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10 designers on the trends that will inspire décor in 2020

By Ela Das

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When we look back, the 2010s played with several ideas and changes in design, sometimes making us question our personal ideas and design choices. The start of the decade saw many people still reeling from the effects of recession in the noughties, bringing about a bigger divide in homes and interior design—both being either on a tight budget or extremely high end.

The internet and social media started playing a big role, with users going through a sea of mood boards on Pinterest for gaining inspiration, and Etsy sellers and online influencers sparking DIY trends and home décor hacks.

Just like fashion, with ‘It’ bags and statement jewellery, we saw a surge in ‘It’ colours and statement chairs—from greige, millennial pink and muted colours to Chandigarh, Eames and ghost chairs. While Scandinavian minimalism played a strong influence through the years, lest we forget, the discovery of the hygge lifestyle left us spending days searching YouTube videos for its correct pronunciation.

And, over the last few years, we’ve seen a surge in e-commerce making everything available at the click of a button, leading to heavy mass and throwaway consumerism.

While interesting in their own way, all these past habits and trends lead us to wonder what the new decade has in store for us. We asked 10 Indian designers for their design predictions for 2020. There were many ideas that were common, like the fact that most people will appreciate the importance of living in a sustainable fashion, and some trend predictions contradicting one another. You be the judge, here goes…

Founder, Scarlet Splendour, Kolkata


What it means…
“In 2020, design will border on art, blurring the lines between aesthetic and function,” says Ashish Bajoria, founder, Scarlet Splendour, explaining, “Furniture will double as sculptural pieces with metallic hints—especially gold. There’ll also be a dominance of animal forms and prints, with interior design being heavily inspired by nature.”

Its relevance…
“The design world is gravitating towards functional art for the last half of the decade. Most of our country’s prominent designers 

The Cuico—a celebration of animal forms in andromorphous designs.

are pushing the boundaries to create statement furniture pieces with long-term value,” says Bajoria

A black terrazzo monolith dining table cast for the project ‘The Homme Haus’, doubles as a functional piece of furniture and a room divider.

Principal Architect, Studio Nishita Kamdar, Mumbai


What it means…
“We’re looking at large objects in a variety of shapes, forms and colours being used to express a design,” forecasts Mumbai-based architect Nishita Kamdar, adding, “We’ll be noticing a restraint in design, heavily relying on monolithic forms in bold shapes—expressing a designer’s need to make a strong statement through voluminous shapes, while being minimalistic.”

Its relevance…
“There’s a growing need to cut down on the unnecessary, with a strong focus on subtle, smart and intelligent design to create a feeling of understated opulence.”

Look out for…
Sculptures by Annie Morris, street furniture by Djao-Rakitine or the Seashore Library by Vector Architects—“They all have a common thread between them: monolithic forms that are symbolic of larger ideals.”

Founder, Paul Matter, New Delhi


What it means…
This decade is all about inheriting values and stories through a habit of collectible design. Accessories in natural and sustainable materials, such as stone, metal, bamboo and ceramic, will trump over the use of plastics and wood,” predicts Nikhil Paul, founder of lighting design studio Paul Matter, in New Delhi.

Its relevance…
“In the last decade there have been discussions on the toll our environment has taken due to mass-buying habits. It has compelled designers to create products with more meaning and stories; employing handicrafts over industrial manufacturing. We’ll hopefully see more investment in collectible design, not just in furniture but even fashion. This will be in line with being conscious and aware of the ecological implications of our purchases.”

Examples of the trend…
“We’ve already witnessed a shift in the markets across Europe and some parts of Asia. In India as well, several designers have started to preview their creations that are rooted in this direction, such as Ashiesh Shah and Rooshad Shroff,” says Paul.

Paul Matter creates pieces that can be passed on to generations. All materials are used based on their longevity, carefuly being designed and finished by hand.

An interesting combimation of colour blocking and texture play in a home designed by FADD Studio.

Founders, FADD Studio, Bengaluru


What it means…
“We see colour-blocking being used in a big way,” say Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar, founders of Bengaluru-based FADD Studio, explaining, “By colour-blocking we mean using solid textures (such as veneers, cement finishes or non-busy even-tone stones) or colours (like paint or solid wallpapers) against each other. Whether it’s adjacent walls in a combination of two colours, shapes or textures, or a high contrast between a colour block on a floor against another on a wall without any pattern, we will witness a surge in bold geometric aesthetics.”

Its relevance…
“White walls and marble floorings are getting redundant, paving the way for other textures, colours and materials to come to the forefront and redefine luxury.” 

Look out for...
“We will be experimenting with lasting seamless cement floors from Pandamo and wall finishes from Nilaya by Asian Paints to achieve colour blocking in an interesting way,” says Ahmed.

