TRENDS REPORT: A romantic sensibility and recycled materials are set to figure hugely in design over the next couple of years, as we head into a new design paradigm in response to both environmental concerns and the pandemic.

The interlocking worlds of fashion, furniture and interior design are better leveraging the potential of recycling, combined with technology to produce washable and durable materials. Expect to see products made from plant algae, seaweed and recycled paper.

Image: Scarlet Opus

Meet the New Romantics

Chanel Couture

We’re also leaning hopefully towards the romance of textiles and products in warm creams and blushing hues. This renewed romanticism is evidenced by floaty textiles and pretty, dainty cutouts in both women’s and menswear. Look out for creased shirting that is contemporary and beautiful with romantic details such as puffed sleeves. Discretion is seen in everything from the lace details to the colour palette, which is pervaded by neutrals and warm creams or ecru.

This Victorian drama is heightened by craft techniques such as pleating. Brown paper will also be huge, used not only for its traditional wrapping purposes but to collage and layer.

Sustainability in Focus

We all know that our species is producing a scandalous amount of waste and we need to start getting serious about solutions. Buying and making less is an obvious one – 150 billion garments are made every year, for 7 billion people. We may have cut down on air travel in 2020 but the turbo-charged acceleration in online shopping throughout the pandemic has led to an exponential explosion in packaging.

Many designers have been looking at ways to reuse this packaging. Papier mâché has moved decisively out of the playroom and onto collector’s shelves, with sought-after designer vases such as Marie Michielssen’s ‘Earth’ series for Serax, which makes use of paper, print and a reuse of materials in a playful way.

‘Earth’ vase, small from Serax. Designed by Marie Michielssen.  Image: Wallpaper

Vintage Books Are Back (Hint: Technically, They Never Left)

The new romanticism, recycling and paper obsession meet a natural nexus in vintage books, which will be big in interior design. Reading hotels have been popping up all over Japan in the last few years, with people craving the disconnection from technology and comfort which reading an old book provides.

Book and Bed Hotel in Ikeburo, Tokyo.

Discover the potential of sustainable materials in 2021. The 18th edition of the Decor + Design show in Melbourne this July will feature a ‘Sustainability Hub’, as well as innovative exhibitors from across the spectrum of the Australian interior design industry. Plus don’t miss the Virtual Major Design Trends 2022 Forecast from Victoria Redshaw, which will be released on 1st July before Decor + Design.

Entry to the exhibition is free but limited to trade visitors – register now to be approved and start planning your trip to Melbourne!