High Point Market, Fall 2015
A few weeks after returning home from High Point Market and I am still recovering from the five full days and nights of running around – looking for new lines, shopping High Point Market trends, attending design panels, parties celebrating new designer introductions and brand collaborations, and any excuse to throw a party. All from 8 am until midnight. Every. Single. Day.
But I would never trade the experience, as each time I return I do come home tired and worn, but in other ways, very energized. Because of High Point Market’s influence in the home furnishings market as well as the market’s sheer size (11.5 million square feet of show space and counting), it is the one place I can count on attending, knowing that I will walk away with a wealth of information. Attending High Point Market twice a year gives me an accurate read on the trends – what is emerging, what is holding strong, and what will soon retire. In addition, the educational and social events allow me to converse among my peers and manufacturers to determine what we will see more of in the future and the actual saleability of each of these trends in the designer and retail marketplace.
So without further ado, here are the trends I saw at High Point Market:
10 Top Trends in Home Furnishings
- Digital Printing
- Designer/Manufacturer collaborations
- Performance fabrics
- Small scale/Multi-function groupings
- Lighter finishes
- Metals – playing with textures and finishes
- Deep, rich indigo blues
- Concrete takes on a more sophisticated look
- Correcting Wood Imperfections – Just as much form as function
- Parchment/Goat Skin
The ability to print fabric has been around for quite some time but it has been a slow evolution into the mass market. Now more than ever I’ve seen the effects of digital printing take over the market, with designers collaborating with manufacturers and even manufacturers collaborating with other manufacturers to create targeted collections.
Digitally printed wood tile manufacturer Mirth Studio teamed up with Detroit Wallpaper Co. and now Mirth’s prints can be found on wallcoverings, including a variety of substrates (grass cloth being my favorite) and Detroit Wallpaper’s prints can now be found on Mirth’s floor tiles. A win-win situation for both companies, but the biggest winner? The consumer.
Phillip Jeffries debuted a new line of digitally printed wallpaper that is printed on a variety of natural grounds, including Manila hemp and silk. To the naked eye it looks painstakingly hand-painted but is in fact digitally printed. It is still quite costly, but perhaps less than the art of hand painting.
While printing on fabric and wallpaper is now at a point where it is finally obtainable, DXV demonstrated another type of printing that is still in its infancy. I was one of a selected few to observe the world’s first 3-D printed faucet in operation at the Bienenstock Furniture Library. Fascinating as it was, there is much more to be seen with this technology. While the first faucets will be available for order by the beginning of the year, they are still at a price point where they are only obtainable to a small percentage of the population(sadly, myself NOT included). However, given time and advances in technology and efficiency, this is just a hint of what we can expect in the future.
Designers have been collaborating with manufacturers for years, Barbara Barry and Baker Furniturebeing one collaboration that has been around for quite some time. Because of the advances in modern technology as well as the celebrity status that many designers have obtained, now everyone I know has their own line. This market there were collections unveiled by Kate Spade for Jaipur (rugs and pillows),
Visual Comfort (lighting) and EJ Victor (furniture), a collection by another fashion designer, Cynthia Rowley for Hooker, Julia Buckingham for Global Views,
River Spencers for Tritter Feefer, and on one evening I attended an event with Guildery, an on-demand printed textile company that offers prints in a variety of fabric qualities that are suitable for the home furnishings and fashion market. On many of their prints, colors can be edited and viewed in real time on their website, which makes for a great visual tool. In addition, Guildery offers a program where their on-demand prints can be fashioned into headboards, ottomans, pillows, and now even gift wrap and wallpaper. Designer collaboration also ties in with the first trend mentioned above, digital printing. Because there is no longer a need to set up screens for printing, minimum requirements are low, which now makes having one’s own collection a possibility. Collections from friends Courtney Lake, Kerrie Kelly, Paloma Contreras all made their debut with Guildery (and it was so much fun celebrating with them) and are now available online… and soon at my retail shop and to-the-trade showroom which will be opening up before the end of the year.
