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Trend Recap: Dwell on Design 2014


Dwell on Design, held in Los Angeles this past weekend, was bigger than it has ever been, with an impressive roster of exhibitors from around the world representing the best in modern design.  With over 300 exhibitors that included everything needed to build a house, furnish it, landscape it, and then some, Dwell on Design was a plethora of inspiration for modern design and living. With Dwell on Design being one of the few local trade shows I attend, I was ecstatic that I was able to work and come home every night to my own warm bed.  Just because I was in my hometown didn’t mean I was able to take it easy. I spent 3 full days on the show floor making my way from booth to booth, I attended a couple of twitter chats, spotted current design trends, and this year I also had the privilege of presenting Trend Watch: Color and Finishes in the Kitchen along with Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances and Diana Budds, Senior Editor of Dwell Magazine.   Enough of my chatter – I know you’re here for the trends, so without further ado, here they are:

  • Surface Innovation
  • Woodworking: Craft meets Design
  • Micro Living / Stylish Design
  • Faceted and Functional
  • Dual Function Fixtures
  • Customizable Color

Surface Innovation

Recent advances in technology have made way for new surface innovations that were never before possible.

FENIX NTM by Arpa Industriale


Images via Fenix

Fenix NTM , developed by Italian manufacturer Arpa Industriale, is an innovative  nanotech laminate surface with a core made of paper and thermosetting resins. It is suitable for both horizontal and vertical applications and is used and applied in much the same as a traditional laminate.  However,  its performance is far superior because it uses nanotechnology.  This new technology allows for extremely low reflectivity because of the size and density of the particles, and this results in a soft, matte appearance which is resistant to the much loathed fingerprint.  Like many of the newer surface materials to recently come to market, Fenix NTM has enhanced anti-bacterial properties, is resistant to heat and scratches, lightfast , and is impermeable to moisture.  In addition, micro-scratches are self healing simply by applying heat from a standard iron.  The heat stimulates the molecules in the material to reposition and micro-scratches disappear! And guess what – no unsightly brown lines along the seams!  The collection currently consists of 8 solid colors, 3 irridescent colors, 2 wood grains, and one stone.


Image on left via Fenix

The Watermark Cabinet from Fringe Studio

For the Watermark Cabinet, Fringe Studio designer Stacy Binns used components from the Mixi Modular line but finished the exterior with what she affectionately refers to as her “secret sauce”. This unique “secret sauce” process allows any high resolution image to wrap around the exterior of any of the case goods in the collection using the latest in digital printing, and the results Stacy produces are stunning.  So stunning that Fringe Studio won the much deserved Best Furniture Award.  I am excited to see where she will take this process  in future collections.Dwell on Design-Fringe Studio

Dwell on Design-Fringe Studio 2

Woodworking: Craft Meets Design

Meticulous craftsmanship in woodworking is not a lost art and designers are once again merging craft with design and an emphasis is placed on the grain of the wood.

Thos. Moser

Thos. Moser has long been associated with quality, craftsmanship, function and beauty, and the tradition continues with the FLC | Fahmida Chair.

Dwell on Design-Thos Moser

The FLC | Fahmida Chair is the creation of Fahmida Lam, an emerging residential furniture and accessories designer and 2013 Pratt graduate.  She is one of two designers who worked with Thos. Moser through the Emerging Designers Program, a one week apprenticeship with Adam Rogers, Director of Design at Thos. Moser, and the result was the FLC | Fahmida Chair.

The FLC | Fahmida Chair is influenced by Danish Modern style but is executed utilizing the traditional joinery techniques that have become the Thos. Moser calling card for more than 40 years.

Dwell on Design-Thos-Moser-1


The Reveal Collection from Plyboo is a series of carved and textured panels constructed of bamboo.  When carved, the grain of the inner layers are revealed, creating a play on shapes and grain.  In addition, the bamboo Plyboo uses in its product is 100% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified, as the material comes from well- managed forests,  and the final product is manufactured without the use of formaldehyde, making it an eco-friendly choice for the home.
Dwell on Design-Plyboo


Cresta Chair, designed by Jörg Boner

The Cresta Chair, designed by Swiss Designer Jörg Boner, blends the simple lines of a traditional Alpine wooden chair with modern wood-processing technology and a contemporary aesthetic.  The seat is made of three parts that are connected with finger joints along the base of the back and at the rear of the seat.  The mid-section that connects the back and seat consists of beautiful graining that is rarely seen in today’s mass produced furniture.

Micro-Living / Stylish Design

Space has become increasingly limited due to the urbanization of America. In response, manufacturers are designing furniture and fixtures for the home to reduce the physical footprint in the home.  But small spaces does not come at the expense of sacrificing design, and design is as stylish as ever.


