Trendspotting 2023: Furniture

Themes, concepts, styles and a melange of features – that’s what make up a trend. So far, 2023 has a few trends carried forward from the last year and a few breaking away from the ‘pandemic’ mindset. Notably, some of these trends have been borrowed from the early modern era, reviving their classic characteristics. 

Given that furniture is where function and aesthetics coalesce most prominently, here’s a list of trends that reflect what’s making headlines in the interior design world and products that can help inculcate them.

1. The Hot Tropics

Bringing the outside in is certainly not a new concept, but its renewal recently has made it a new norm. Although the trend began as a repercussion of being cooped up in homes and missing the outdoors, in 2023, what’s being seen most are the earthy shades, the use of natural materials such as wood and wicker, and patterns inspired by flora and fauna. 

Sleek and clean frameworks with plush upholstery in shades of green are one of the markers of this trend. Fritz Hansen‘s Fred or Arper‘s Kata make for an ideal modern-esque pick. Fred by Jaime Hayon usurps inspiration from a pelican’s form, which is reflected in its peculiar low seating and wide armrests. On the other hand, Kata is made of solid wood, and its minimal silhouette oozes grace effortlessly. Interstuhl‘s LEMONis5, more appropriate for a contemporary setting, with its myriad configuration and easy mechanism, is the definition of versatility.

The focus on outdoor furniture also has gained ground. The dynamism of Varaschin‘s Emma Cross / Daybed Compact and Moroso‘s Shadowy reflect how there’s more attention and weightage given to outdoor elements. Emma Cross / Daybed Compact immediately grabs eyes with its backrest, much like a peacock’s fanned feathers. Speaking of a peacock, Shadowy shades and playful shape are much like the flamboyance of wildlife, and the chair can be a showstopper in outdoor areas.

The most apparent inclusion of this trend is fun and lively tropical patterns. However, organic forms like Steelcase‘s Pod Tent and woody accents like Orangebox‘s Woods and ExtremisSticks are also note-worthy signifiers. Pod Tent, with its tensility, can quickly turn a space around. Woods presents the option of making partitions interesting with plants, while Sticks can create an enchanting play of light and shadow.

2. Retreat to Retro

There’s something about bygones. The allure of the dated never gets old. Currently, there is an emergence of combining elements of styles of the past with new forms or using slightly updated old forms with contemporary materials and finishes.

The most fascinating furniture products from yesteryears are seating. ISKU‘s Tuoli 53, Andreu World‘s Forest Club Sofa by Philippe Starck or Boss Design‘s Kruze Plush Lounge, which are heavily influenced by classic pieces, impart a throwback vibe that is an instant mood-setter in spaces. Tuoli 53, a classic from the 1950s, can be employed in a wide range of aesthetics courtesy of its subtlety and sobriety. T Forest Club Sofa’s exposed fixing and light plywood design are a pleasant surprise, given its otherwise sumptuous looks. Kruze Plush Lounge is an undeniable looker and will build a narrative of style in any space.

INCLASS‘s Lea and Quinti‘s Ginevra are cases where the contemporary and classic combine to imbue a sophisticated yet suave feel. Available in two heights, Lea’s light profile and simplicity have the ability to bring in finesse. With its slender legs, Ginevra’s padding and unique armrest can bring in a dose of edginess.

If there are spaces that demand colour, Milani‘s MI Chair, Bisley‘s Fern and Leyform‘s Liv can foster an inherent vibrant and vintage streak. MI Chair’s slightly curved seat and joyful shades can add much-needed rigour to spaces. For multiple seaters, Liv would adeptly jazz up interiors with soft and supple cushions. Fern is the right accessory to spark nostalgia – from the punctures in the shutter to the handle, the locker family is an easily recognizable blast from the past.

3. Eclectic seating

Good seating completes a space, while great seating makes it successful. Seating has now been promoted from being purely functional to being functional and show-stopping. This does not mean all the seating in a space has to be out-of-the-box, but there should be some that are inviting and intriguing at the same time. 

As mentioned earlier, there is special attention to outdoor seating nowadays. Vondom‘s Tu-Lum is befitting to bring about coastal vibes with its form that is a cross between neotenic and modern. At the same time, Garda from Bivaq is an innately stylish product that attracts with its slender, feminine frame and slanted lines.

Introduce a small dose of cheer with chairs like Tondina Fat from Infiniti and Drape from Normann Copenhagen – a little character never hurt anyone. Todina Fat’s rounded seats with chrome finished legs will take a space from basic to fancy. From having multiple colour options to possessing soft contours, Drape can be a game-changing accent chair. If nothing else, Offecct‘s Nomole is surely an eye-catcher with its maze-like form and atypical outlook.

Even for home office furniture, settling for typical office chairs can take away from the charm of cosy interiors. Thankfully, Haworth‘s Fern Chair or Herman Miller‘s stalwart Zeph Chair can rescue spaces from monotony. Along with superior looks, the Fern chair is accompanied by superior ergonomics – in tune with all themes and movements. Made with fewer components, the Zeph Chair is lightweight with the signature Herman Miller comfort. Se:lounge from Sedus can double up as a work chair and a lounge one – thanks to its large, well-formed seat shell.

4. Aesthetic Desks

Desks have moved their location; rather, they have expanded their coverage. The work-from-home culture has created a requirement for desks not only in homes but also in hotel rooms and lobbies, and even a few restaurants. With the advent of co-working spaces, dynamism in the design of desks is much in demand. 

In luxury spaces, where a room is designed around a desk – there exist two most popular aesthetics – one that is somewhat contemporary and would have something akin to Actiu‘s Arkitek, and another is a more romantic one, something that would feature the likes of Alma from Giorgetti. Arkitek, with its aluminium form, offers that matte chic that adds personality. On the other hand, Alma flaunts a flair with its rounded sides and structural elegance.

Still, the usual is opting for compact yet impact desk designs. The Float Mini from Humanscale is a straightforward, unpretentious and mobile piece that could be a dependable work buddy anywhere. Bene‘s Xpress Table, Teknion‘s Carrier Desk and True Design‘s Hella are great examples of what makes for a huddled workspace. The Xpress is a foldable table that is easy on the eyes. Carrier Desk has the tempting aesthetic of a writer’s desk while Hella can play double agent as a shallow depth storage and a workstation. And if we are talking about ‘huddled’, BuddyHub Desk from Pedrali is a product that could cut-off visual distractions and contribute to a better work environment. Having a nook in spaces where inhabitants can work is a trend that is here to stay – from having these personalized to having them specially designed, the rage for them is something to watch out for.

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