Monthly Archives: November 2013

Plascon Trend Talk – Part Two

So let’s continue on from where we left off in our last post while covering the recent Plascon Trend Talk “Reflections on the Future” event.

Lianne Burton   – past editor of Elle Decoration.

Plascon Trend Talk - Lianne BurtonOMG – she has the most soothing tone of voice – what a pleasure she was to listen to. Clearly she is a methodical story telling person, who is able to paint a picture with her words.  She supported her content (words) with the most compelling and appropriate images.  Not getting the picture of her topic, Urban Millennium, was out of the question.  She made it so easy to follow.

In short, in her presentation she identified that the major shift we are facing is a move from the idea of “human nature” towards the concept of “urban nature” now that the majority of the human population lives & grows up in cities versus rural areas.  The stats apparently support this by revealing that the numbers for city living is overtaking that of rural country areas. Oh dear me! But thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. People have been flocking to the cities for decades now. At least we know that the country towns will still be there for us to do our getaway thing!

Interestingly, she suggests that trends start on the streets and spread virally, coming largely from cities. This is because cities offer diversity, proximity, possibility, and pace of change, identity and creativity. Social media is naturally the perfect platform to encourage and accelerate the spread of trends – and again Pinterest has been acknowledged as being a prime avenue.  Yet, the way I see it going, these urban culture trendsetters are the very people who are taking what rural / country life has to offer to mix into their trendy designs.

But I definitely think she has a strong point here.  You just have to look at Japan as a good example of Urban Nature –such a huge number of people living and growing up in a dense urban environment.  I did not know this, but in an effort to retain a sense of individual identity we ‘urbanites’ often run the maverick route.  Enter Japan – this is seemingly where the trend to pop streaks of pink, purple or whatever colour into your hair originated… well, I’ll be damned.

Therefore, by default as we adapt to this way of life, we will seek creative ways of expressing ourselves and making our urban environment a happy space to inhabit. Particularly in a concrete jungle that a city can be. I am tempted to think that the transformation that Woodstock is undergoing could be a product of the Urban Nature culture.  A run-down suburb in the City of Cape Town that is slowly regaining its faded sheen as designers begin to infiltrate its spaces – bringing with them a renewed, uplifting energy.  There seems to be a new appreciation for street art, old buildings with vintage walls that enjoy a glorious patina of their own (the new wood so to speak) revival of buildings, creative hubs and market spaces.  It is almost as if we have accepted our fate that we are urbanites now. That’s it – we have to make it work right here, right now.

Thinking about all of this Urban Culture shift stuff, brought to mind the presentation of Dan Pearson a Landscape Artist/Designer whom I heard speak at Design Indaba 2012. He conceptualised, designed and installed the most impressive Urban Garden Park in Japan. The idea was to make a creative green space available to the urbanites – a space full of natural surprises. A space where they could totally immerse themselves into nature, with the intention of re-engaging with the natural elements of life.  This is an essential ingredient in the growing Urban Culture. Visiting this Garden is on my bucket list…

So, there you have it – Yes it seems Urban Nature is entrenching itself while we speak.

Plascon Trend Talk – Part One

Marica and I sneaked out of the office to attend the recent the Trend Talks 2013, being hosted jointly by Plascon and InHouse Brand Architects. Pity we have not done so before. If memory serves me right, this initiative was conceptualised and started by Lauren Shantall in 2012. Joining her is Lacia Gess as MC and it seems that this event is fast becoming a “must do” on the calendar of the local design trade. Plus, plus, plus – local design-mined charity Rock Girl is the beneficiary of each event’s proceeds, while creating more awareness around safe places for vulnerable women, young girls and boys alike.

The theme of the topics under discussion was “Reflections on the Future”, with a view to looking at some design trends going forward what with 2014 becoming more of a reality with each passing day. The three speakers were Laurence Brick, Co Founder of retail outlet, Loads of Living (one of my personal favourite décor shops); Cara Siegers from InHouse Brand Architects and Lianne Burton, a past editor of Elle Decoration,  now an “accidental curator of words, images and ideas”,  – her own definition.

Today we look at what Laurence Brick and Cara Siegers had to say…

What was interesting for both Marica and I, looking back post the event, was that each speaker presented a very different angle of design (largely related to architecture and interiors) – so repetition was not the order of the day.

I am not going to go into hectic detail about the content of each speaker’s presentation. But will just highlight that which stayed with us and impressed us most. Neither of us here at The Design Tabloid professes to be Trend Gurus. We will leave that for the likes of Mr Dave Nemeth. But because we spend so much time on the social media platforms, especially Pinterest, we have noticed that we’re managing to stay pretty clued up when it comes to trends.