Swiss manufacturer Geberit,  known for pioneering the technology behind wall hung toilets is once again shaking up toilet design with the Monolith toilet. For over 125 years Geberit has focused on innovation, quality and reliability, and revolutionized toilet design 50 years ago with their in-wall tank technology, allowing for the space saving wall hung toilet. Geberit uses that same technology but is now featuring the tank on the outside of the wall.  The slender, space saving tank on the outside of the wall allows for easier installation, as the existing wall does not have to be disturbed. The Monolith replaces the traditional bulky tank with a slim brushed metal and glass faced white or black rectangular tank outfitted with either a wall hung or  floor mount bowl from Duravit. Glass as a surface treatment is also something I have been seeing making it’s way into  the kitchen as the surface for  high-end appliances, and now Geberit is at the forefront of design by introducing this same surface treatment in the bathroom.


Image on left via Geberit

But that’s not all – in addition to its sleek form, the Geberit Monolith also brings function to the table with a dual flush toilet  that is quieter than traditional toilets and exceeds EPA WaterSense standards. The Monolith saves the average family of four thousands of gallons of water a year while being gentle on the Earth’s water resources.  It’s sleek, modern design saves space, complements any bathroom’s design aesthetic, and offers new possibilities in bathroom design.

To see more of the Geberit Monolith, visit the Geberit  Houzz Profile where there is a bounty of ideas on how to incorporate the Geberit Monolith into your own home.

Resource Furniture

Resource Furniture does it again by bringing us space saving furniture from Italy, which enables the small space dweller to lounge in the living room by day, sleep in the bedroom by night. Perfect for the chic city dweller where space is at a premium. I first saw Resource Furniture last year at Dwell on Design and they continue to up their game!Dwell-on-Design-Resource-Furniture

You can also see how easy the transformation process is by  by clicking on the video below:

The Vero Collection by Duravit

Duravit adds bathroom furniture to coordinate with the rectangular shaped Vero Collection.  The wall hung unit offers ample under the sink storage yet is compact in size – perfect in a bathroom where style is of utmost importance but space is an issue.

Dwell on Design-Duravit

Vero Collection by Duravit

GE Micro-Kitchen

This next feature is a game changer in kitchen design.  On Saturday, Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design at GE Appliances, revealed GE’s New Micro-Kitchen Concept at Dwell on Design on the GE Monogram Innovation Stage.  ( I had a sneak peek while visiting the Monogram Experience Center at GE Appliance Park in Louisville, KY last October!)

GE Micro-Kitchen

image via GE Appliances

With many of us downsizing and simplifying the way we live, there is an increasing demand for more efficient living spaces.  Even though we may be seeking smaller spaces, we have grown accustomed to the amenities in our kitchens and do not want to lose these luxuries.  In response to this demand, GE came up with a prototype micro-kitchen and is the first manufacturer to have a micro-factory production facility called First Build in Louisville, KY that will enable the company to quickly prototype, make and sell small batches of the micro kitchens in late 2014.

The concept aims on delivering “full-sized appliances but in pint-sized packages”.  While a prototype was presented on Saturday,  Lenzi and his industrial design team continue to think up new ways of delivering what will make our lives easier, and concepts continue to evolve.

The unit below incorporates a radiant glass cooktop, downdraft ventilation system, microwave oven, conventional oven, a convertible refrigerator and freezer, and a kitchen sink with disposal in 24″ wide modules.  It’s hard to believe that all of the features mentioned above are contained in the space shown below so scroll down and see for yourself!


Images via GE Appliances

Faceted and Functional

Facets have been used in decorative applications for the past season, but now facets are not strictly about form and aesthetics – they are also an integral part of the product’s function.

Shanghai Lounge Chair, Inch Furniture

The Shanghai Lounge Chair constructed by Inch Furniture from sustainably managed oiled teak, a black lacquered steel frame, and black leather was made in collaboration with a wood-processing technical college in Indonesia.  The gently  sculpted faceted surfaces mold to the body for maximum comfort.

Dwell on Design-INCH Furniture

The Shanghai Lounge Chair by INCH Furniture

The Armchair by Spooning Armchair

Constructed with corrugated plastic and fitted with aluminum screw posts, the Armchair by Spooning Armchair is lightweight, water proof, weather resistant, ideal for indoor/outdoor use, and is 100% recyclable.  A 100% wool felting lines each edge, ensuring that there are no sharp edges.  Another bonus – each chair is signed by Roy Kesrouani, the artist himself – a fabulous gentleman who I also had the pleasure of chatting with while at Dwell on Design.


