2018 design trends spotted at Clerkenwell Design Week in London and NeoCon in Chicago featured a modern mash-up of both strength and softness. From colors and patterns to materials and usage, exhibits reiterated contradictions we’ve been seeing that reflect society’s balance of high-tech vs. low-tech.
Clash of color
Intentionally awkward color harmonies continue to be a design mainstay, stateside and abroad. Think muted pastels and chalky blues paired with strong, acidic shades, or soft mustards and pale pinks adjacent to singular pops of color.
Dark, moody colors are also on point, including deep burgundy, malachite and of course, black. These darkened color palettes paired with unusual brights have been worked into overall interior schemes or on furniture and other materials.
Material trends yield a continued emphasis on texture, format and material; delivering a unique mix of smooth and modern geometry alongside organic texture. Both Clerkenwell and NeoCon featured an array of cut-outs and geometry, as well as crafted, handmade materials.
An emphasis on positive shapes and negative space create visual intrigue. Taking reference from the unique qualities of current color palettes, we saw these ideas expressed with color blocking and overlapping contours in a mix of transparencies.
Stone and terrazzo-esque finishes were seen throughout — in both modern and classic stylings. With a special emphasis on man-made and sustainable mixed materials, “new marbles.”
Under the influence
Many of the designs featured were derivative of Scandinavian style, but with more unusual palettes and textures. In the past, trends in Europe tended to be ahead of those in the United States. But as American brands are becoming more global (think Herman Miller’s recent stake in HAY), European influence is seen congruently with what’s happening overseas. Aesthetics at both Clerkenwell and NeoCon mirrored trends seen at Milan Design Week and ICFF in New York.
As the world continues to become “smaller” through the reach of technology, so does the spirit of the design world. We’re all connected and we all have influences on one another. There are no boundaries — and no limits.