Do you remember the scene from The Devil Wear’s Prada when Glenn Close is lecturing Anne Hathaway about how her blue sweater was carefully chosen for her by the powers that be?
Well, there’s a lot of truth to that scene. There exists a Color Institute whose job it is to travel the world each year and distill what is being introduced in the world of design (from home, fashion, art, jewelry, auto design, etc.) into a cohesive theme.
Perhaps an important member of the Color Institute is Leatrice Eisman, she consults for Pantone- the universal color system used by experts across industries all over the world. She attends various shows in diverse markets and locations around the world to see what is new. She then travels the country sharing her predictions and wisdom with various industries. This helps them stay ahead of the trends and use them wisely. Whenever she visits Denver, I make it a point to go see her and listen to what she has to say.
This last September she was in town talking about trends in color and some of the psychology behind them. I thought you might enjoy a brief summary of what she thinks the world has been feeling and where the trends are heading. You might have seen signs of these trends already. They will be in vogue for the next year or so until we start feeling a little more confident about our futures.
Color Trends for 2010
At the heart of all of our recent trends are two factors (any guesses?)- The economy and global awareness.Read More...
One part of the job when you’re a designer is attending seminars to keep current. Now I know this isn’t unique to my profession, everyone in every industry needs to be aware of new technology, products and procedures but I am not so sure that it’s as much fun in other careers- but maybe that’s just because I love what I do. I really enjoy those days when I get to go learn about new things.
I was at one such seminar recently on kitchen design. It was entitled A Concept Kitchen for 2010+. I had a great time and picked up a few new ideas to take away. While I was there for 3 hours I will try and distill the essence down for you and pick out the highlights.
On a very general level the trend is swinging away from big, showy spaces with natural everything and the best of the best whether you cook or not to more casual, cleaner, crisper spaces with a little bit of sparkle. Now there can be many discussions as to why this is happening but we’ll leave it at the simplest level of- they are trends and must therefore always change. I am not going to go into the why’s in this entry but believe me there are reasons behind the shift.
One thing that surprised me was how much of “tomorrow’s” kitchen are already being integrated into Colorado kitchen’s. The spaces that I have worked on the last year or so all show aspects of these new trends. Whether we are more open in out neck of the woods or that we just really like the casual way spaces are evolving I am not sure but we seem to be slightly ahead of the curve around here.
Some of the exciting new things you are seeing or will be seeing soon come from Europe. Now first I’ll start by telling you there are core differences in the the approach to cabinet design that I won’t bore you with but these differences lead to a big divergence in approach and execution of kitchen and bath design. The more cutting edge modern kitchens are born of this European way of thinking.
One of the things I really like is how new kitchens are being thought of more as whole units or blocks of space rather than individual cases that are joined together. This is the “crisper” in the trend. It is most easily seen in very contemporary design where one whole wall will look like a built in or wall of wood and upon closer inspection they are cabinets with specific functions behind them. It can also still be used in more traditional finish choices because this approach allows the spaces to be divided up beyond the simple “work triangle” into zones such as cooking, cleaning, prep, entertaining, breakfast, eating, etc.
Another big shift is a break with the insistence to use natural products everywhere. Granite, wood, copper, etc. are still used and very popular but the new kitchens are focusing more on performance and design of the individual items that make up the space. As we become more aware of the carbon footprint of many products and long term effects on the planet there is a subtle shift to incorporate the wonderful new green products and technologies out there. This is leading to a new level of mixing old and new to create layers of beauty and a complex simplicity which appears to be highly edited. Everything in these spaces has a purpose or it’s not there, this is the “cleaner” in the trend. I see this happening in many ways: porcelain tiles making a comeback reinvented in large scale formats which has the added benefit of smaller and less grout lines to contend with, induction cooking which is 70% more efficient than gas, concrete and other man made counter options, glass tiles and other shinny surfaces used throughout the kitchen.
As far as the “sparkle” in the trend. Who doesn’t want a little glam in the kitchen? It’s a space most of us spend a lot of time in and we want to feel like maybe every day is a bit of a special occasion. I see this in the continued popularity of stainless steel, glamours tile back splashes and bold color choice or high contrasts.
I hope you enjoyed the information I’ve shared and found it fun to hear where kitchens might be going from here. As I mentioned earlier I really like those days where I get to learn something new.
“I’ve got good taste. Why do I need a designer?” “I’ll just go order a room I like out of Pottery Barn.” These statements are both true. So why hire a designer? Because great designers help you express your style in ways that you might not on your own.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard from my clients at least four times, “WOW, I love it, I never would have picked it but I love it.” Statements like this make me smile all over because that statement is at the core of my design philosophy. In general terms I view myself as a editor in the design process. My job is to get to know you as the client and most importantly how you want to live and be in the future space. Then, I take my experience, knowledge, and recourses of the industry and create a wonderful space that fulfills all of those objectives. When I make a selection for a project I am not just saying “it looks pretty” I am saying “this meets all the requirements for the space and looks pretty”.
During the design process I always try and push my clients a little out of their comfort zone. This might sound scary or like you you will end up with something that is not really you but it’s what always leads to the “Wow, I love it” reaction. If I were to do everything just as the client would do on their own then why hire me? The best part of the design process and working together as a team is helping clients take their project to the next design level, a level that more accurately represents their dream space. This stepping out comes in many different forms, it usually isn’t much- remember they still need to feel comfortable in the space once I am gone- but it always is just outside of the normal box for them and always something the client would have not thought of or tried on their own. Clients often ask me, “How did you come up with that idea?” This is what sets designers apart, we just get inspired all the time. Working together allows clients the freedom to take risks they wouldn’t on their own, they trust me to guide them away from costly, disappointing mistakes. Ultimately, this gives them some safety from which to explore.
When you choose to work with a designer you should expect them to help you find your design style and challenge you to step out and grow a little. Most clients start our first conversation with something like, “My taste is Pottery Barn, or Crate n Barrel, etc. This is a good starting point and these stores have some great stuff. My ultimate goal is to help each client find their own unique style that reflects themselves and can’t be described by naming a big box chain. Your home should be a deeply personal space that reflects you and your family. That’s what makes your home a Haven.