Another High Point Market has come and gone and I finished yet another recap of the spring 2019 design trends seen at High Point Market. As always, this market was busier than ever. So many things to see and do and no matter how much I extend my trip, there’s never enough time!
WHAT I DID AT SPRING MARKET
For the fourth market in a row, I led the High Point Market Insider’s Tour and curated a diverse mix of showrooms in and around High Point that focus on customization or a one of a kind product. This time we visited 15 showrooms in total, in a whirlwind “speed dating” type format. Other than leading the one day tour, I spent 5 days at High Point visiting as many showrooms as I could to shop for clients, the store, and to get a firm understanding of the Spring 2019 Design Trends at High Point Market.
OBSERVING AND COLLECTING DATA TO DETERMINE WHAT IS TRENDING
I take every ounce of information I soak in during my time at High Point to write a comprehensive report of the key trends I observe. People always ask me why I attend every market, and the main reason is because not only am I shopping for my own clients, but I am also catering to the designers who shop our trade program – I am their eyes and ears at market so I always have to keep abreast of what is new and trending. Because I attend every market, and have a visual record of what I’ve seen, each market I make a new record of the new, stand out intros. By carefully observing my camera roll, I start to see recurring themes, some more obvious than others. Being well read on what is going on in the industry also helps me to know what to look out for.
SPRING 2019 DESIGN TRENDS – HIGH POINT MARKET
So what were the top 13 Spring 2019 design trends? Here is a list of my key observations:
- Against the Grain
- The Evolution of the Green Trend– An ambiguous shade of evergreen with hints of blue and grey
- The New Swivel Chair– High style without having to sacrifice comfort
- Organic Glamour – Shimmer and Shine
- Plump It Up – Curves and more rounded/plump silhouettes
- Frieze Frame
- Digital Printing
- Rounded Up – Ovals are rounding out with a 180 degree radius
- Gothic Glam
- It’s All About Comfort – Move over, RH Cloud
- Play on Proportion
- Biophilic Design
- Maximalism – mixing of pattern/prints in varying color and scale
THE SPRING 2019 DESIGN TRENDS- My observations explained
AGAINST THE GRAIN
Parquetry – the art of using geometric wood mosaic for decorative effect has been around since the 1600s but as with many design trends, we see its popularity come and go. I currently notice a use of this art form in some of the newest introductions at market – those lines leaning towards a more fashion-forward aesthetic.
Wood Grain Cuts and Sawing Techniques
Wood grain can take on different a different appearance, depending on what cut is used – plain-sawn, quarter-sawn, or rift-sawn, with rift-sawn being the most expensive of the three, as in order to produce this desired cut, there is more waste.
This newcomer to market used quarter-sawn walnut laid in opposing directions along with brass inlay to create drama, and this was definitely a High Point Market highlight. I’m always looking for fresh, new lines and this was undoubtedly a stand out.
Here is an entire collection dedicated to parquetry and brass inlay and I loved every piece. The attention to hardware choices may have been subtle, but they were well thought out and recalled the style of Giò Ponti.
Not only was parquetry seen in the more modern collections, but the trend also reached lines with a more traditional aesthetic, displaying the art form using the same technique as when it was originally introduced but in styles that speak to today’s interpretation of traditional design.
Geometric wood grain mosaics that also featured different cuts of wood as well as 5 different finishes, was definitely a unique concept, as normally furniture designers tend to stick to one cut of wood and create variation with the shape or direction of the grain, and not the TYPE of grain.
THE EVOLUTION OF GREEN
Having traveled to Europe earlier in the year for Heimtextil, I noticed that the green color palette was evolving. Even though we’ve been seeing an abundance of deep, saturated emerald green, in Europe there was a noticeable shift and here in the states the more fashion-forward lines that are geared to designers are catching on and introducing this ambiguous shade of green that isn’t quite forest green as it has hints of blue and grey. It is the color of a Wichita Blue Juniper tree, to be exact.
