Victoria Redshaw of leading UK trend forecasting agency Scarlet Opus spoke to a packed house on Day One of the Decor + Design show at Melbourne Exhibition Centre. The first day of the show was a smashing success, with thousands of trade visitors pouring into Jeff’s Shed to see over 250 of Australia’s top interiors companies.

Victoria travels the world consulting and lecturing on trends, using a multi-layered research approach which encompasses historical waves, current affairs and symbiosis with related areas such as the fashion industry. She gave a fascinating breakdown of the top four trends for 2016/2017:

Desert wanderer

This trend is all about controlled rusticity. It celebrates the primitive and raw versus the clean, simple lines of the minimalist. Whilst there may be elements of gloss and shine, it is fundamentally balanced, with striking geological and topographical elements.

The colour palette is an earthy and soothing one, with orange tones, muted saffron and cinnamon moving through to purples. As Victoria said, it is the first time since 1987 the word ‘mauve’ has been used in interior design without an accompanying look of shame. There is also an enormously beautiful blushed silver which is a new take on rose gold. The ‘almost coral’ blush tones add an edited softness to the palette, whilst indigo blue gives depth.

The desert wanderer theme is also picked up by Moorish and Moroccan patterns that can be tied back to centuries-old rugs and tiles.

Organic Matter

This is an extremely exciting trend for the grass-starved urban dweller. It is a trend towards extreme naturalness that Victoria terms ‘Organic Matter’ because it is almost a literal experimentation with what would happens if we let nature take its course within cities.

As our lives become ever more urban and built up, having sudden and wonderful encounters with wild natural elements can give immense joy. This is particularly true in seething metropoles such as Shanghai and Singapore, where projects are in motion to create huge ‘natural’ structures – almost shrines. Changi airport will have Project Jewel, which will be a remarkably immersive green space. It goes beyond the green wall in a restaurant – it is almost nature as co-creator. The juxtaposition of smooth and overgrown qualities almost disguises the true silhouette of things. Materials are interesting, organic. For example – stabilised moss. It is all about creating the appearance of an artfully accidental, natural appearance. Patterns have a dense usage of florals and foliage.

Analogue workshop

We live in a constantly updating, sometimes overwhelming digital age, which can make everything feel very temporary and transient. There is a nascent thirst for a real digital detox (not just switching your phone off for an hour).

The ‘Analogue Workshop’ trend explores the idea of embracing slow and low technologies; exploring old crafts and seeing the beauty of simplicity. It’s also about respecting skills that took a long time to achieve. This trend has an old century feel, even incorporating architectural elements of brutalism.

It also has a hidden complexity that is based on a love of design. Special touches are included, such as leather binding a join, or exposing the screws and rivets to show the quality of the workmanship. The colour palette is a low-key consideration of very familiar colours such as workshirt chambray blue, granite grey or dark petrol colour. It takes ordinary colours and throws in a discordant aspect that reinterprets what once was. Materials and textures are also familiar; such as the renaissance of interest in cork as seen in Ilse Crawford’s new collection for IKEA.


We all have our tribes, whether this is expressed in a classic nuclear family or an urban network. This trend is more metro and is specifically about women. It’s an exciting time for women, with a much stronger representation beginning to take place on the international stage. This trend is about embracing that, principally through bold, striking colours that underscore the vibrancy and strength of the female species.

Decor + Design is on until Sunday 24 July at Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Register now to visit. Scarlet Opus will be leading Design Trend Tours through the exhibition, please see the website for details.