Following on from Jim Biddulph's round up of colour trends spotted at Clerkenwell Design Week, this time his focus turns to the materials that were on show over the three-day industry event. Here's Jim's edit of materials you need to know about for the next 12 months?
'The leading material applications adopted the idea of sourcing directly from nature with solid wood dominating proceedings. Brands including Artisan, Vitamin Design, Quixotic and Baker Street Boys offered furniture from boardroom desks to stools in natural and unprocessed states with Arkaia opting to highlight the imperfections and celebrate them by the deliberate patching-up of their vast timber surfaces.
Accompanying wood was natural stone and marble, which was used in conjunction and complemented with green shades by furniture manufacturer Mater, who also regularly work with two other natural materials; cork and leather. Mass Productions also offered furniture with agreeable mixes of leather and wood as well as metal and textile. Such materials are seen to be solid and reliable and when used in such a raw yet crafted state offers a very durable and authentic feel.
There were a number of uses of leather, most of which using darker shades that feel less processed and again, closer to the nature. However, as with many of the textile coverings used on furniture across the show, there were some interesting examples of divergent arrangements. German furniture brand Thonet offered a pleasing yet contrasting contrast of textures as seen with woven fabric on the back and black leather on the front of the 808 lounge chair. Synthetic woven fabrics were used on a number of outdoor furniture ranges, which were abundant across the show. Brands including Dedon, Gloster and Cane-Line produce weatherproof furniture that is not only very comfortable but designed with interior applications in mind, making the chairs, sofas, poufs and tables completely transferable between our in and outdoor environments.
Combinations of metal, often with brushed or slightly muted finishes, and natural stone appears to be a steady ever-present of late. This may be in part because of the materiality of Tom Dixon's now world famous design objects, most notably his lights, which were on display in the unusual setting of a church. Either way, these fundamental and of-the-earth materials were also the pairing of choice for The Watermark Collection's new and simply elegant tap range.
Acoustics are fast becoming a buzzword for manufacturers and specifiers alike, with user experience increasingly at the very fore of interior schemes. There were a number of examples of acoustic enhancing surfaces and systems at Clerkenwell Design Week this year. They may not have been directly at the fore and vying for attention, but this is perhaps a testament to the sophistication with which such pieces are now being treated; out of sight, out of sound and therefore out of mind - but a clearer mind. Examples included the fully incorporated dividing panels that feature in the furniture of Sixteen3 and Palau, the exaggerated design features of the wingback style chairs from Prooff and EFG, the wall cove rings of Baux and Ocee as well as the more obvious shaped textile suspended coverings with structured surfaces from Offecct and Abstracta. Whether a commercial or domestic setting the abundance of these examples highlights a need to engage in the sound qualities our material applications create in the spaces we inhabit.
Read part one of our Clerkenwell Design Week report for all the latest colour trends spotted at the fair.
Jim Biddulph is Projects & Materials Manager at material library Material Lab. Find out more about Material Lab Images courtesy of Jim Biddulph.