I was blown away by both of the spaces above – the one on the left by Richard Mishaan for Theodore Alexander, (also a fashion designer turned interior designer like myself) and Rajni Alex’s spectacular space for “Showhouse in a Showroom”, held in the Alden Parkes showroom. This new shade of green is quite the thing. Mixed with a palette of mint it’s even more becoming.
THE NEW SWIVEL CHAIR – HIGH FASHION + COMFORT
You’ve seen it – the ubiquitous tub swivel chair. It is in almost every upholstery line and is everyone’s best seller. Well, the time has come to switch things up, and after seeing the new swivel chairs this market, I see that manufacturers are taking notice that the swivel chair is a staple in today’s home and that it is ok to mix things up. Not that all good things must come to an end, but we need to keep the market moving by introducing new products to keep things fresh and new. This market I saw interesting new shapes that do not sacrifice comfort.
Thayer Coggin President Royal Wiggin, who also happens to be Thayer’s daughter, travels to Europe every year to observe the current furniture trends and she brings back her inspiration that is not only used in developing new collections by Ransom Culler, but in determining which pieces to pull from the Thayer Coggin archives and reintroduce. This market Mercury, originally designed by Milo Baughman in 1980 was reintroduced to the world. The perfect pitch, and the body conforming cushions make the chair just as comfortable as it is handsome.
A swivel in disguise, that unlike most swivel chairs, sits on four legs. On the right, new Art-Deco inspired silhouettes prove that comfort and fashion can come hand in hand.
More Art-Deco inspired swivel silhouettes and on the right, a unique shaped swivel with a slightly masculine edge, but as with all the other swivels, comfort plays a big role.
In several showrooms that I visited there was a movement towards lighter neutrals and shimmery surfaces, with organic materials being the driving force.
Because each quartz cluster comes from nature and no two are alike, this dresser below can be considered a one of a kind work of art.
At Bernhardt Interiors, the Arcadia Dining Table undergoes a unique process which involves pouring a high quality acrylic over planks of wood. In order to remove the wood, it is burned and the charred remains are brushed away. This leaves the wood grain embossed on the underside of the acrylic. This texture is then painted with a silver leaf, and the silver highlights the rough texture. The glass that is placed above provides a smooth surface yet allows the beauty of the wood to shine through.
There is nothing that exudes luxury the way a textured crocodile hide does. These door fronts were molded from a crocodile, and was then stained and treated to look like a prized albino crocodile hide.
Some manufacturers used natural quartz crystal and selenite, as well as organic shapes that mimic nature to create unique lighting designed to elevate the spaces they occupy.
PLUMP IT UP
We’ve been seeing a lot of curves lately. When one of our furniture greats passes on, we honor them by recognizing their contributions to the world of interior design, and this was evidently the case with Vladimir Kagan’s passing. All throughout market we saw the beautiful, sinuous curves that can be attributed to his signature style.
The sweeping curves of Nathan Anthony’s 3-legged Juliet sofa wrap around like a cocoon – a very SEXY cocoon…
As with any style, they evolve, and the alluring curves are filling out now and are on steroids, looking plumped up and more voluptuous than ever.
For her inaugural collection for Universal Furniture, Nina Magon included a swivel chair that is plump, yet petite.
I was especially intrigued by the attention that Bruce Andrews brought to his newest collection of upholstery. I don’t quite remember what he called his sectional but it was something to the effect of “snuggle sofa”, as that’s exactly what it feels like when you jump right in. Actually, it’s really called the “Paval Sectional Cuddle-Sofa”. See – I was close! The backs with wide-radius rounded corners were especially attractive and brought me back to the 80s!
I first met Bruce Andrews this past January when we both traveled to Frankfurt for Heimtextil as part of a press tour and I am so glad we met – he has a great eye for style and a great feel for comfort, as is evident in his custom upholstery line.
