Soft hues, a love of nature and a quest for comfort and wellbeing. These latest living trends, which were uncovered at Ambiente 2019, are shaped by calmness, warmth and humanity. If you step back from the hustle and bustle, you can dive into lovingly crafted worlds and let your personality shine through.
In a nutshell, relaxation is really important to all of us. Our homes are increasingly becoming havens of peace, people’s hideaways for rest and recuperation. This year, a clear picture emerged in interior design at Ambiente. Whichever interior world you stepped into – reduced, luxurious or rustic – the décor accessories and textiles had a thoroughly feel-good factor. Ambiente isn’t only a magnet for the international retail trade, it’s also a finely-tuned barometer that indicates the seams such as these that run through society. As we all declutter with Marie Kondo, it’s increasingly important to surround ourselves purely with cherished items, full of character. They need to have value, to relax us and to make us happy.
The new soft, toned-down trend colours include nuanced shades of pink, coral and pastels which combine subtly with darker colours. Our new favourite accent colour is a dash of mustard, whether on a small item of furniture or an accessory. On-trend velvet, cord, gold, sheepskin and other high-quality materials harmonise well with this new homely look in terms of both style and quality.
Hand-crafted in muted tones
Handmade embroidery, woven baskets, rugs and ethnic patterns bring the whole world to our living rooms. What began a few years ago as a trendy boho look is now firmly in the mix of modern interiors. Even here, cute pastel colours such as pink are a new ingredient which adds a little tenderness to homespun design. The story behind each design is at its most fascinating with the fairly traded and sustainable living accessories on offer here. Take Finnish label Tikau, whose philosophy of ‘trade and aid’ is present in every little detail of its products. Its name means ‘sustainable’ in Hindi. Founder Taina Snellman combines Scandinavian design with Indian craft skills, her foundation providing direct support to local people. Products from Made51 tell a similar story: they’re crafted in a project working with refugees and the UNHCR in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Liv Interior makes many items from recycled PET bottles, such as woven rugs and cushions.
Soft shapes round out the look
Curved contours and circular design elements could be seen throughout the exhibition halls at Ambiente. The new sculptural candlesticks and lamps, small, curvaceous items of furniture and decorative objects are highly effective, acting in particular as a soft-focus lens on otherwise straight-line, modern furniture. If it’s all getting a bit too edgy, why not throw in a curve ball? Lighting as objet d’art from designer Holländer invites meditation, with lamps like planets adding a mystical aspect to any space. Small graphic details such as the gently curving decorative seams on cushions by Blomus can also achieve a pleasingly soft effect. Even the otherwise straight-down-the-line Danes are turning round: Bloomingville and House Doctor have been spotted using circular details and Lind Dna is creating organically shaped furniture and accessories, shaping its recycled leather offcuts into comfy interiors.
Just the way you are: naturally distinctive
The greatest form of love is to accept someone for what they are. The same applies to product design: let a stone be a stone, let wood show its grain, let iron and concrete look heavy. It is what it is. Surfaces and materials are authentic and their true beauty shows through. The stone platters and candleholders Tom Dixon displayed at Ambiente are very decorative in their own, solid way. Serax presented a cast-concrete wine cooler which was almost an hommage to brutalist architecture. Even the hand-made pottery candleholders by Ro Collection have a rough surface which contrasts with the smooth candles, to unusual effect.
Artistic flowers: picture perfect
Flowers are striking and sensual against a dark background, like a baroque oil painting. Cushions, accessories and upholstery sport these elegant, contrasting motifs to dramatic effect. The flower patterns build sophisticated bridges between pastel hues and dark furniture. KARE Design has a whole collection of bold bouquets, and others such as AU Maison and Rice also employ floral designs. Belgian manufacturer Meisterwerke specialises in textiles as acoustic insulation, and showed off some beautiful wall panels that look like oil paintings, with embroidered details. Artificial flowers by Silk-ka added to the feeling of living in an extravagant painting: the handmade silk flowers were so lavish and arranged so artistically.
Where the wild things live
It’s nature’s way – after the plants come the animals. Tropical house plants such as palms, Swiss cheese plants and calatheas have had a big influence on interiors in recent years. Now wild animals are also invading the urban jungle… leopards, gorillas and other creatures have moved into the living room and kitchen, and even enjoy a bit of unashamed bling. These statement items give our exotic ‘pets’ a luxury upgrade, but still keep their character. Our lives can only be enriched by these fun flatmates!
Real feelings are what counts
Much more important than simply following the latest fashions is to create a sense of wellbeing in our interiors. And it’s a long time since designers have made it so easy for consumers to find and deploy their own authentic style, or to give it a fresh twist or two with home accessories, lamps and colours.