Archive for February, 2008

Many know about Pantone, the mega color standards company who unveils color forecasts for each season — today their Fall ’08 forecast was released to the public on their website. I always download mine and print it out in color so it’s handy. It’s important for all designers to preview the next it colors – from interiors to fashion, product, and beyond.

Spring ’08 Palette.
“Refreshing splashes of invigorating brights punctuate classic, versatile neutrals as designers offer a playful spring palette for endless exploration and creative combinations. Variations on popular colors such as energizing red, cool, waterborne blue and eco-friendly greens also play a key role this season.” – Pantone

Pantone scours advertising, magazines, movies, websites, and other facets of pop culture to unearth color cues, even surveys of socio-economic trends, art exhibits, and considering even the state of the global economy. After intense research and analysis, they sell colors to clients a few years in advance and then poll them to discern popular choices so they can then produce color planning guides that influence the multitudes. I walked around for years thinking these trends just happened for no reason at all. But oh no, everything is calculated. That’s why it’s critical for you to know what the color forecast is for each season because then you can use it as a guide in your design in order to stay current.


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Design trends at Maison & Objet, according to PointClickHome.com :
Subtly Moroccan: The international design scene is buzzing with young Moroccan designers like Arzu Firuz. This rug by the female designer for Polystyl plays on negative space to create a graphic floor display.
Zenza’s hanging pendants are like those found in Casablanca, but with a twist. A hot trend at Maison & Objet, styles created from pierced materials are typical of Moroccan design.
The ornate pattern on this pillow by Nur is another typically Moroccan trait, but the refined palette updates the look.
The shapes of Akkal’s tea set are familiar to the region, but when presented in a red high-gloss clay, the pieces have the casual appeal of fiestaware

Purple and Grey: The dominant palette at Maison & Objet as well as other major home decor shows this year. ThisWilliam Yeoward pillow is just all-around fabulous.


Le Jacquard Français didn’t have too far to travel, yet they still jumped on the global purple and grey trend, as shown here in their Jacquard woven linens.


This woven blanket, with its stylish combination of color and texture, by Zoeppritz won a Maison & Objet best-in-show award.


The moody, yet sophisticated shade between purple and grey refines the sweet blooms on these Andrew 14andrewmartin16.jpg

Chalet Chic: Seen everywhere, this trend may have been started by Diamantini & Domeniconi cuckoo clock. It was wild success in last year’s introductions.


Fur mixed with preppy plaids couldn’t be more Aspen. And the Country Corner stag pillow in the backgrouns is one of the many examples of deer, elk, and bear motifs featured at the show.


These Katherine Leuze throws, pillows, and slippers are soft and fuzzy—but distinctly wild


Exposed wood conjures up visions of the mountains. Friedemann Beuhler’s bowl is pure but regal.


Japanese Reign: Asian inspiration has always been a dominant force in contemporary design, but this year it literally overwhelmed all other trends. The Hanori bed for Gabel is in a traditional cherry blossom print, but in red is no longer as sweet and subtle.


Birds, bamboo and cherry blossoms were a common theme a the show. Here, Alberto Pinto’s delicate hand-painted designs in a soft turquoise are a new take on these motifs. Pinto has always embraced Orientalism in his designs—he has even written a book on the topic.


This stunning enlarged black cherry blossom print was designed by the London firm, Innermost.


These red vases in floral honeycomb pattern by Asian Tide strongly embody the Asian influence felt thoughout the show.


Natural Glitz: This season, nature got dressy. Florals were decked in bronze, platinum, and gold. Alex Davis Design immortalized the houseplant with his metallic palms, cacti, and aloe vera. With their long stems, they can live beautifully in floor vases.


More of Alex Davis Davis’s metallic houseplants displayed in equally glitzy pots.


These Golden Timber dishes by Bodo Sperlein embrace the tree in its simplest form, but do so with shimmering color.Gilded tree rings in concentric circles are a stylish highlight on this salad plate, while the charger’s tighter lines give it a faux bois effect.


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LONDON: One designer has threatened to wage war against them. Another reckons they’re so depressing that we’ll be driven into psychotherapy. A manufacturer describes them as “very unfriendly” and, even, “a little violent.”

The objects of their derision are compact fluorescent bulbs, otherwise known as CFLs, the miniaturized versions of fluorescent strip lights, which are touted as energy-efficient alternatives to the incandescent bulbs that have lit our homes for over a century. The problem is the quality of their light. “It’s completely indifferent and boring,” said the German lighting designer, Ingo Maurer (the one who thinks they’ll be a boon for shrinks). “They make you feel as though you’re waiting for a bus or a train at a desolate station.”

