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Design Experts Discuss Interior Trends 2008

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From Russia with Love [for Design] A panel of design experts discusses the latest in interior trends during a presentation of imm cologne’s new book Interior Trends 2008 in St. Petersburg By Josephine Minutillo While it may be the highest compliment to be called a trendsetter, for those who track trends, praise gives way to skepticism, particularly since many would argue that trends don’t even exist. Though the idea of trends is long-accepted in the fashion industry, it is still a controversial one when it comes to furniture and interior design. “Why are we here? What are trends?” These were the words of Fabio Novembre, one of five design professionals gathered to participate in imm Cologne’s annual Trend Board. The flamboyant Italian architect was joined by Swedish architect Eero Koivisto, journalist Sophie Lovell, materials expert Christiane Sauer and American designer Stephen Burks for a two-day brainstorming session this past summer during which the group examined colors, patterns, shapes and materials that have made their mark in furniture and lighting this past year. The results of their research were compiled in the book Interior Trends 2008, which was presented for the first time on September 4 in St. Petersburg, Russia. According to Udo Traeger, Vice President of furniture, interior design and textiles at Koelnmesse, the parent company that produces imm Cologne, “The book has become a tool for designers and manufacturers to work with,” noting that past volumes have become part of the reference library at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also points out that retailers worldwide have been known to style their showrooms based on the visual inspiration offered throughout its pages. This year’s book highlights four trends. Dubbed Outside In, the first trend describes an effort to bring the natural environment into our living spaces while at the same time providing a break from overly designed interiors. Following along those lines, the second trend, Neo Nature, focuses on organic forms, especially those derived using the latest technology. An example is Dutch designer Joris Laarman’s bone furniture, the forms of which are extracted from a high-tech sculpting tool that analyzes bone growth. The last two trends represent opposite extremes in design. Design School refers to the explosion of design and the „anything goes“ attitude towards making and exhibiting new products. While much of the objects in this category contribute to what the panel referred to as „design pollution,“ such playful or irreverent pieces by the likes of Dutch designers Maarten Baas (specifically his clay furniture) and Ineke Hans have a viable position in the market. The market plays a critical role in the final trend, which the panel called Priceless for good reason. This is where design meets art – limited edition works by signature designers like Ron Arad and Marc Newson with price tags to rival museum pieces. Homes have become galleries and interior designers their curators. Eclectic collections come together to form a total look where, according to the book, „function is nothing, form is everything.“ Several thousand copies of the trend book will be printed for sale to the public and distribution to the 1,300 exhibitors at the next imm cologne, which will take place from January 14-20, 2008. The findings of the trend workshop also form the basis for informed by cologne, one of imm’s most popular exhibits.

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