I have heard through my colleagues that lots of editors are not going to the European trade fairs in January and February. I’m going. In the face of a weak economy, I still believe that innovation is best way to attract consumer attention. I’m going to find what innovation I can. I will be writing a full trend report from each of the early year European fairs (Heimtextil, Maison & Objet, Christmas World, Ambiente). If you would like to pre-order one of them, just email Janice to let her know you want to be the first to receive yours when they are available.
Ambiente is one of the trade fairs I will be attending. It is organized by Messe Frankfurt, and is the biggest consumer goods fair in the world. Every year the fair attracts about 140,000 trade visitors and 4,600 exhibitors from around the world to Frankfurt’s exhibition halls.
The team at Ambiente is already thinking about trends. Here are four themes they have established for 2009. Their common thread: forward-looking modernity. These trends will be on-show at Ambiente.
Cultured, subtle, tasteful, exquisite, genteel, high quality, decorative, sensual
“Feel grace” is the diva of the trends: graceful, faux-couture, feminine, the distinctive feature being luxurious chic, surprising material mixes and casual, self-evident classicism. The key shades prescribed for 2009 are pale colors. Pale grey, white and cream enter into a seductive liaison with pastel lilac and sea green. Seductive materials like gold, porcelain and crystal are accompanied by mother-of-pearl, silver, precious stones and high-grade wood with flawless surface finishes. High-sheen textiles, satin and velvet among them, flow like elegant evening dresses, emphasizing the modern touch. The decorative elements and ornamentation, which is even more refined than last year, let a hint of art deco and art nouveau style shine through. Animal drawings, lace looks, graphic elements, edge accentuation and pleated takes on haute couture, which underline the exquisiteness of this thoroughly self-assured style, are flirted with.
Minimalist, ornamental, strong, functional, contrast-rich, effective
Minimalist design, ornamental modernity and a combination of functionalism and decoration are the hallmark of this complex, high-statement trend. The functional design language, which is pared down to the essential, is expressed in clear, strong lines. Organic silhouettes, fluid optics and decorative elements lend it a feminine touch. High standards of material, workmanship and finish are characteristic of “stay essential”. Roughened, modeling, decoratively interruptions, lace, high-contrast matte-gloss effects on textiles, leather, paper and porcelain underscore the extreme preoccupation with production and materials. Artificially aged metal and distinctive stone surfaces break up the functional perfectionism. In terms of color, the determining optical feature is understatement: the iridescent, milky cream color palette metamorphoses from grey to natural shades in cool to warm tones. More than anything else, a rich black sets impressive accents on creamy berry shades.
Calm, playful, imaginative, original, individual, fantasy-rich, lively, relaxed, unconventional
“Enjoy calm” is synonymous with a solidarity with nature, creativity and uncomplicated authenticity. The desire for simplicity and individual styling is expressed in an uninhibited approach featuring the most varied of materials: wood, paper, feathers, ceramics, plastic and jute. Anything goes and is combined randomly. Whimsically combining old and new produces a totally new kind of vintage, a mix of personalized street style, laid-back festival look and droll one-off pieces with collector potential. In addition to bringing values like sustainability and ecological soundness into the consumer environment, adopting an “alternative view” of the world also throws up some unexpected everyday designs. The joy of life and experimentation explodes in an energy-charged color palette: orange and the primary colors red and blue invade this nature-based style, which with its stripes, lines, checks and flowers, illustrative artwork, manual craftsmanship and multicolored effects is younger and more carefree in appearance than ever before.
Flowery, fruity, fanciful delicate, cheerful, delightful, captivating
One can dream! Of meadows, animals, the sun and sky, distant lands and good fortune closer to home. Informal joie de vivre and romanticism dances alongside countless floral interpretations and contemporarily interpreted souvenirs from the fifties and sixties. In this fanciful trend, everything is subtle, delicate and fresh in accentuation. Flowers and blossoms provide a source of inspiration, the materials are multi-layered and the standards of workmanship high. Subtle drawings and graphics on engraved glass, porcelain and materials symbolize a love of detail when it comes to design. Punched patterns, lace and insect motifs combined with enamel, paste and glass beading is extremely whimsical and feminine in effect, for both jewelry and home accessories. The colors are fresh, floral and pastel.