Plascon Trend Talk - Laurence BrickLaurence Brick spoke of many trends that have already made their mark locally and abroad, particularly – once again – on Pinterest. Elements of interiors such as the Industrial style, its related and complimentary elements – lighting, seating, furniture and those gorgeous warm metals that we have written about before. He touched on neons, which by the looks of things has no intentions of going away any time soon, as it morphs to take on different shapes and applications. The other design elements that seems here to stay are geometric patterns such as those triangular shapes that are so cleverly produced onto fabric, jewellery, wall textures etc. Yes, I do think that those little geos are going to gain momentum and we can expect to see far more coming out into the retail space.

Moving on to the point that really made my eyes stretch in wonder, was the fact that the patterned floors are once again gaining a place of prominence. Seemingly in kitchens and bathrooms. Probably patios as well. Mosaic patterned floor tiles with that strong Moroccan flavour. But not restricted to those areas or patterns. I have noticed it around the Pinterest-sphere but now am intrigued and fascinated by it. Would love an opportunity to install it into one of our interior projects.  And let’s not forget that pattern on the floor has been coming across strongly in rugs as well.  And no, I am not referring here to the traditional rug and kilim patterns.  Rather there is a great deal of modern kilims on the market. As well as those gorgeous re-loaded vintage flavoured Persian rugs that has been faded by a particular washing technique. The patchwork rugs are the yummiest of this genre. Note to self: Must write about that some time soon. 

Plascon Trend Talk - Cara SiegersWhat stayed with me most coming out of Cara Siegers presentation was the growing trend of 3D printing. Okay – so I have heard of it, but true to my form, when it sounds too technical for me, I don’t give it the time of day. Net result was that up until now, it has just stayed out of the reach of my mental grasp. Confession – even during her presentation, I was still not too clear on it.  Afterwards Marica and I had one of our oh-so many discussions and the light slowly began to dawn.  Later we popped over to research it a bit further – AND – it became an AH-HA moment.  I am quite excited about it and I guess now that I understand it a bit more, I will probably find it coming across my path more frequently. Thank you Cara Siegers for sharing your insights!

Next blog we take a look at what Lianne Burton had to present.

Cheers for now.

Décor Dictionary: Lime Wash

{click to enlarge}

Lime Wash: (or whitewash) is a traditional treatment for wood or masonry made from a slaked lime mixture. In recent years the traditional lime has been replaced by semi-transparent stains or diluted white paint as the favoured method of whitewashing. Matured lime wash gives wood an aged look – the finish is translucent, allowing the wood grain to show through. Furniture with a washed effect is often associated with French Cottage, Shabby Chic, and Coastal styles.

[Image Sources: 1, 2, 3]

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Buying Cheap vs Buying Value

The other day while walking my dog on the local cricket field I got chatting to one of the other “dog club” members. He was a man who had been round the block a few times with regards to running and owning businesses. The talk was around his proposed new business venture, which was importing inexpensive furniture from South East Asia.

His take was that he would import inexpensive furniture in volume and sells it off to wholesalers. The price bracket that he was speaking of made me realise that the furniture could not be the best and the possibility of a very short lifespan was strong. Which just means that the home owner would have to delve into his pocket again in about two year’s time to replace the headboard or bed.

I realise that we can still expect this economic downturn to run for a good while yet and as such we are all turning our pennies over twice before spending it. Naturally we are also out to look for bargains – the less strain on our already tight purse strings the better.

However, when it comes to interiors items such as furniture, art and rugs, I cannot buy into the concept of buying cheap just for the sake of buying something you need. Truth be known it is much better to delay gratification, save the money, spend a bit extra and buy a well constructed, good quality item of furniture. The reason is obvious – it will last you longer, in fact you could pass it onto your children. A sofa that has a well constructed frame and good fabric will definitely outlast any mass produced sofa. It will possibly require re-upholstery after a few years, but that would cost you a whole lot less than a replacement sofa.

Think about it – in generations past, most furniture was solid wooden items or sofas that had spring systems. Those pieces outlasted their owners, becoming the very pieces of furniture that are now sold not as “secondhand” but as trendy “vintage” and ‘retro’ items.

The same can be said for art and rugs. Not many of us can afford to fill our homes with original pieces, but please consider buying either one splendid rug or one stunning piece of original art, to create an attractive feature in your home. It will mean that you will have to save and hence wait, but that gives you time to source exactly what you desire and visualise for that spot.

Trendsetters have actually noted that during the economic downturn, if the public are going to spend their money on luxury items, they want to buy quality that will last.

Long may it last!!!

{Image Source – read this related article}
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