Curious Trends - Design

20/01/2013

A rainbow of colour for home accessories


Home accessories and kitchenware designers are hedging their bets regarding colour schemes for Spring/Summer 2013. Exhibitors at London’s Home trade fair chose the rainbow as the colour trend of their choice, producing items in every colour under the sun. Here are some of the many examples spotted:


Acorn and Will’s colourful plastic accessories.



Coloured lampshades and lighting from And Tradition, Koziol, Cable and Cotton (above top and below), Bob Crook’s First Glass and Methmos lava lamps. 

Vibrant coloured glass and tableware, including traditional Moroccan ceramics, glass bowls and candle holders from iittalia, plastic bowls from K
oziol and Pantone Universe, crockery from LADP Sweden and Jansen and Co, and glassware from LSA and Jarapa were also on show.

Other colourful accessories included Chive’s vases and novel ‘wall dots’, Jarapa tiles, Kakkoi speakers,Thelermont’s security cameras, Babooshe linen and Belle and Bespoke’s mantelpiece lighting.

A range of neon and bright colours also featured on mobile phone accessories, Mark’s Tokyo Edge notebooks, Raksha’s charm bracelets and Menorcan sandals.
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11/11/2012

Parrots and parakeets in fashion and home accessories


Parrots, parakeets and brightly feathered birds are popping up all over the place, from desktop wallpaper to vintage style wall coverings. Tropcial bird inspired greens, blues, reds, yellows and pinks are increasingly being used for home accessories and items of furniture too.
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04/09/2012

Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum

‘Experiments with crystals’ sounds like the title of a John Wyndham novel. But for ten years, Swarovski’s design and architecture collaborations have been an opportunity for the world’s leading designers to experiment and share their most radical ideas. A new exhibition, starting tomorrow at the Design Museum (until 13th January 2013) features the progeny of some of the most innovative contemporary designers - let loose to explore the meaning of memory in the digital age through the medium of crystal. At an exhibition preview, Nadia Swarovski explained that Swarovski’s passionate commitment to cutting edge contemporary design “is driven by our work with visionaries who push the boundaries of how crystal can be used as a creative ingredient.’

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19/08/2012

Altered states: body morphing meets mythology in art and design

 

All is not as it seems. Themes such as genetic modification, surgical enhancement and mutation are increasingly being adopted by designers in fields as diverse as ceramics, illustration and fashion design. The current desire for bodily transformation, together with a reflection of the mythical beast in all of us, lie at the heart of this curious trend. Expect to see more digitally transformed faces and bodies, animal/human-hybrid forms and fiercely furry costumes like these:

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05/08/2012

Sports inspired furniture and home accessories

You may have spotted some of the many sports inspired designs for the home recently. Here are some of our top picks:
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16/06/2012

Design trends: quirky clocks

I recently bought a new alarm clock. I was trying to find a traditional style design in standard-issue silver, with a supersized, super-loud bell. Instead I was attracted by one that, though conventional in design, suited my bedroom’s colour scheme. The problem is that, being designer-black (not just the clock-face, but the hands too), it’s very difficult to tell what the exact time is. On several occasions I’ve jumped out of bed an hour early, thinking it was half past six when it was actually only half past five…

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14/03/2012

Inudstrial piping: tubular pipework in design


Recycled metal pipework and plumbing parts are appearing in the most unexpected of places and have been spotted as components in everything from decorative tableware and objets d’art to home furnishings, lighting and public sculptures. Here are some examples of pipe inspired design:

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14/02/2012

Bee and honeycomb inspired product design


Outbreaks of the devastating Colony Collapse Disorder have alerted us to the fragility of the eco-system and the importance of bees for pollinating wildlife (and food crops). The plight of bee colonies has given rise to renewed interest in the art of apiculture (beekeeping) and inspired a host of bee-inspired art, design and textiles.

