My Milan DESIGN Week REPORT 2023 is out! Carefully curated, it is a comprehensive yet compact summary of the key takeaways on colour, material, finish, style, shape, construction, design details, innovations and overarching themes.
I developed my report for brands/creatives who weren’t able to attend MDW themselves or don’t have the resources to distil relevant best practice examples. It features many quality brands, over 100 pages, with a minimum of 3 inspirational images on each page (1 page = 1 theme), in deliberate contrast to the many 200+ page reports that exist.
More time has been spent on selection/analysis to help brands quickly understand what really matters. Additional images are available on request and this report provides a valuable, solid basis for informed decision making.
Email hello(at)alinaschartner.com for your preview and all you need to know about how you can get my report.
I didn´t spot completely game-changing innovation, however, for the trained design and trend-savvy eye, there were beautiful move-ons from previous themes and lovely touches of newness throughout the exhibitions. Most of the designs and colours shown I forecast two years ago.
Three major influences drive this slow-down:
– Brands have less money to spend due to the global impacts of the corona crisis or have shifted their budget more towards macro-trends rather than investing in design trend consultancy. However, really good design needs really good research – insight and inspiration are equally as important. The results are now vastly indistinguishable product lines.
– Brands are more risk-averse. Falling back to classics and cash cows is a common strategy in times of uncertainty. However, customers still expect a certain level of fresh input to be enticed to buy.
– Brands consciously stop pushing for newness for the sake of it as a response to heightened pressure for sustainable business practices. More informed than ever, customers reject greenwashing and expect real commitment and brands taking responsibility. We now see some brands showcasing the new collections alongside products of former seasons. This approach is more similar to the layering in most people´s homes. Reworking well-selling products to be ecological and creating fair working conditions for the people producing the goods and working within the delivery chains is a viable option. Moving forwards intersectional environmentalism is key for future-proofing businesses.
Overall, the fair and surrounding exhibitions were smaller and visited by a lot fewer international guests. The Maison & Objet fair team did well to drastically cut down on plastic waste and to make recycling easier than ever.
Reach out if you want constructive, straightforward feedback or my input on your design or trend projects.
It feels so long and not long ago that I worked on the Trend Bible SS21 Home & Interiors trend book in-house based in Newcastle. The trends we published in 2019 are a huge success. You can now find them anywhere: H&M HOME, Habitat, West Elm, ferm LIVING, Anthropologie, Target, Westwing, MADE.COM, Maisons du Monde, La Redoute, Dunelm, Matalan, AMARA Living Ltd., Broste Copenhagen,…
Some of you already know that I have continued collaborating with the TB team remotely. Today I have done my last review on SS23 which I creatively co-directed with Naomi Pollard. On the 5th of July, the ebook will be published. Well proud of what we have achieved. Great work, team! Special thanks to trend researcher Jamie Hannah Shackleton for going above and beyond to make this look and read as ace as it does. Think it’s the most well-rounded book I’ve worked on so far. Sooo much inspiration for designers, retailers, manufacturers and brands working around #lifeathome. Mid-July we’ll already start on the in-depth work for AW23/24 which I’ll creatively direct again.
These images are a glimpse into the making of a trend story called Urban Retreat. It was already set to have a big impact on interiors for 2021, but the pandemic has accelerated the need for green spaces within urban environments. Expect to see more architectural details influence design direction as a whole for the seasons to come.
Colour of the day: Ultramarine Blue Simple description: a deep vivid blue
Notes for usage: Ultramarine blue is high energy. Its vibrant, mesmerising glow is so powerful, that it even adds zing to shady spaces. This colour is always a statement. Consider softening it with chalky white for small spaces, to avoid an overwhelming effect. Even little amounts of this colour will draw attention.
For a straight, graphic look try pairing it with crisp white and black. Small accents of Ultramarine next to gentle pinks make the colour seem more approachable. The brave add a colour pop with crimson red or neon orange; however, I would recommend sticking to homoeopathic doses, unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
Made globally recognised by artist Yves Klein, who described the colour as the expression of ultimate freedom, it has never lost its edgy appearance since the 1960s. Historically, ultramarine blues were won from ground Lapislazuli, meaning they were extremely expensive for centuries. Synthetic ultramarines are cheap, which make them popular choices for mixing wall paint or neutralising unwanted yellow tinges from paper to bleached hair.
For surface design, I prefer ultra-matte, dry-looking finishes for these shades of blue, to not take anything away from the depth and intensity of the colour. Glossy ceramics can work well though, particularly when handmade effects are still visible. High-shine surfaces can seem artificial and but also visionary. Admittedly, Ultramarine Blue is not the easiest colour to work with on a large scale, but sometimes that is exactly where the serious excitement starts.
PS: I had shared information about ultramarine blue before, but this colour group continues to grow in imporatance from product to lighting design.