It’s always interesting to see how furniture designers reinterpret classic designs for today. Case in point, the frieze. Whenever anyone makes reference to a frieze, it always takes me back to Art History 101 and Ancient Greece, where intricately carved bas-relief scenes graced the entablatures of Greek temples. In ancient Egypt friezes were used to tell a story. As the years went by, we saw papyrus, egg and dart, and other references to nature in friezes.
This market I noticed friezes used as an integral design detail in furnishings much like how they were once used in architecture, but by using modern and more simplified motifs. As simple as these shapes may be, they are the perfect example of classic design made modern. The frieze below from one of Bernhardt’s newest introductions is an interpretation of an embroidered trim with buttoned accents.
Alexa Hampton’s new collection for Theodore Alexander pays homage to the frieze in several of her pieces.
DIGITAL PRINTING RAMPS UP
Digital printing only gets better and better as technology continues to advance. I noticed that digital printing is playing a more prominent role in the world of textiles and wallcoverings, where they are able to push the boundaries with unlimited color and fewer restrictions on size and scale. The same goes for furniture, even case goods, where digital printing is now commonplace on wood and other hard substrates. What a statement these pieces make!
Friend and fellow designer Michel Smith Boyd debuted his collection with 1429 Mfg. (bottom right) which consisted of digitally printed cabinetry and countertops. With their use of digital print technology, one can choose from their wide range of patterns available, which can also be scaled, or one can also submit their own artwork, provided that the image file and resolution is large enough. The future is digital!
Oval shapes in table tops (especially those with bases inspired by Saarinen) have received much attention over the past few years. As all trends do, this trend is evolving and the oval shapes with narrower ends are being replaced with more of a rectangle with rounded ends, and in some cases a 180 degree arc. As with upholstery, curves in case goods are plumping up as well.
Sharp corners are being replaced with a wider radius and softer corners and curves.
While on one end of the spectrum there is a current shift from dark to lighter woods, on the other end we’re shifting further away to black with a gothic yet still glamorous edge.
Dark, moody and a little rock and roll…
MOVE OVER, CLOUD
If you’re a designer who belongs to any one of the online groups where people ask advice and sourcing questions, you’ll notice that there have been many discussions about the RH Cloud sofa. As much as I am not a fan of RH, they are great at marketing themselves and their showrooms are accessible to the consumer. In many cases, RH is all the consumers know and it is our job as designers to open our clients’ eyes to other similar (but better) options on the market.
RH Cloud Alternatives
It makes me happy to see that manufacturers are addressing the demand for the RH Cloud. It isn’t for everyone, and in some cases it takes constant maintenance – fluffing regularly (every day if you are OCD) and for an older person like myself, it takes a lot of effort for me to get out of. But for those younger and a bit more agile, all the options here are winners and a perfect alternative to the RH cloud.
The PLUSH Collection was created by Bernhardt in their quest to create the world’s most comfortable sofa. It was designed lower and deeper, and made for sinking into. Natural fabrics and relaxed styling make the Bernhardt Plush Feather Down Cushion the perfect choice for the consumer that is looking for both comfort and style. Styles range from modern to traditional, with modular pieces offered in the Sanctuary Collection (shown). These modular pieces allow for a myriad of customized configurations. While in the showroom, I did a tush test, and unlike the RH Cloud, PLUSH was much easier to get out of and the cleaner, more kept look is much easier to maintain.
Universal also introduced a collection of upholstery to rival that of the RH Cloud. Soft, plush and REALLY deep that once you sink in, you’ll be staying for a while. One drawback though, is if you are one who needs perfection and is constantly fluffing, this sofa may not be for you. Modular pieces including coordinating sofa back units and tables make this a perfect addition for the young family seeking a casual, lived-in look.
PLAY ON PROPORTION
The nice thing about design is that the rules are meant to be broken. Yes, there are certain standards in the industry – the height of the typical dining table, a dining chair, a console, etc., but why not experiment and deviate from the standards depending on the look or feel that you are trying to achieve?
