Mixed media kept a modest profile throughout the reign of minimalism. But now that a simple approach to materials is beginning to look plain, rather than elegant, mixing elements in one piece or setting is on the rise. This was particularly apparent at the recent High Point furniture market.
It was nearly a year ago that materials formerly outside the mainstream started to come into everyday play. Stone (especially marble) and rope have grown from barely visible to headliners on the list of acceptable elements to be used alone or in mixed-media combinations. They are joined by concrete, cork, raffia, shells and more in the broadest range of options the market has seen in years—plus one or two that designers have tapped today, which have not been used before.
Inlays are a top choice for making a mixed-media statement. But even without a specific surface design, using multiple materials creates more visual interest, and often, more pattern.
Here are some exciting materials on The Trend Curve’s trend radar (look below for a gallery of images):
Bone: Jonathan Charles used white bone for contrast in their new wood Octagonal Center Table
Mother-of-Pearl: Bernhardt makes a matte/luster statement with an inlay using interlocking figures
Capiz Shell: The Maya Coffee Table, from Palecek, features natural capiz shell that has been hand cut and inlaid in black resin
Pen Shell: Century Furniture went for drama with on-trend pen shell in dark red
Mirror: Burton James’ Mirror Cube Table starts with a digital print on the reverse of glass, which is then coated with mirror
Acrylic: Caracole played with transparency in The Clear bed, which has an acrylic inlay in the headboard and acrylic legs
Cork: Studio A combined ceramic and cork for an earthy look
Goat Skin Parchment: City Collection’s Vincent tables come in 4 colors of parchment (or 4 colors of real shagreen), with dark bronze or antique bonze metal
Vellum Leather: Highland House favored directional light/dark contrast, as well as a mix of materials in this Candice Olson side table
Onyx: The stone trend is presently focused on marble; Phillips Collection expanded the scope with a live-edge onyx table
Crystals: John-Richard’s selenite crystals clustered into never-before-seen lightweight sculptures
Coral: Fossilized coral was completely new in Tommy Bahama’s portable lighting