Nowadays it is not only about having a beautiful home, but comfort and livability is also key. Until the most recent advances were made, fabrics utilizing Crypton, a high performance fabric with protection from stains, odor, and mildew, were used mainly in contract applications. In the home, the same performance features were important but fabric utilizing Crypton was not suitable because they were somewhat stiff and aesthetically did not have the look and texture that one would want in the home. Because of the recent advances in technology that gave Crypton the look and feel that could be used in the home, a new home division was born, Crypton Home. These fabrics have many of the tactile characteristics that one would find in a non-performance fabric. Soft chenilles, velvet upholstery in the home can look AND feel good while holding up against everyday wear, spills, stains and odor. This market Thibaut introduced Crypton Home, and it was one of the most talked about introductions, and rightfully so. As a matter of fact, I am using one the Thibaut/Crypton fabrics for one of the floor samples for my new store – this way when red wine is spilled during my grand opening party, I can blot it up and won’t have to worry about a thing.
As many households are downsizing, the need for smaller scale furniture is on the rise. While I’ve seen groupings of small scale cocktail tables on the rise for the last couple of markets, this market their presence seemed to multiply and groupings of small multi-function tables were included in every showroom and collection that I viewed. However, now more interesting shapes and materials are being introduced. Simpler, upholstered shapes are being replaced with interesting open bases, a combination of materials, and a variety of finishes.
Perhaps a prediction of Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year, Simply White, but finishes are starting to get lighter and lighter – some washed or weathered and others cerused with some variation of white as an accent. Color trends are believed to reflect the state of the economy. Because white symbolizes optimism and a fresh new start, I hope that this is where our economy is headed in the near future. Regardless, I love the direction that white and lighter finishes is taking.
Not only was an emphasis on a variety of metal finishes seen throughout market with chrome, copper, rose gold, and brass in polished and satin versions. But long gone are the days of matching metals, and these days metals are meant to be mixed instead of matched. Over the last few markets we’ve seen the evolution from silver/nickel finishes into brass, copper and now rose gold.
Bernhardt took the metal trend one step further by placing an emphasis on the artisanal craft of metalworking. Below, their Barcelona sideboard is crafted by meticulously carving out reclaimed teak. The result is then hand clad with German silver, a mix of nickel, copper, and zinc, which emphasizes the intricately carved details. A piece that is not only a showstopper, but is also very durable.
Deep, Rich Indigo Hues
Some say that blue never goes out of style, and I agree when it comes to indigo blue. Blue looked fresher than ever with deep, rich blues being used in prints emulating traditional block prints at Thibaut.(Notice the bench in the foreground, that is made of Thibaut’s Crypton line)
or one of the most interesting uses, digitally printed wallcovering (trend #1) from Black Crow Studios being used as the door fronts for a buffet at John Strauss which is then given a protective coating and paired with a color conversion varnish matched frame giving it a totally custom look.
Concrete has been important for a couple of seasons, evolving from the Brutalist trend. Brutalism is defined as an architectural movement which was characterized by rough, exposed concrete surfaces. These once rough surfaces that we saw a couple of seasons ago are now evolving into more sophisticated forms, with concrete now polished and more refined by being mixed with metals, acrylic, and wood.
Wood Imperfections becomes just as much Form as Function
In the past, a piece of wood with imperfections such as a split or crack was considered undesirable. Now, these natural occurrences are celebrated and an effort is taken to bring attention to these areas with contrasting wood butterfly joints or even decorative brass joints.
Taracea‘s collection of lazy susans offer butterfly joints in different shapes, making it a true centerpiece of the dining room table.
Parchment, made of goat skin that is scraped and dried under tension, was historically used as a surface on which to write. In the late 60s-early 70s it was widely used by Karl Springer in many of his modern table designs. The 1970s era design made a resurgence at High Point Market and the use of parchment in furniture was one of several ways it made an appearance.
Attending High Point Market is always an adventure as I never know what I will come across. I must say that it is interesting to see the contrast in how technology is taking over the market in many ways with digital printing and other modern manufacturing techniques, but at the same time there is a return to workmanship, and the craft of the process, where old world techniques are used to create furniture as art but for today’s design aesthetic.
There were actually many more trends and recurring themes I observed such as the color pink and orange (especially of the Hermès persuasion), a return to the 70s, and acrylic being used in interesting ways and in combination with wood, metal, and concrete. Stay tuned – we may be seeing more of these trends the next time High Point Market rolls around in April…or perhaps on my showroom floor once my store opens in the next few weeks.