Big, bright, bold new things are heralded for the furniture scene in 2011. Over the past few years, monochrome has ruled design, but now, as David Chiu of Aluminium tells PerspectiveGlobal, the game has changed. Closely reflecting current trends in fashion, 2011 is all about bright colours, particularly petroleum blue, chautreuse yellow, fuschia pink and deep purple.
Is fashion the biggest influence on furniture design?
Yes, but at a slower pace. It usually takes one to two years for the furniture design industry to assimilate current fashion trends – but not all are applicable. For example, few years ago when the 80s’ influence was back in the fashion world, the furniture design industry took a long time to adjust. The Mondrian style returned, but in a subtle way. People at the time did not want interior design to move too far forward.
What do you think about the recent trend in ‘updated’ designer furniture?
Those designer pieces have already been recognised by the market, for example, the Panton Chair. A twist in the colour of the pieces can re-fuel interest. Personally, I feel that merely changing the colour of the design is not good enough. Of course it will refresh it, but it won’t last long.
What does this trend tell you?
While the global economy is slowly picking up, the outlook for the design industry remains gloomy, particularly in Europe and Japan. From a business point of view, it is not a good time to produce new products, but to continue to manufacture what has been well-known in the market – it’s a safe strategy. This is, of course, not a healthy development for the design industry; both the market and consumers will soon be discontented. It also discourages young designers from entering the market.
Who are some of the young designers that you like?
Inga Sempé from France and Jamie Hayón from Spain.
Aluminium’s choice for 2011
What: Bold chair
Why: Their design speaks of changing trends – minimalism has returned, but in a more playful way. Two curvy, foam-covered tubes make up this little chair. You can change the slip-covered tubes whenever the mood strikes.
What: Ribbon lamp
Who: Claire Norcross
Why: A four-year-old, award-winning design is revamped this year in purple and turquoise blue.
What: Catifa swivel chair
Who: Lievore Altherr Molina
Why: A rather old design, but also regarded as the modern Eames chair. A series of designs – dining chair, office chair, bar stool, lounge chair – have been launched. Blue, purple and yellow are new for the season.
What: Spun chair
Who: Thomas Heatherwick
Why: Regarded as the modern beanbag – a surprise from Thomas Heatherwick.
What: Instant chair
Who: Matali Crasset
Why: Newly introduced to Hong Kong this year. The chair features a trestle base, which is commonly used by architects or studio workshops for easy installation. It has multiple uses and is space-saving.
Who: Alessandro Zambelli
Why: The design is special as it can be used individually or combined for different purposes. The colour scheme features this season’s top shades.