Armchair by Spooning Armchair


 Dual Function Fixtures

As our lives continue to get busier and busier, we have even less time for even the most trivial of events.  The fixtures in our homes are now capable of doing double duty by serving more than just one function, eliminating the need for a second fixture, conserving space  and shaving a few seconds off of each use.

Deque by Dornbracht

Dornbracht never disappoints with their innovative fixtures for the kitchen and bath. No need to explain here – the pictures tell it all.  The end of the spout can be rotated and used as a drinking fountain. Also note the bold use of mixed metals, which are sure to make a statement in the bathroom.

Dwell on Design-Dornbracht 2

Deque by Dornbracht


Deque by Dornbracht

Cubo by Cerno

Cubo by Cerno is an ingeniously designed  wall sconce that can transform itself into a reading light simply by pulling the arm out from behind the shade, swiveling the fully articulated arm and head, and pointing the light in the desired direction.  It has a solid walnut body, aluminum arms, a polymer shade , and has a energy-efficient LED light source that is fully dimmable. And the best feature – it leaves you with an uncluttered bedside table!


Cubo by Cerno

All-In-One PAT One Piece Basin with Dyson Airblade Tap by Neo-Metro

The PAT One Piece Basin from Neo-Metro  has to be one of the most innovative fixtures on the market, as it is a sink, faucet, and hand dryer all rolled up into one unit.  The PAT One Piece Basin is a collaboration between high end contemporary bath decor manufacturer Neo-Metro and vacuum/fan giant Dyson.  With the hand drying system attached to the sink, hands can be dried in 14 seconds with no need to move to a separate hand drying area.  Cost, cleanup, and waste is minimized with this eco-friendly, low environment impact wash basin.  PAT is a soy based solid surface, is scratch/chip resistant, and is available in 3 colors – white, grey and red. I would really like to test one of these out in my own home- if it does what it says it does, I’d say it’s brilliant!

Neo-Metro PAT - Tap Grey

Image via Neo-Metro

Customizable Color

Custom color options has become a staple in many of today’s more successful lines, as the demand from the consumer continues to rise.

DacorMatch Color System by Dacor

While in New York for the Architectural Digest Home Show this past March, I witnessed companies such as Prizer Hoods and Big Chill offer an endless selection of color.  While most still prefer to play it safe with stainless, the consumer that once toyed with the powder pink Kitchen Aid stand mixer now has the opportunity to move to bigger and better things such as the oven and kitchen range to make a statement with color.

At Dwell on Design, Dacor launched the DacorMatch Color System for its smart cooking appliances, which includes the Discovery iQ 48″ Dual-Fuel Range, the Discovery iQ 30″ Wall Oven, and the Renaissance series.  With DacorMatch, customers can color match any color imaginable simply by providing a swatch.  In addition, the Dacor team has selected 10 color options for the line, including Crimson, Envy, Black Tie, Tangerine, Cordon Bleu, Citron, Smoke, Sangria, Arctic, and Radiant Orchid, the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year. Ok, I’m not so sure about radiant orchid in the kitchen, but I’d give any of the other colors a shot!

Dwell on Design -Dacor

With the invention of LED lighting, many possibilities opened up in lighting design – one of which is the ability to further customize the user experience by changing the color of  light.  The customized light features on the products shown are not the main features, but rather an added bonus to enhance the user experience.

 Sigma80 Flush Plate by Geberit

Geberit‘s Sigma80 flush plate offers hands free dual flush technology with the swipe of a hand.  The customizable LED lighting allows the user to match the user’s design aesthetic or mood.  Every Sigma80 Flush Plate offers 5 light colors and the plate is available in a black or reflective glass to further customize the look to the space.

Dwell-on-Design-Geberit-Sigma80Curious to see how the Sigma80 works?  Watch the quick 40 second video below to see for yourself:


Last but not least, we have True  and their under mount beverage refrigerators that come equipped with customizable  LED lighting to appease any mood.  As you may know, red is said to stimulate the appetite, orange promotes conversation and social activity, blue symbolizes optimism, strength, and trust, and green represents growth and peace.  So what color would you show off in your beverage refrigerator?

Dwell on Design-True

Dwell on Design-TrueAnd there you have it – the major trends seen at this year’s Dwell on Design.  There are a couple other trends I’d like to cover such as the arrival of Copper in fixtures, but I will cover that in a later post.  Wow, this was a whopper of a recap.  Stay tuned for more on Dwell on Design.  Next up I’ll be rounding up my favorite picks… there are quite a few, so stay tuned!

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 This post is brought to you by Geberit, however,  all opinions expressed are my own.