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12/11/2011

Folklore and tales from foreign lands


The rosy cheeked face of the babushka has dominated Eastern European folk stories and fables. Now Matryoshka style dolls and other characters from folk legends have been re-interpreted in quirky and contemporary ways – from quirky plastic Kokeshi dolls and colourful wax candles, to thought provoking illustrations and re-worked traditional folk tales.

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07/11/2011

Outline furniture and lighting


Uncomfortable looking home furnishings need to be tried and tested before they become mainstream, but there’s no doubt that outline furniture and lighting has made a big impact at design and interiors trade fairs over the past year. The reflections and shadows cast by framework-based designs are certainly intriguing, in keeping with the current fascination for anything that has the curiosity factor.

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25/09/2011

Contemporary curiosities: does size matter?


With so many inventive home furnishing and decorative accessories designs on the market, designers have to work harder to distinguish themselves from the crowd. In recent years there’s been an emphasis on limited edition, collectable pieces that designers promote as ‘design art’. However, with the growing interest in curiosities and collecting, contemporary designers are going out of their way to ensure that their creations have the curiosity factor. For some that means making their designs especially large – or creating tiny sized pieces to attract interest.

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23/08/2011

Art Deco metropolis: the cityscape revisited


As the hierarchical structures of our society are broken down, it stands to reason that we’ll want to recall more stable, secure times, when every man knew his place. In some ways, the circumstances we currently find ourselves in are not dissimilar to those represented in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis - the 1927 film best known for its stylized, futuristic, Art Deco scenery – and the classic depiction of the age of the machine. For many of us, rapid changes in design and technology are frightening, and seen to be contrary to man’s basic instincts. Perhaps that’s why we’re seeing a resurgence in Art Deco styling - and the renewed influence of the familiar New York skyline on fashion, art, design and interiors?

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08/08/2011

Hair art in contemporary design and accessories


Jewellery made with hair dates back to at least the 1600s, when hair bracelets were given as tokens of love by both men and women. In Victorian times, hair jewellery and mementoes became popular items of remembrance – in keeping with the elaborate mourning rituals of the time. Hair art is currently undergoing something of a revival – based upon hair’s common availability and natural, eco-friendly credentials, as well as its ability to replace other, more expensive, and/or artificial materials.

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04/07/2011

Quirky and colourful light sculptures


Lighting is becoming more colourful and adventurous. The latest trend is to have light sculptures rather than lamps. We'll be seeing more LED lit furniture, reusable objects upcycled into quirky lighting – and custom made coloured lampshades, inventively shaped light fittings and illuminated home accessories in future.
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24/06/2011

Timeless monochrome style in fashion and design art


Multiple retailer Gap has recently been promoting its ‘modern monochrome’ collection. From retro to post modern, it’s curious that monochrome seems to be perennially in fashion. However, what distinguishes timeless monochrome from boring old black and white is stylish and distinctive design:
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24/05/2011

Artisan organic design: natural beauty in imperfection


Organic shapes, natural materials and inspiration from the living world are emerging in all areas of design art - including sculpture, furniture and fashion accessories. Hand crafted, eco-friendly, artisanal pieces are given added value over mass produced works due to their quirky imperfections and traceable, handmade provenance.

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09/04/2011

Retroprogressive sculpture: low tech design art and home accessories


Discarded waste, such as old household appliances, circuit boards and junk that would otherwise be destined for landfill sites is increasingly being upcycled into works of art and sculpture by designers the world over. In the words of Catherine Videlaine, “Nothing should be thrown away once and for all. Objects carry memories.” Thus, broken dolls, retro toys, old musical instruments and scrap from cars have been reinvented into pieces or art or useful home accessories, including lighting, tables and chairs:

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02/04/2011

Animal inspired furniture and objets d'art


Animal design art and home accessories are likely to become even more popular in coming years. Both animal loving pet owners and non-animal owning art lovers seem especially attracted to the quirky cuteness of primitive creatures dressed in clothing, in domestic settings, or painted in unusual and exotic colourways. Wild animals and birds in sculpture and ceramic design are increasingly presented as approachable friends in nature. Contemporary pieces of furniture and modern lighting designs mimic antique hunting lodge style:

