Fun Meets Function.

Guest post by Shelby Wax,

Where is design heading in 2020? While we are trying to make less of an impact on the environment and create more efficient products for our homes, there is still no shortage of creativity. That’s why fun and functional design is the trend we can’t help but love.


When Function Gets Fun

Wandering the halls of Ambiente, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of amazing products from around the globe. With 4,600 vendors sharing their products, it’s no surprise. While each designer provides a unique perspective to their work, you can’t deny that a few trends are making an impact within the interiors world.

Thankfully, there’s a major shift in the industry as a whole to make sustainability a priority. Whether that translates to adjusting practices, shifting which materials are sourced, or using recycled resources, production is looking a little greener. While we wouldn’t like to call environmentally conscious products a “trend” per se, it is a huge movement and reflects how the community is embracing the fight against climate change.

But, when it purely comes down to the design, function is meeting up with fun. No longer are appliances meant to be hidden away or put in storage. The line between decorative and useful has blurred, we see fun and functional design. Across Ambiente, there were tons of excellent products that are as efficient as they are chic. As many people now live in smaller homes or apartments, it’s important that every item should be prepared to be put on display. Placing an item within the home should be intentional, so every piece is now being made with extra care.


Take for example the gorgeous pour-over coffee makers by Melitta. While it can easily be used to brew a perfect cup to start up someone’s day, it’s also imbued with an intentional aesthetic. Styled amongst other modern decor items, the appliance feels elevated thanks to its bold shape and hue. As many kitchens are embracing open shelving, designers are adapting these common products so they can easily be put on display and not feel like an eyesore within a room.

While kitchen appliances are getting an update, so is the serveware. The elegant glass bowls at Dovetusai Milano were definitely one standout at Ambiente. Not only are they uniquely crafted pieces that can make a playful statement on the dinner table, they also can brave the heat. Rather than being created just for serving up a casserole, these blown-glass dishes can actually be used to cook meals, too. The pieces are engineered so they can easily withstand high temperatures in the oven. Yet with their beautiful design, even a simple culinary experience can feel more fun.

Dovetusai Milano

Another surprising mix of form and function is Kenko, a brand for sports equipment. However, these aren’t your average barbells. While most weights and athletic items don’t take aesthetics into account, the design is paramount for them. Created with minimalist principles in mind, the design studio produced a line that is filled with beautifully crafted pieces in maple wood, walnut and cork. From wood rings meant to assist your push-ups to resistance bands that could blend into most modern spaces with ease, Kenko is making sure that getting a workout doesn’t have to compromise your home’s design. While they don’t look like athletic gear at first glance, these products are the perfect complement to a modern home gym.


The New Neutrals

As minimalism comes into play, it’s important to note that color is taking on a more subdued tone in the year ahead. Neutral hues abounded at Ambiente. Shades of white, clay, and beige were found all around in ceramics, textiles, furniture, and decor. However these pieces were anything but boring. The softer tones often were found in combination with natural textures and bold shapes.

Layering multiple neutral hues together is one trend to bring intrigue to these more muted shades. MAOMI has an excellent example of this with its collection of porcelain plates from its Kaya line. While customers can purchase a set all in one color, the display at Ambiente mixed everything up and showed just how fun a neutral hue can be.


You can’t talk about neutrals without mentioning the influence of Scandinavian design. As I took a look at the new collection from Normann Copenhagen, I was excited to see how the champions of hygge design were going bold as well. While there are definitely some pieces in classic hues, many of the designs have a slightly richer take on neutrals. Rather than the usual sandy beige you would find many in Scandinavian decor accents. The products embrace a peachy hue that would definitely bring a fun pop to a home.

Normann Copenhagen

Ceramics Go Bold

Not only is Normann Copenhagen’s collection playing around with color, it also is taking on another trend that was seen throughout Ambiente: ceramics in bold, fresh shapes. A vase is no longer just a receptacle to showcase some blooms. These designs are playing with form, color, and material to transform these objects into works of art.

Normann Copenhagen
António Rosa Ceramics

While classic Portuguese ceramics have long held a place of honor, some of the country’s artisans are modernizing their styles as well. The Konsensual line from António Rosa Ceramics is one highlight. Bold shapes and unique color choices make these designs from a traditional producer into total showstoppers.

Time to Play

While the shapes and colors of these pieces definitely lend themselves to the trend of playfulness in design, a few others actually encourage you to really interact with the objects.

Designer Annika Sparkes created one piece that’s flexible for a fan of florals. Roadie is a vase with two detachable parts. By placing them on top of a base, the design takes on a new shape that enables florals to be displayed in different forms. This flexibility allows for creativity and play with just one object.

Annika Sparkes

Fundamental Berlin has multiple pieces that require the human touch to finalize the design. For instance, the Push collection features a series of discs in brass. While the designs arrive flat upon arrival, the owner only has to apply pressure with their hand to transform the material into a bowl or tray. If they want light to reflect off in a different way, they can play around with the surface to change the experience. The pieces are still functional. They just want you to become a creator, too.

Fundamental Berlin
Fundamental Berlin

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