Hi, I’m Holly Becker and I’m so pleased to visit you today on the Ambiente blog. As an author, interior stylist and blogger, I’m always on the look out for new and inspiring things to share with my readers and clients. Today, I want to discuss trends but not the obvious ones (I’ll explain more in a moment) plus I want to talk about why and how your home needs to support you on all levels so you can reach your personal best (and your family too) and how attending a fair like Ambiente can help you reach your customers, clients and even yourself.
While I enjoy seeing what’s currently “on trend”, I’m more intrigued and inspired to predict what will come. I like to peer far below the surface to find the next big thing. One way I do this is to look for trends in thinking first – Not in what I see, but in what I hear and in how I feel – on a visceral level. If you train yourself to become more intuitive and emotionally intelligent, you’ll see that trends in thinking lead to everything else.
Today’s conversations become tomorrow’s trends
An example of this was when, over a decade ago, people were talking online (and in the corner coffee shop) about simplifying their lives, becoming environmentally responsible, de-cluttering, making deeper connections, and supporting local makers. They wanted to read more honest opinions (hence, the rise of blogging) and felt what their cool friends liked was way more important than what some editor at a posh magazine was telling them to like. Lots of magazines started to fold as a result. People craved a less decadent lifestyle and wanted to get back to the basics.
Today, you have this whole lifestyle that many dub the Hipster Movement. Thousands of photos of avocado toast on Instagram, expertly Photoshopped Pacific Northwest-inspired photography, minimal Scandinavian-influenced living quarters and models with solemn expressions that beg you to let them get back to what matters most: sipping leaf-patterned soy cappuccinos with their equally solemn friends.
This movement came from conversations I heard back in 2005 as I walked around Brooklyn and Boston simply listening. This shift in thinking was definitely obvious to me then. The keyword of this movement was “indie”. Indie craft sellers, indie films, indie music, indie design and indie fashion… Then this indie life and hipster movement began to spread through every market imaginable in western society ever since – like wildfire. What was once independent and local became mass-produced and global. This trend made its way to eastern lands – I’m constantly spotting western-inspired hipster cafes in Korea and Japan on Instagram, have you seen this too?
If you can start to identify themes in what people are gravitating towards, you can easily begin to forecast what’s coming from there whether it’s a trend in materials, colors, lifestyle, or anything else.
As for today, minimalist design, the importance of practical, beautiful storage and the urgency of being mindful are all here to stay. Ethical design is gaining importance. At Ambiente, I spotted many examples of the latest trend in living, namely flexible living. Mobile, modular furniture that can be easily moved to accommodate whatever you need it to. Even kitchens are influenced – the typical “built-in” style kitchens are no longer the only option – mobile cabinetry and work surfaces are gaining popularity which is perfect for renters. Also the importance of using honest, sensual materials in your home – honest meaning real – from nature… Wood, wool, stone and marble – along with soft materials that beg you to stay awhile and relax.
I saw a real focus on shapes too and how designers are playing with the shape of objects to give them more of an impact. Even light bulbs! This was seen mainly in lighting, ceramics and glass, and in seating. Cool, modern, minimal, sexy, moody – shapes and silhouettes that are sleek and definitely far from crafty or homemade.
I noticed stronger colors for Spring being introduced at the fair too. Not so much the muted playful pastels that you imagine when you think of Easter, but richer colors that are comforting, warm and inviting.
And mirrors. Mirrors are trending at the moment but not the typical ones you may be imagining from your local IKEA. Mirrors are looking very upscale and sexy or very minimalist at the moment. I saw lots of examples of mixing materials on mirrors – mirrors with copper edges, mirrors with wood accents, mirrors with black-antiqued glass.
While we’re discussing trends, I’m the first to admit that I don’t allow them to dictate how I work, what I purchase or how I style my home. I’m a bit of a rebel. When the masses say to look left, I look right. When color experts claim the color of the year is green, I paint my walls pale salmon. I’ve always known who I am and what I stand for, and what I need to be happy at home. When you know these things, you have the courage to buy what you want. Then there is a nice balance between what you envision and how your home actually looks. I love fairs because I can see what’s out there and then I can mix it up and have fun.
In design school you learn early on that you’ll first learn all of the design basics because later on, the best designers learn the rules for one reason – so they can go out into the world and break them. We should all use fairs like Ambiente to see what’s out there but then show how to mix it up and inject our our own personality into the trends we spot. That is where the magic begins.
Also with trends, I love to see how people are responding emotionally to what they see. It’s the psychology behind design that got me into this field in the first place. When I used to design corporate office spaces for a living, I remember the big reveal day when employees returned to their newly designed space. It was so obvious right away that they worked better. Those “expensive” ergonomic chairs, surrounded by thoughtful design that included everything from mobile, modular furnishings to wall panels that allowed employees to have privacy really made a huge impact.
When we gave our employees space with great art, beautifully designed cafes for coffee breaks, and nicely equipped conference rooms in relaxing colors, morale definitely improved. We noted fewer turnovers than before when they worked in clinical, emotionless offices with no attention to comfort or detail whatsoever.
This observation got me fired up and into residential design and is why I left corporate to study interior design in the first place – to help people find beauty and comfort at home that supported them emotionally, spiritually, everything! It’s also why I’ve been writing my design blog for over a decade and the reason behind the four design books I’ve written. My quest is to teach others about the genuine connection between the state of our home and our emotional state and why it’s so important to not to take it lightly.
Our home and office space directly impacts us – for better or worse
I don’t believe that beautiful things only please the eye; we respond to things on a very deep, emotional level whether we consciously are aware of it or not. The vase you love isn’t always because it’s pretty – there may be more to it. Perhaps it’s linked to a memory – it looks like something you received as a child or resembles one that your grandmother held dear to her heart. Maybe the color or texture reminds you of your favorite place or person. When you notice an object, think about how you are responding to it and help others to peel back these layers too.
Ambiente is diverse, massive and educational. It’s a great place for spotting trends and for predicting what is to come, too. Most of all, this fair gives you the chance to get in touch with yourself and through the exposure to so much at once, allows you to quickly sort through your likes and dislikes and then to carefully choose what resonates with you and why and to share that with others. Your strength isn’t in your ability to see what everyone else is seeing but to spotlight what stands out to you and to help others get in touch with their needs, too.
I can’t wait to visit Ambiente in 2018 to enjoy the fair once again and I’ll be back to share more of my thoughts on the fair for next year – see you then!