As one of 2023’s trends to look out for in the Asian Paints trend forecast report, ‘Edge of the Forest’ is triggered by a post-pandemic world, where everyone is yearning to explore the great outdoors. Life affirming and restorative, ‘Edge of the Forest’ brings the outdoors into every room of the house
Amidst the weariness of constant digital engagement and the weight of climate change, a collective realisation has begun to emerge—a yearning for a more fulfilling and expansive existence. Instinctively, we are turning to nature, seeking solace in its transformative power to recharge us. Deep within the depths of our being, we now acknowledge that nature, with its vibrant life and captivating wonders, may offer the key to reconnecting the world. This has sparked the latest trend in design for 2023— ‘Edge of the Forest’.
As one of 2023’s trends to look out for in the Asian Paints trend forecast report, ‘Edge of the Forest’ is triggered by a post-pandemic world, where everyone is yearning to explore the great outdoors. And, as climate change infiltrates every aspect of our lives, we’re all doing our bit by using lesser and making more informed choices. Creating more sustainable homes with materials that cause as little harm as possible is our form of silent activism. In this landscape, designers and homeowners increasingly want to build with sustainable, organic and non-harmful materials to create a better urban future.
The movement ‘Edge of the Forest’ brings about a brighter yet muted colour palette, highlighting shades of raw cotton, marsh green, ginger root, amaranthus and coral coast. This is paired with hard materials such as terracotta tiles, bamboo, mud-plastered walls, cane and hand-carved wood; paired with softer pieces like crocheted fabrics, jute and loosely woven textiles. We found brands of all kinds around the world, looking into nature as their inspiration.
Finding a spot of nature within or close to your home if you’re living in urban India can be tricky. But you can hack this by brightening up a space with some pieces inspired by the elements in a forest. Carved out of a single block of green marble with fluting details to complement the properties of the stone, the ‘Rio’ lamp in Green Forest by Harshita Jhamtani Designs is a unique way to create a nature-inspired corner on a coffee table or by the bedside. Similarly, the ‘Verdure’ Art Cabinet’ by The Edit displays a sepia-toned foliage print inspired by the intricate beauty of the forest. Featuring double doors and drawers with ample storage space, the cabinet adds an antique rustic warmth in any room. You could also liven up any seating with these jungle print ‘Tropical Living’ Cushion Covers by Onset Homes. Each hand-made cushion cover is delicately adorned with Kantha embroidery.
Among an impressive collection of decals, borders and wallpapers is Asian Paints’ organic range—Nilaya Naturals. Formulated with 95 per cent native ingredients—such as soya bean extract, casein, calcium carbonate, castor seeds and neem oil—these paints feature a palette of 35 shades in a custom blend of pigments sourced from around the world. The breathable paints allow air to flow freely between each layer, thereby reducing microbial growth; leaving behind a clean fresh fragrance and a vintage matte finish. Unlike other paint products, these are made using responsibly sourced raw materials that do not release unfriendly chemicals into the atmosphere.
Know more about Nilaya Naturals here.
For a religious festival in Kolkata, architect Abin Chaudhuri’s design studio constructed a Pavilion of Canopies inspired by the celebrations of the local tribes and their symbiotic relationship between the community and the forest. In a hope to raise awareness about conserving the forestlands, the pavilion was constructed with 19 discs, each measuring 10 feet in diameter, laid out in a 60-foot circle, then raised 20 feet with the support of bamboo posts. This was contrasted with 38 planes of undulating fabric to create a parametric canopy that surged like the tangled vegetation of a forest. By placing LED drop lights within the spaces of each fabric panel, the design replicated the effect of witnessing shooting stars through a canopy of trees in the Bengal countryside.
Local artisans were also employed to create handcrafted birds for a forest-like atmosphere, and as a means to encourage and employ their art. The bamboo structure is also sustainable because it will be reused in future community events.
Luxury textile brand Sarita Handa launched its sustainable Japandi-style concept store last year called Sarita Handa NOW. Boasting a collection of furniture, bed linens, fabrics and objets d’art, each piece under the label is crafted to echo the Japanese principle Wabi Sabi to embrace imperfections and bring in an element of biophilia to a space. Creating simple luxury with a less-is-more philosophy, each hand-crafted piece either upcycles waste or has been designed with sustainable practices to reduce the impact on nature.
Discover Sarita Hand NOW here.
The ingredient-first restaurant Ekaa, in Mumbai, does not serve up any particular cuisine. Instead, it is driven by the seasons and the produce it brings—offering a newly curated menu every couple of months experimenting with a range of new and unique ingredients from across the country. Similarly, zero-waste Mumbai-based eatery Masque has a goal to create a no-waste loop. From vegetable peels being used for stock to leftover ingredients cooked and pureed to make chips that accompany dishes, each curated menu at Masque lists all the ingredients byproducts that have been experimented with for each dish. What remains after straining broths and stocks then heads to the compost bin, which is either fed to plants in the restaurant or sent to Masque’s farm in Pune—completing the zero-waste loop.
To tackle the growing problem of air pollution, Swedish décor giant IKEA created the Better Air Now initiative. Launched as the first-ever guide on measuring air pollution across value chains, the initiative has been developed in partnership with the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition. Using this guidance, IKEA sets a baseline and encourages other businesses to join the Alliance for Clean Air to contribute more to clean air and health. Aiming to convert rice straw (a harvesting residue that heavily contributes to air pollution when burned) into raw material, the Förändring collection of home accessories was created by Indian industrial designer Akanksha Deo Sharma and Finnish product designer Iina Vuorivirta. IKEA also aims to reduce air pollution in other crop burning regions of the world with this range.
Know more about IKEA’s Förändring collection here.
Interdisciplinary designer and architect Saif Faisal hopes to empower, educate and encourage citizens to grow their own food sustainably and organically with the Eat Neat Project, designer. Designing a revolutionary and functional farming method, the project ensures urban farming, even in the smallest of space, using the least amount of water. It promises a higher yield in the shortest amount of time, eschewing the use of pesticides or chemical additives. It relies on aquaponics, aquaculture (the combination of rearing fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) in a controlled, integrated, natural system. The fish generate waste that contains rich nutrients for plants to consume, which, in turn, leave fresh water in the fish tanks. This system produces two to four times the crop yield per acre, and uses 95 per cent less water than traditional agriculture. Fruits and vegetables produced this way are considered to be healthier than organic ones, since they’re produced in their most natural form possible and without the need of fertilisers.
Learn more about the Eat Neat Project here.
Inspired by the traditional courtyard house indigenous to Kerala, architect Jayadev Kesavankutty built Jaisen House to create a space that would be functional and respond well to nature. With a modernist take on the past, the entire home is connected to the outdoors through a courtyard, where one can enjoy rainy or sunny days. A play and control of natural light makes each space feel experiential, with every room being planned according to its time of use and the amount of light needed to illuminate the space. From the master bedroom with a courtyard and the dining area with a patio to the living rooms leading out into the central courtyard or the kitchen opening to the east, each zone in this house is defined by the light it receives and its proximity to nature.