Founder, Iram Sultan Design Studio, New Delhi


What it means…
“I would hope for a demise of trends, with a renewed commitment to timelessness,” says interior designer Iram Sultan, from New Delhi, explaining, “There’ll be a harmonious mix between the old and the new, with a revived habit of collecting antiques and art. Instead of following general trends, the focus will shift to bespoke interiors that will not be fleeting in their appeal, with designs that follow a personal aesthetic rather than a trend.”

Its relevance …
“We are looking at a time when people are hoping to achieve more intimate relationships and bonds. Designs that are deeply personal and unique to a person’s style will have more longevity to create a feeling of familiarity and warmth.”

Traditional wall panelling meets modern furniture, classic light fixtures and antique carpets.

The Breathing Walls residence - a conscious design for a narrow urban house in Kerala.

Founders, LIJO RENY Architects, Thrissur


What it means…
“We’ll slowly be looking at the demise of curated interiors,” warn Lijo Jos and Reny Lijo of LIJO RENY Architects based in Thrissur, explaining, “Imported furniture, unnatural lighting and big-name branded accessories create a space similar to a closed museum; mirroring the static character of high affluence. Instead, there’ll be a gradual shift to spaces that work around their natural surroundings, bringing nature into a home.”

Its relevance…
“With the on-going environmental and ecological crises, living with clean air, natural light and abundance of greenery has become the new symbol of affluence. People will want to connect more with nature, doing away with artificial elements of design as much as possible.”

Look out for…
“This won’t be a trend you’ll notice at once. It will slowly gain momentum over the next few years, with people getting more conscious of what they consume, looking to improve the air quality within their homes, and discovering the value of going back to basics.” 

7.    Vinithra Amarnathan
Founder, WEESPACES, Bengaluru


What it means…
“We will be seeing warmer earthy tones, such as beige, rusts, mustards and olives, taking over duller hues of grey and blue. I think people are tired of seeing monotony, and it’s time to create a mix of warm and cool,” says Bengaluru-based interior designer Vinithra Amarnathan.

This home incorporates a mix of warm earthy tones, dark woodwork, and a play of texture.

It’s relevance …

“Spaces are becoming smaller, and people want their homes to express their personalities through unique designs. Also, in a world where people have to cope with spending more time on devices, it’s imperative to create a cosy home with character and warmth to unplug and unwind. The grey-on-grey trend is overdone, and this infusion of warm earthy tones will make people feel like their homes are closer to nature and full of life.”

Look out for...
“We are seeing warmer tones making a comeback in fashion…. beige is the new grey, being paired with mustards and olives. Silhouettes are less structured, as well. In design, one practice always follows another, and we’re sure to see this trend inspiring interior design too.”

The Wrap Chair celebrates furniture with a minimal and sustainable footprint using unprocessed jute and recycled food wrapping cord.

Founder, AnanTaya AKFD, Jaipur


What it means…
“Mindful consumption will mark the beginning of the new decade, with a strong focus on sustainability,” forecasts Jaipur-based architect Geetanjali Kasliwal, founder of AnanTaya AKFD. She explains, “The common concern about climate change, sustainability, the harm of single-use plastic and environmental pollution will push professionals to innovate, developing recycled materials for homeware and décor.”

Look out for…
“For consumers, throwaway culture will phase out, giving way to longevity and timelessness. People will opt for local, hand-made, meaningful products, having emotional durability.” 

Co-founder, ADND, Mumbai


What it means…
“The Japanese influence in design, with their minimalist approach and endorsement of materials like shou sugi ban (charring wood for preservation), along with the growing need to use more sustainable natural materials will pave the way for simple luxuries as the future of design,” says Mumbai-based architect Shobhan Kothari, co-founder of ADND.

The next decade will be dictated to lived-in aesthetics and simple luxuries. The use of natural materials will pave the way forward for design.

Its relevance…
“The last decade saw a heavy dependence on social media. On many levels, it made the world less intimate and more faux. There will be a conscious effort to reconnect on a personal level. Any trend that finds its way into design, will strongly focus on this shift.”

Side tables in Bidriware from the Quaiser Series.

Founder, Saif Faisal Design Workshop, Bengaluru


What it means…
“In the new year, we’ll see more urban farming and plants integrated in product and interior design,” says Bengaluru-based designer Saif Faisal. He also predicts a revival of handmade crafts in bold shapes and patterns to do away with mass-produced objects and furniture. “We’re looking at a new era, where people will feel responsible about being ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable.”

It’s relevance…
“With a growing concern and consideration for the recent shifts in ecology, economy and socio-economic structure, people will naturally gravitate towards these trends as a way of conscious expression,” says Faisal.

Look out for…
“These trends will be here for a while, maybe even through the new decade, slowly gaining momentum with our changing times.”

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