Make your home an ode to joy
Some trends are a direct response to discontent – take for example the Vietnam War which contributed to the emergence of the hippie vibe. Some simply reflect the dominant public interest – perhaps leading to the continued rise in environmental concerns. Others, however, are a reaction, a push against the perceived compulsion. Think punk, or the rise of dark decor after decades of white. Or, more subtly, the surge in makeup sales during times of conflict. We saw this during both world wars, when solace is sought in something easy, affordable, and fun. It’s literally about putting on a brave face, with lipstick as the metaphorical armor. But whether they are push, pull or mirror, trends always meet a need.
And now? Get ready for an explosion of unbridled tatting! A new atmosphere which represents a moment of liberation to which one cannot help being intuitively attracted. After all, a period of sobriety is usually followed by exhilarating abandonment. Denial breeds indulgence. A hunger that is now sated by the triumphant return of bold color and cheerful prints, all mixed with enthusiastic abandon.
Color-obsessed multidisciplinary artist Yinka Ilori evokes nuances of her African heritage in her new Maximalist Brights collection with Lick Home (paint, £ 38 for 2.5L). Use blocks of yellow, pink, green and blue on the walls and woodwork to achieve this bold look.
But who is responsible for initiating such a change? Where does it start? Is it the nonconformist buyer in the spontaneous search for new modes of self-expression? And then, in a regular trickle of the street to the general public, these whims become a “thing”? Or is it driven by design outliers that routinely shed the chains of commercialism or perceived good taste to do whatever they want, thus invariably signaling what’s to come?
“Much like a plump baby or a puppy, there is something very comforting about a rounded, generous shape,” designer Tom Dixon says of his Fat sofa and chair (from £ 750).
The chunky chair is a big trend, with some brands picking up on 1960s classics like Cassina’s Soriana (above, from £ 6,010), by Afra and Tobia Scarpa, others offering modern explorations of form like Getlucky de Moroso (below, € 1,170) by Patricia Urquiola
In truth, it is a combination of these forces. Even early adopters can’t buy what doesn’t exist. And designers will quickly go bankrupt if they make what never sells. Yet crucially, for both, any push towards the new is only the external manifestation of internal desires. The point is, deaf neutrals and tasteful greige – or little black dresses – don’t go away when the trend pendulum swings into something more exotic. Queen of taupe interiors Kelly Hoppen is busier than she has ever been, and jeans and a white tee will always top any best-selling clothing list. Instead, viewed with hindsight, trends almost inevitably follow a pattern, as repeating universal themes – joy, fear, utility, optimism, or economy – enter and exit popular consciousness. The only change is the way these themes are realized.
However, we do know that something is a potential long stay when it goes through disciplines. This shift on the bright side then happens not only at home, but also in fashion. This year’s resort collections – usually not as celebrated as the big spring / summer or fall / winter catwalks – were full of color. It should be noted, however, that their oversaturated hues were strategically combined with comfort: loose, relaxed pantsuits and patterned maxi dresses in every shade under the sun.
The new vibe represents a wave of relaxed euphoria that is nonetheless determined to drive away any bad memories of recent times. This is why we are so ready for the new series of Sex and the city, all the frivolous fashion frills and paper-thin stories: light, visually delicious and just the ticket. Likewise, the return of the ’90s favorite Fitting rooms – high camp, full blast entertainment, albeit with very little to do with livable design. Then there is The matrix 4 with Keanu Reeves reprising his iconic role as Neo – oh, how thirsty we are for the escape from the blue pill! And the rumors of a female 007 after No time to die, the last James Bond film with Daniel Craig? Bring it on.
Two years ago, the bold style of London-based Nigerian British artist Yinka Ilori, inspired by his color-steeped West African heritage, could have been considered too much. Today – yes, please! A new collaboration with paper and paint company Lick presents us with a playful mix of rich greens, vivid blues, vivid pinks, pastel purples and intense yellows, along with wallpapers that blend it all together in maximalism and architectural motifs. As Lick says, it’s “the guarantee to brighten up your home and your spirits.” And, as Ilori says, “I want people to feel emboldened by the palette – to see that you can mix different, vibrant colors to create pieces that make you feel joy.” It’s the pursuit of fun through interior design – easy, affordable (gold wallpaper aside), and fun, just like this lipstick.
Yet there is also something extremely innocent about the appearance of these vivid colors; something childish in the decorative tricks that appear on Instagram, all the wide stripes on the walls and the large blousy flowers strewn across the upholstery and curtains. To me, this speaks of a desire for some sort of simplicity as well as the pursuit of joy. The much-vaunted return to normalcy is a misnomer. We don’t want to go back to where things were, we want something better, more nourishing in terms of the planet and people, psychologically, for our well-being. And where better to start than at home?
It is not only the newcomers to the block at the forefront of this pivot. Silentnight, one of the UK’s most established bed makers, is set to launch couches covered in bold and juicy jewel colors. This is a first for the brand, designed to appeal to the increasingly adventurous customers it has identified and who are abandoning the neutrals in favor of more striking pieces.
The luminous brigade
French brand Magic Circus Editions founded by Marie-Lise Féry brings a playful touch to lighting design – its Pop-Up collection (photo, £ 1,660) is all circus fun meets’ 70s retro chic. Meanwhile, the new color-saturated Flame collection by Italian Lisa Corti (top left) refers to Mallorcan textiles in three intense colors (from € 22 per placemat).
Pierre Frey, the French home textiles company founded in 1935, unveiled its Joie de Vivre fabrics this spring. As a house, it has always been renowned for its eclectic and irreverent approach paired with the highest quality fabrics and wallpapers, and this collection does not disappoint. Drawing inspiration from 1950s scribbles, rainbow stripes, expressive works by Picasso and Matisse, and even mermaids and sunbeams inspired by the seductive indolence of the French Riviera, it is described as a return to “the contours of a luminous landscape between sea and land, transporting us to a joyful universe”.
Behind this innocent cheer, however, is an element of bravery. The past 18 months have given us a break from the trends as we know them, allowing us to focus on the most important issues: the environment, sustainability, community. It also allowed us not to have to subscribe to external dictates on the latest must-haves. We had a moment to consider what we liked about ourselves. And we may have been surprised at our enthusiasm for choosing shameless yellows to soak our kitchens with, pairing them with garish wallpapers from the ceiling to the plinths and flowery chintz (back with a bang) for the sofa while painting colorful arches on our walls, just because. And why not? The new mantra is, if you can’t have a little fun in the privacy of your own home, frankly what’s the point? We now truly recognize that our home environments are as important to our health and happiness as good food and exercise. In truth, I believe they are Following important, because it’s quite difficult to create healthy meals in a drab kitchen, and nearly impossible to motivate yourself to work out in a dark or dingy space. Add light and shine, cheerful stencils or glorious prints, and you can create a fast lane to happiness.
It becomes intense in the interiors: nuances full of volume are swept from the floor to the walls through the ceiling, creating dramatic but also warm and livable spaces. It’s an aesthetic that is not for the faint of heart, but easily achievable by layering color in different tones in a space, like in this media room designed by Doherty Design Studio for a home in Melbourne, shown in Living In Color. (Phaidon) by color historian Stella Paul and interior designer India Mahdavi.
Ultimately, joy is the opposite of stress, anxiety, and loneliness. All the states of being that were multiplying in the world before we even knew what the word “pandemic” meant. So would we be moving in this direction regardless of the extraordinary hiatus caused by Covid-19? Yes. As we have seen, discomfort announces new comfort. And this time it’s the inner equivalent of telling your truth. In other words, find the courage to create your own indoor narrative.