CFLs have other shortcomings too. They’re not only slow to light up and undimmable, but contain eco-taboo mercury. All of the other energy-efficient alternatives to the incandescent bulb are equally flawed. LEDs, or, to give them their full name, light-emitting diodes, last longer and consume less energy than incandescents, but are much more expensive and also have poor light quality. Compact halogen bulbs give off a rich, deep light, but are only marginally more energy-efficient than incandescents.

Whatever the shortcomings of its would-be successors, the incandescent light bulb is doomed. It will be banned in Australia by 2010, and in Canada and California by 2012. Similar measures are being considered elsewhere in the United States and in Europe. The world’s light bulb manufacturers, like Philips and Osram, and the electrical component companies that supply them, such as Cree, are investing heavily to improve the existing alternatives, and to invent new ones. The results will transform both the light bulb itself and the type of lighting we use every day.

The environmental case against the incandescent bulb is indisputable. A whopping 85 percent of the energy it consumes disappears as heat, with only 15 percent being used to produce light. Philips reckons that if everyone switched to the current crop of energy-efficient lighting, we would save €106 billion, or $152 billion, in electricity costs a year, 555 million tons of carbon emissions and 1.5 billion barrels of oil. There are other problems too. In an era when we’re accustomed to dozens of different functions being squeezed into tiny digital objects, like cellphones and iPods, old-fashioned incandescent bulbs seem prehistorically bulky, hot and fragile.

Yet they’re also cheap, and undeniably beautiful. Those bulbs are great examples of ingeniously designed objects that enliven our lives, even though we take them for granted. They’ve spawned countless “How many xxxx does it take to change a light bulb?” jokes, and feature in cartoons by lighting above a character’s head when inspiration strikes. “Look at a light bulb, preferably a clear one, when it’s switched off – isn’t it beautiful ?” said Maurer. “Turn it on and you can’t see it any more, but it has a magical power to transform space.”

Equally gorgeous is the warm, soulful light created by even the cheapest incandescent bulbs. Truly great lighting design is always a fusion of inspired hardware (the styling of the lamp) and equally inspired software (the quality of the light emitted). The beauty of the naked incandescent bulb has been celebrated in famous examples of modern lighting design: from Maurer’s 1966 Bulb, to Achille Castiglioni’s 1988 Taraxacum, a chandelier made from a cluster of incandescent bulbs.

That era of lighting design is ending. Legislation apart, consumer pressure is mounting against energy-wasting lighting. Despite all of their shortcomings, CFLs already account for 41 percent of global bulb sales at IKEA, one of the world’s largest lighting retailers, and most new lights are designed for use with energy-saving bulbs. “When we started working with Flos (the Italian lighting manufacturer) on our Tab range of lights three years ago, they gave us a large box of different types of bulb to try out, but crucially excluded the traditional incandescent,” recalled Edward Barber, director of the British design studio, Barber Osgerby. “Right from the beginning we worked with energy-efficient bulbs, and based our design on them.”

As CFLs are a similar size to incandescent bulbs, and are attached to the light in the same way, they’re unlikely to change how we use lighting, or what it looks like. They don’t become as hot as incandescents, which enables designers to use flimsier materials for light shades and to place them nearer the bulb; but nor do they look as beguiling when bare, and the visual impact of the designer’s work is bound to be diminished by the poor quality of light.

Designers and manufacturers are already trying to overcome these problems. The British designer, Tom Dixon, recently launched Blow, a cloudy white shade, shaped specifically to soften the chilly glow of a CFL. He is now developing a new low-energy bulb, which, he hopes, will resolve some of the aesthetic problems of existing CFLs.

Even so, most designers see CFLs as an interim technology, which will be phased out as soon as LEDs become affordable. LEDs are tiny computer chips, usually encased in glass. They’re compact, strong, versatile, durable, and are already up to 80 percent more efficient than CFLs. LEDs can be programmed to produce light in different colors and sequences, and can also be embedded into walls, floors, ceilings and furniture. This enables designers to illuminate rooms and buildings in entirely new ways by integrating LEDs into the structure, and programming them so that the light changes over time.

In the future, lights need no longer be independent objects, hanging from the ceiling, or perching on a table or floor. The Japanese designer, Naoto Fukasawa, is experimenting with the integration of lighting and other domestic functions that are now executed by separate objects, into the modular panels of “intelligent walls.” Ingo Maurer has already sunk LEDs into walls and tables in one-off commissions.

“For sure LEDs are driving us into a completely new era,” said Piero Gandini, president of Flos and the manufacturer who dismissed CFLs as “unfriendly.”

“We’re moving from electricity to electronics.”


International Herald Tribune

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