Wednesday, October 30, 2013

On the Radar -- Icy Eco Glam

Bernhardt Furniture

Icy Eco Glam.  OK, that's what I'm calling it, so get over it. 

That was the biggest trend of what I saw at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point last week.  HP Market is undoubtedly one of my most favorite things in the world.  I've been telling my students for weeks that it's, "MAGICAL!  MAGICAL, I tell you!"  And they rolled their eyes at me-- until they got there.  Even just waiting for our program to begin, sitting at the check-in desk in Market Square, seeing all the buyers from all over the world and having their first glimpses of showrooms, had them wanting more.  They were busting at the seams to see EVERYTHING.  And so was I.

Alas, I had a limited time frame to visit market.  I didn't get to see even 1/20th of what I wanted to see.  But as we bustled through hallways and down corridors, moving from one part of our WithIt tour to another, I saw a trend emerge through the blur.

Icy Eco Glam.  Let me break this down for you. 

CR Laine daybed, from apartment therapy, here.

The "Icy" part comes from all the blue and white I saw, most specifically all the cool, wintery aquas and ice blues and blue-whites, as well as some deeper turquoises and teals.  If a showroom had a pop color, 8 times out of 10 it was an aqua.  And to up the odds, if they had a cream or white or ivory vignette (which they did), it was highlighted with pale blue or blue-white.  In other words, white/ivory/cream is the neutral hue du jour, darling, and to make it au courant, add icy aqua.

Casablanca cocktail table, Currey and Company

Now on to the "Eco" part.  I like to think of this part as the maturing of organic and natural design.  It's like all those crazy hippies with their hemp and reclaimed wood have moved past their artsy-fartsy-let's-save-the-world-with-ugly-furniture phase and have embraced their more "designed" and classy coming of age.  No more patchwork, recycled junk for us -- no, sir!  We understand the importance of an ogee foot!  Eco can be beautiful!  Let's use natural woods and concrete and handwoven textiles that cost more than a small car!  Let's embrace craft, but not arts and crafts

(Disclaimer -- this does not really reflect my personal stance -- I am quite the hippie, and I love craft time.  This is just what I imagine the conversation was in the boardrooms of all these furniture companies.  However, I do appreciate good design, and would happily accept any of the pieces I saw at Market into my fantasy house where nothing ever gets puked on by the cat and there is an additional 10,000 square feet.  And, I do confess, some of the early eco designs were not done well -- they were organic for organic's sake.  Much better to make something beautiful and eco-friendly.)

Ankasa beaded textile art from Trowbridge

Now to finish -- the "Glam" part.  I saw metallic finishes everywhere.  To be more specific, I saw gold everywhere.  Lighting, occasional tables, mirrors, art, objets d'art, accessories, furniture legs, textiles, rugs.  Nourison had a hide patchwork rug with a speckled metallic finish.  What???  Crazy!  And it wasn't super shiny metallic everyone was doing -- it was a brushed finish.  Now, the other side of that glam coin is the simplification of shapes.  Everything was very classic and clean.  Designed well; not over designed (or under designed).  It was balanced, and interesting, and...soft and subtle, and very, very pretty.  The furniture will make you feel like a modern-day Norma Shearer or Barbara Stanwyck.

Overall, it felt like Hollywood Glam, Midcentury Modern, and Eco-Friendly decided to join forces and make a new style.  And so now, Icy Eco Glam has been born.  Hmmm, maybe I should trademark that name...

Studio A, a Global Views company

Now, to finish, I'll share with you my two favorite parts of market:  one, I got to go back to Red Egg.  It's one of my favorite showrooms.  I've loved the furniture since I was in design school, and the owner/designer Carol Gregg is a sweet, talented, fantastic woman.  Her pieces are fun, and timeless, and amazingly beautiful.  I fell head over heels for a bright yellow bar this market, but here's a lovely example of their style:

Double Happiness Shanghai bookcase, Red Egg

And two, I lurve Taracea's signage outside their showroom.  Their sign consisted of large letters made from furniture pallets.  So awesome!  I couldn't go into the showroom (no time! sob!), and I have never heard of them, but they seem to fit with the "Eco" part of my post.  Their cool sign definitely put them on my radar...



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