise in popularity of handmade and traditionally crafted homeware, we are seeing an ever-greater focus on the materials used and how they are affected by the processes used to make them. We are also seeing a desire by makers to honour those materials and celebrate them for what they are.
It was great to have the chance to see the Granby Workshop range of products from the Turner Prize-winning Assemble. Each design is manufactured using different materials and processes; and one of the things that is most interesting about the collection is this re-imagining of process and material to marry the practical and functional with the beautiful. The marriage is so successful; these pieces really do stand-out-from-the-crowd and feel truly new and completely covetable!
Another highlight was Sevak Zargarian‘s ceramic pieces, where the process is also an integral element of the design. On seeing the pieces, you cannot help but ask ‘ How are they made?’ Answer: The coloured ‘chips’ are made and fired first, then added into moulds which are then filled before the final piece is fired, then finally each piece is sanded to give a smooth, tactile finish . There’s a real beauty and modernity in Zargarian’s choice of pared-back colour palette and simple functional forms.
Nikki Kreis of Kreis Designs handcrafts beautifully functional items from plywood and each piece really highlights the special qualities of the material. Her range of coloured peg boards are particularly striking and add an extra element to the flawlessly executed designs.
Smink Things produce a range of tiles and wallpaper that utilise the process of mark-making and celebrate it in each design. The beauty of the pieces lie in their ‘imperfection’ and in the quality of materials used to produce each finished item. The patterns that are not quite patterns and the subtle colour combinations combine to create a collection that really stands-out for its quiet beauty.
Each of Olivia Mcgill’s hand-thrown pieces have an understated feeling of luxury. The cups, bowls, plates and vases each have a fantastic weight to them and they are robust enough for every day use. The simplicity and elegance of the surface designs and the slightly imperfect shapes of each piece, only add to the charm of the collection.
Trend 3: Bold Colour Combinations
Some of our favourite pieces at the show stood out for their confident use of striking colour combinations. When it comes to colour this year, you really can throw out the rule book and let loose!
Susi Bellamy (above) describes her cushions as ‘Art for the Sofa’ and we would certainly agree. With rich, bold colour and painterly prints which are transferred to the silky fabric using a process that harnesses the richness and textural quality of the painting, they are the perfect thing for injecting some colour into your living room.
Hannah Rampley’s new collection of printed products use a striking palette of colours across the range. We would suggest mixing and matching her prints, which use a cohesive mix of colours without be too ‘match-matchy’. Although the colours are bold, the illustrations themselves have a great sense of delicacy which provides a great balance to the strong colour.
Trend 4: Geometrics 2.0
Two designers stood out for their grown-up geometrics, taking this ongoing trend to new levels, with their application of shape and their methods of production setting their work apart.
Tom Pigeon (above) produce a range of very high-quality illustrative work, including prints that, through their edited colour palette and compositional style, really do feel like an ultra-modern take on ‘The Geometric Print’. The quality of the prints themselves is also fantastic and they would be a great addition to any modern interior scheme.
Artist Damien Borowik’s Drawing Machine collection uses a machine, programmed by Damien, to actually execute the drawing. The result is very interesting. With each geometric shape comprised of hundreds if not thousands of very fine lines, each piece has a depth to it that really captures your attention.
All in all, Top Drawer was a great place to meet some exceptional designers and makers and get a heads-up on what to look out for in 2016.
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