OUR INTERVIEW WITH LAURA HAMMETT’S INTERIOR DESIGNER MAVIS CHOW ON WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2017:
Every year, there’s talk about trends and dominant themes in design for interiors – from fabrics to surfaces and down to accessories in home décor, people talk about trending colours and materials, and what’s coming next. Unlike fashion, however, trends don’t really fade away quickly and are not easily replaced. They take a while to settle in, and often use the voices of the design industry influencers to gain ground and become ‘the norm’.
Back in the 1950s, the appearance of Brutalism scared a lot of people – it was something so different and visually ‘brutal’ as opposed to the classicist curls and grandiose architecture, that it was recorded as a shock in design history.
Back in the 1300s, Renaissance bridged the gap between the Middle Ages and their religious fanaticism, and modern history. Not long after, the ornamental debauchery of the Baroque and Rococo ensued. History has already proven how lengthy and life-changing trends in design can be.
Earlier this year, we sat down with Mavis Chow to talk about interior design trends for 2016. In hindsight, we all came to the conclusion that the word ‘trend’ was used very lightly. An eminent interior designer, Ms Chow has recently joined Laura Hammett, one of London’s most prestigious luxury interior design firms, after working with Candy & Candy and David Linley.
The change in direction came from Ms Chow’s desire to put her extensive experience into a more exciting and challenging role as a design lead in the company, and to continue overseeing fabulous private residential projects and multi-unit developments, both locally and internationally as they come to fruition.
Not long ago, we had another talk with Ms Chow over what’s in store for 2017 and how the term ‘trend’ has yet to gain clarity in the field of interior design. Over a cup of hot tea and through a hearty debate, our questions were graced with compelling insights over how we should look at the term ‘trend’, and what is actually happening next year, from a visual point of view.
Coshamie: So, Mavis, why do we use the word ‘trend’ when we talk about what’s next in store for interior design?
‘Why “trends”? The word seems to be more for fashion and product designs,’ says Ms Chow.‘It’s true that interior design is closely related to these two areas – see furniture, lighting, accessories, colour schemes, patterns, textures, shape and form and so on.’
‘It’s particularly in fashion design that you see the trend in colour, materials, patterns and forms always being a season ahead, changing with each season and collection… And you have to wonder: does this really work for interior design, too?’
‘The answer would, of course, be “no”. Having questioned that, the word “trend” is something that at least encourages us to try something new and broaden our horizons.’
Coshamie: How does ‘trend’ apply to interior design, then?
‘Well, let’s start by asking a different question first – look at fashion brands, and how they stick with their signature styles: what is “trend” for them?’
‘As an interior designer, I always advise clients to create a curated space where they can find a sense of belonging, and be proud to call it “home”, a living space. It means that it is long-lasting, sophisticated, enjoyable, flexible, elegant, timeless plus a tiny pinch of humour, as an added bonus where it makes you enjoy staying there, but never feeling tired of the design – it’s what gives these places sustainability and peace of mind. Some clients even prefer the one-of-a-kind design, which is a statement piece all by itself.’
‘Where hospitality design is concerned, however, a theme could be the trend. Hotels tend to have major refurbishments every ten years or more, because the theme/trend will be outdated after a certain period of time. A hospitality space is somewhere that gives people a short journey of experience. There should be an impression where consumers will come back so they can experience it again.’
‘Instead of trend,’ says Ms Chow, ‘perhaps we should ask ourselves: what is the best way to start off the new year? You know, instead of creating something that only lasts for a season or 12 months. We always hear people saying “Oh, the curtains look old!” or “The wallpaper is über-traditional, like in my granny’s home!”’
Coshamie: Then what is the best way to start off the new year in interior design?
‘First of all, interior design should start with its elements from the architecture, the culture and the historical background of its environment, which is fundamental and supersedes any trend. Would there be any trends in furniture, you might ask? It’s true that furniture tells the style, the period of design, and that is what we call “trend”. It reflects on its shape, form and materials. Furthermore, nowadays technology applies to furniture and lighting design too.’
‘What about fabrics? Yes, soft furnishings can be easily changed every season or year – so fabrics can bring out new “trends” in the world of interiors. And so can accessories – it’s product design, after all.’
‘With these out of the way, we can finally ask the question: Well, how do we actually start off our 2017 in interior design? We think about how we can create a space where it is the core that gives the residents surprise, makes the space intriguing with its characters – feeling cosy and intimate, with something extra added to make a statement and turn it into a unique space, such as colours, which is a very personal choice. I find it daring to use bold colours. I’d like to see more of that.’
Coshamie: So, if we’re to look at fashion for potential trends to influence interior design, what would your observations be?
‘I’d say look out for Dries Van Noten, as the brand always surprises with its colour palettes. Christopher Kane, Erdem and award-winning Rosie Assoulin should also be watched in 2017, as far as fashion design goes. I’m seeing a lot of 1980s retro influences emerge, and a surge of silver over gold next year. Stripes are in again, and I can see them as good inspiration points for outdoor furnishings.’
‘Floral themes are looking like they’re here to stay, as well. In terms of colours, I see sunny yellow, silver, rich plum, navy blue (which is always loved), kale green, and micro florals settling themselves in nice and snug with interior design palettes. We’ll see some dramatic contrasts and a preference for smooth tones equally dominant in the year to come, for sure,’ says Ms Chow.
Coshamie: What about interior designers? Who do you think we should look out for in 2017?
‘Well, aside from the international names that we all look at these day, I can think of a few brands to watch out for next year – the first would be Ferris Rafauli, an up-and-coming designer I find very interesting. Jean Louis Deniot has done impressive collaboration work with Baker Furniture this year, so we’re definitely looking forward to next year’s project.’
‘I’m also waiting to see more surprises from the incredibly funky architect Peter Marino and his retail interiors with iconic names from the fashion world. And I should also highlight Gilles & Boissier, another amazing French interior design brand that we should definitely keep an eye on – their hospitality projects are exceptional.’
With the end of the year slowly creeping up on us, there’s a sense of change in the air, and not in a negative fashion. Consumers’ need for bespoke interiors continues to grow, creating stunning residential centrepieces and inspiring the undying connection between art and design.
While the notion of ‘trend’ in interior design is still difficult to pin down, there is absolutely no doubt that change will always be present on the design landscape. With that in mind, let’s get ready to wrap up 2016 and look forward to see what the future has in store for us.
Coshamie is a London-based boutique digital marketing agency that works exclusively with interior design and contemporary art brands, with a focus on great strategies – individually designed to grow brands and fit budgets. Our #EspressoBlog mirrors our commitment to, knowledge of and passion towards design and art. To find out more, have a look at our services or one of our case studies.