Now more than ever, we are seeing the lines blur within design…a cross pollination of materials, furniture and space utilisation has become noticeable between sectors. Workplaces are moving away from desk based environments and are embracing softer, more homely finishes and third space furniture. Residential developments are looking more like luxury hotels, while hotels are now introducing schemes that resemble communal apartment style spaces. Not to mention that in Tokyo, you can now stay in a hostel that masquerades as a bookshop.
Furniture design is progressing in tandem with this industry change, and in recent years, new furniture trends have been emerging to keep up with this shift. Old classics are being made over with a fresh face and manufacturers are now offering a wider range of finishes. The classic Bertoia Side Chair now comes in a more playful plastic version and last year we wrote about Walter Knoll’s revamp of some mid-century Turkish designs…the Burgaz, Rumi and Fishnet chairs. Not only that, Fritz Hansen also welcomed back the Drop chair after a 50 year hiatus. These pieces could reside happily within a restaurant or hotel setting, or just as easily suit an office, meeting or reception space.
Features such as two tone fabric, metallic, coloured and timber legs are more frequently offered as standard options now, making furniture more flexible than ever. These details are filtering through all sectors of design and have largely been embraced by manufacturers such as Frovi, Naughtone and Connection. Each boast a wide selection of finishes in their portfolio, creating a smorgasbord of options suitable for application across multiple sectors. Some of the most adaptable ranges available are the Ilk family of chairs (Frovi), the Always selection of chairs and lounges (Naughtone) and the Dixi range, from Connection.
In a move to broaden their appeal in the leisure and hospitality market, Walter Knoll have chosen to forego the recent trend of gold in favour of hand textured brass. Their unique brass pieces were showcased at IMM in Cologne last month with the 369 chair, Joco and Oki occasional tables. Walter Knoll feel that these items provide a warmth that was previously lacking in their collection, making them suitable for residential and hotel applications.
So, whether it’s chairs for an office meeting space, restaurant stools, or lounges for a hotel lobby, the blurred lines of furniture design now make it easier than ever to find just the right piece for any space.