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19/03/2011

Burn out, melt down and fire in design


With so much going on, many of us are feeling close to breaking point. Thanks to digital communications we’ve virtual friends all over the world, can choose from a myriad of satellite TV channels and organize our work and social lives online. However, the unnatural constraints we impose upon ourselves can cause some to experience ‘burn out’, which is why the Slow Movement is gradually winning support in so many areas – slow food, slow fashion, slow design, slow travel etc. Meantime, some designers are expressing their concern over our increasing social isolation, despite the fact we’re functioning in hyperactive overdrive. Their desire to represent nature versus culture: our fast paced, high pressure existence, set against the need to reacquaint ourselves with more basic, intuitive sensory experiences, has resulted in some fascinating art installations and interiors pieces - often employing fire, reds, oranges, flames and embers in a symbolic way:

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19/02/2011

Birds in home and fashion accessories

Birds have been fashionable features of jewellery for quite a while, however now they are appearing more extensively on accessories and home furnishings. Whilst stuffed birds, taxidermy and feathered decorative accessories and curiosities have been gaining popularity for some time, contemporary pieces are often colourful and made from a variety of sustainable materials including wood, paper, cotton and clay. Here are a few of the many bird inspired items recently spotted:

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05/02/2011

Dolls and toys in decorative art and design


The current and growing fascination with vintage toys and dolls in particular is linked to a number of trends - the celebration of childlike curiosity, the desire to collect, and the present fashion for all things retro. Designers are also incorporating their own contemporary ‘toys’ and doll-like creations into works of art, furniture and clothing. Perhaps this also has something to do with a mood of introspection and the contemplation and/or expression of our sense of identity?

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22/01/2011

Paper and origami in art and design


Paper, folded paper and origami style design are likely to feature highly in design art, clothing and accessories this year. More than simply a nod to the Far East for inspiration, one of the key elements of this theme will be the practice of upcycling, or using recycled products and materials, especially paper, to create new products and works of art.

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04/12/2010

Hunting trophy style


The antler trend has been running for quite a while, but seems to be morphing in all manner of curious directions. Genuine hunting trophies have become highly collectable, but contemporary designers are recycling old hunting artefacts and the design market seems inundated with new interpretations of hunting trophy style - in clothing, accessories, design art and interior decoration.

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27/11/2010

Wood and marquetry in design


Going back to primordial style basics has meant a revival of old crafts like wood turning and marquetry. Here are some of the examples recently spotted:

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09/10/2010

Arty umbrellas


Art inspired accessories are becoming increasingly popular. But umbrellas have also been used as inspiration for art installations from as far and wide as London’s Wapping and Thessalonlki in Greece to Melbourne and Shanghai. A curious thing is that the basic design of the umbrella hasn’t changed much for centuries… or has it?

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04/09/2010

Designer bathroom fittings


Never since Duchamp’s curious offering to the art world have so many art inspired, design led lavatories been on display. Now on offer to everyone at a variety of locations and price points is everything from D&G’s gold stall to the George Bush urinal.

ShopCurious takes a look at some unique and unusual loos around the world and considers what might survive the passing fad: From the convenient hole in the ground to…the velvet lined lavatory pan.
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28/08/2010

Books in design


Defacing books in the name of art is a curious trend that’s especially popular amongst emerging young designers. This reminds me of a flat I lived in years ago, where ex-owner, Dave Dee of Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich had sawn dozens of books in half and stuck them onto a fake bookcase to conceal a pull out bed in his sitting room. I’m sure I still have a photograph of this somewhere…

Anyway, here are some of the latest designer re-workings of books:
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08/06/2010

Back to blackboards?

Now digital whiteboards have replaced them in the classroom, why are blackboards appearing everywhere on our streets? Could this curiously creative new slow design feature be linked to a nostalgic longing for more carefree days, with more time to indulge ourselves in artistic pursuits?


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