The standard height for a dining room table is 30″ high, but who said it HAS to be that height? Lower it a little and it relaxes the setting, inviting guests to do more than jut eat a meal at the table. This is exactly what Pinnacle did with their Buddha Table. Unlike the standard height of 30″, the height of the Buddha Table is set 3″ lower at 27″ giving it a more relaxed and inviting feel. The result? It’s the favored table in the house, where guests tend to linger – more of a table that is designed for entertaining. Pictured below is my High Point Market Insider’s Tour lounging and lingering at the table for a while.
Something as simple as varying the proportion in an etagere can also result in an alternative use, as illustrated when three of the same etageres with a top-heavy presence are placed side by side.
Biophilic design is a way of incorporating nature into our living spaces to enable us to connect with natural elements around us. Think moss and living walls. Greenery was a focus at the European textile show, Heimtextil in the form of large scale wallpaper murals depicting scenes from nature, and at BD West, the boutique hospitality show, living and moss covered walls were displayed throughout.
That same trend was evident at High Point, and while a living wall may not always be practical, several manufacturers touched upon that trend, recognizing that the world is changing and we are becoming more aware of our environment and how it has an effect on how we live. Biophilic design is thought to reduce stress, enhance creativity, and improve our overall well-being by connecting us and the spaces in which we live with nature.
In the case of New Growth Designs, high-quality faux specimens are used to create the illusion of lush living walls but without the maintenance. Their specimens are so life-like it is easy to mistake them for the real thing.
Thibaut’s new collection “Tropics” incorporates greenery and offers an indirect experience with nature by creating an experience with nature with their newest intro of large-scale banana leaf wallpaper, called “Travelers Palm”. Mix in living plants, and this enhances the overall biophilic feel of the space,
The front entrance to Made Goods’ new showroom at the Bank on Wrenn used Cole and Son’s new wallpaper which made a splash at Heimtextil earlier in the year and also channeled a more stylistic approach to nature.
I left the Maximalism trend for last as this has been the trend that has been brewing for some time and suddenly came on REALLY strong and is currently front and center in the design world. There were multiple trend displays set up around market that were also dedicated to this trend.
Mally Skok’s debut collection for Dowel Furniture looked to furniture that she owned or that she wishes she owned. Classical shapes such as the Aegean Chair, are inspired by the classic Greek klismos chair…but with inlaid brass and upholstered in prints from her own textile line. Her mixing and matching of color, pattern and scale (especially when mixed with her wallpaper) is spot on with what I saw trending in Europe at Heimtextil, and is a more subtle approach to the current Maximalist trend.
The boys at Madcap Cottage have been busy at work, and in their own signature style, have been mixing their love of print and color, this time with their collection for Newport Cottages. Are you surprised? What else would you expect from a duo that recently launched a book called “Prints Charming” and celebrates the mixing and matching of prints and utilizing bold color choices?
On the right, is one of the many trend displays set up at market to help those identify what trends to look out for at market. Bright and clear color, a mix of prints of varying scale, punchy graphic patterns mixed with florals. This is Maximalism.
Spring 2019 Design Trends – Additional Observations
Wow – that was a LOT. There were so many 2019 spring design trends to see at High Point Market this time around. Every market I see trends come and go. Other notable observations:
- grey wood finishes are phasing out and brown finishes are coming back
- lighter wood finishes are on the rise
- Everyone and their mother is coming out with licensed collections, but this has been the case for quite some time.
Much of what I’ve shown here are new introductions and are already readily available but some will not be available until this fall. If you are interested in anything that was covered in this post, feel free to reach out. Many of the items can be ordered through out showroom.
If you are a designer, we post our top picks from the new introductions we see at market. Images and showroom shots may be viewed on our password protected site. (they are not up yet but they will be soon!) This area is reserved for our to the trade members and membership is free. Visit our TO THE TRADE PAGE for more info.