Neale Whitaker: The year in design.
FROM of ART DECO TO JAPANDI, THESE TRENDS MADE WAVES THIS YEAR
History might record 2016 as an annus horribilis, what with Brexit, Trump et al, but looking on the brighter side, it’s been a great year in design.
I devoted my first Stellar column in August to Art Deco, one of 2016’s most important style influences – especially in the guise of bold, geometric tiles, plush velvets and brass lamps with glass spheres, like those of British designer Michael Anastassiades.
The untimely passing of David Bowie in January ushered in a tsunami of Ziggy Stardust lightning stripes, but on a broader level it reaffirmed the 1970s as a potent source for fashion and interior design.
It has also been a great year for welcoming international designers to our shores, like Italian maestros Piero Lissoni and Patrizia Moroso, and Britain’s Tom Dixon and Matthew Williamson, and a proud year, too, for Australian design. Sydney-based Emma Elizabeth and Tom Fereday corralled some of our best young talent to form Local Design, the most impressive Australian presence yet at April’s Milan Design Week.
Morocco-mania has held us in its grip, due largely to the phenomenon of the tribal rug. With global demand having surely exhausted supply of the genuine articles, manufacturers have been quick to replicate the style.
Not to be outdone by their predecessor, the 1980s came back to shake our hand, largely through a renewed appreciation of black and white (my money’s on a 2017 renaissance for neo-classical textiles powerhouse Timney Fowler), and a dusty pink shade that an earlier generation knew as apricot. Love it or loathe it, the flesh-like tone has surfaced everywhere.
It’s been a good year for chlorophyll, with sales of house plants booming, the biggest spike (geddit?) being cacti. What I call soulful design – designing from the heart – has been best exemplified by Aussie designers Anna Spiro and Sibella Court, and while it doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, the term “Japandi” has been whispered this year, acknowledging the symbiosis between the Japanese aesthetic and our evergreen favourite, Scandi design.
Viewed from space, 2016 would have surely looked blue (in every shade from aqua to midnight to Obama’s tie), while red didn’t get a look in. Sorry, Donald.