Design Outlook 2020

vipp chimney house copenhagen denmark studio david thulstrup yatzer

The brink of a new decade is a great time to assess the design styles we are going in with. Let’s peer along their lines of development going forward too.

I see three style categories. If you see it differently feel free to jump into the discussion with a comment below! Here’s what I can identify:

Julie Charbonneau, Dibs Introspective
Julie Charbonneau, Dibs Introspective Magazine
  1. Brightly Harmonious, well curated rooms characterized by defined furniture shapes, calm colour schemes and important art. The pieces work so well together that the open spaces between them seem filled by their inter relationships. Why? Sophisticated Mindfulness.
la maison pierre frey
La Maison Pierre Frey
  1. “Maximalism Is In” proclaimed Patrick Frey at Maison et Objet, meaning emotional, pattern-on-pattern, colour-saturated spaces. Exotic Moroccan, Indian or (gasp) Victorian is source inspiration, the walls are richly papered or upholstered in designs of red, strong blue or green, or all together and that’s just for starters! Why? Passion for Life.
  1. Pop Art Mash-Up is a fast-changing mix of stand-alone pieces on bare floors with empty spaces. Current favourites are gold tubular metal frames, bright roundly stuffed pieces on tiny legs that a healthy guy would crumple with a collapse-in. Luckily the audacious look finds favour with the youthful, lanky and fashionable. Why? The Cool Factor.

That’s the What and the Why. Now for the How

Claude Cartier, La Maison Pierre Frey
Claude Cartier, La Maison Pierre Frey

Style #1 relies on the purity of the design concept. Execution is strong so that one certain idea runs through every selection. A pleasing colour scheme translates into very new forms. It makes sense, it’s beautiful and it’s comfortable. Brutalist pieces, tribal artifacts or natural specimens and large canvases are well featured punctuations.

Chateau Borley and Relais Christine, La Maison Pierre Frey
Chateau Borley and Relais Christine, La Maison Pierre Frey

Style #2 references Yves St Laurent’s Morocco, Babe Paley’s Park Avenue and every princess who lounged in a gold embroidered kaftan. Pattern the walls, the floors, the furniture and pile on pillows with great emotion. Talented confident European designers are loving it! I began reporting ‘kaftan design’ in 2017. It has come of age, watch the roll-out!

Maywish Syed, La Maison Pierre Frey
Maywish Syed, La Maison Pierre Frey

Style #3 began with white rooms, leggy weightless mid-century furniture and fragments of pop culture. Looking ahead I see the room as a functional gallery for the art-furniture collection, colour/texture on walls, large strange and wonderful sculptures that might also be floor lamps and standard design items handled as art forms.

Blackened Steel and Layered Bronze Console
Gary Magakis, Blackened Steel and Layered Bronze Console, USA, 2018, Courtesy of Todd Merrill Studio, NYC.

Todd Merrill Studio has exceptional examples. I will be returning to their collection soon to illustrate functional art’s role in various styles.

See Also
Feed it Foward

Certainly there are rooms that combine two styles, but the categories are helpful in knowing where we’re going.

All require detailed execution and there’s an exercise for clarity in creativity. Not a recent practice, it was most probably used by Shakespeare, and certainly by Goethe, Pope, Carroll, Carlyle, Emerson, Barfield, and I would bet my buttons on Karl Lagerfeld. It’s called the Pencil Exercise.

If you agree or disagree with my assessment leave a comment below–we at DINE would love to hear from you.

View Comments (3)
  • Wonderful article, Lois! Extremely informative and well researched. I love the pencil meditation…so simple yet so effective. I am swooning over Chateau Borley and Relais Christine – La Maison Pierre Frey! Ooh la la!!!

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