WITH PLEASURE is an ode to indulge in exquisite hedonism elevating every day. This trend fully embraces maximalism, a premium touch for daily goods and making the most of any situation after prolonged feelings of having missed out.
With stretched budgets due to the corona crises, 2022 is likely to be another year for many not to be able to go on holiday. Instead, interiors and campaigns are reminiscent of plush hotel treatment. For the homebody economy, this is an excellent opportunity to offer more of life´s little luxuries.
Mix bold stripes with ditsy florals and wiggly line-work for cutting edge clashes with vintage-inspired patterns. Powdery red, blue and peach freshen up a base of classic, dark shades. Absolute must-haves? Ramie or lotus silk sleep masks, serving trays and twisted candles.
Powdery, sophisticated reds such as RAL “Light Tomato” have little in common with the nuances that first come to mind when red is mentioned. Its nonchalant elegance is heart-warming. This colour works best in matte and velvety qualities.
REWILD supports a return to more wilderness and holistic well-being. We see the steep resurgence of natural remedies; from beauty brands incorporating foraged botanicals, to booked-out wild-herbal courses.
Urbanisation and edutainment formats such as David Attenborough´s “A Life on Our Planet” drive this trend. Circular thinking is expected. With growing awareness of the impact of deforestation or the textile industry polluting our ecosystems, a major CMF-shift (colour, material, finish) is about to go mainstream.
Oat-meal shades replace chemical white. More sustainable fibres such as hemp are left unbleached and undyed. Accent pieces are coloured with plant and mineral-based dyes or pigments derived from industrial waste. Ceramics stay unglazed, wood is untreated or oiled. Mycelium is used from packaging design to the world´s first “living coffin” by Bob Hendrikx.
Rich browns such as RAL “Golden Brown” are key colours to be paired with oat-meal shades and unbleached, chalky whites. More and more designers turn to plant and mineral-based dyes or pigments derived from industrial waste. Mix darker wood with paler varieties for a contemporary look.
DREAMSCAPE blurs the borders between earthly and extraterrestrial realms. Amid the new space-age design is influenced by notions of populating Mars. Raw surfaces, porous textures and bold orbital shapes are key for product direction.
The colour palette takes inspiration from the red planets matt nuances ranging from mud yellow to deep mineral reds. Light mauve and peach add softness whilst two lilacs – one on the blueish one on the reddish spectrum – contrast the hazy glow.
Global pressures – from the exploitation of our world´s resources to the corona crisis – have accelerated escapist tendencies. Millions dream of a life beyond the mundane. Expect to see a rising demand for virtual/extended reality experiences as well as adaptogens and nootropics for relaxing at home.
Feeling ready for Spring Summer 2021? Baked and faded tones are reminiscent of the warmth of sun-soaked days spent in laid-back retreats in Southern Provence.
‘La Belle Vie’ is one of the trend stories I developed with my team at Trend Bible in early 2019. It´s lovely seeing what we predicted to gain importance on the high street now. The palette I designed for this modern rustic look is still one of my favourites with its nonchalantly relaxed charm.
When I selected the nuances I made sure they work in various lighting conditions – not just in regions naturally gifted with more sunshine. The palette certainly still cheers me up and I love how versatile it is. You can easily combine any of the shades with each other.
Let´s make celebrating love fully inclusive; not just on Valentine´s Day but all year round.
Did you know that the name is derived from Latin ‘valentia’ meaning strength or capacity?
14 February is often disliked by singles, people in unfulfilling relationships and happy couples not conforming to stereotypical norms alike.
In recent years we have seen the rise of #galentines celebrations – female friends gifting one another to express their non-romantic love. It´s a step moving forwards.
But there is still untapped potential for the gift and greetings industry to offer options outside of heteronormative clichés. We also have to do more than rainbow prints if we mean equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
‘MON AMOUR’ inspires us to think outside the box of gender assigned designs. This mood board gives romantic love between men a voice. However, the imagery is chosen to be welcoming to all; men, women, non-binary people with all their sexual preferences. Conceptions of female and male colours are challenged. Mauve tones, deep blues and reds ooze sophistication, whilst a pop of bold red amplifies the contemporary edge of this dreamy story.
‘YOU ROCK MY LIFE’ shouts out loud for love in various forms – from passionate and sexy to amicably asexual. The mood board opens us to the idea of gifting loved ones regardless if we are in a romantic relationship or not. Messaging is fun and cheeky. Gentle pinks – playing with warm and cool undertones – serve as background colours for clashing reds. Soft yellow adds an element of surprise in this vastly monochromatic colour scheme.
Have you noticed, that some of the nuances also feature in other trend stories I have created for 2021+? Using overarching colours ensures different collections work with each other. This approach is more sustainable, as it´s easy to integrate stock that did not sell the following season/year. If your brand values seasonless design then you will notice the benefits of smart colour combinations even more.
Send an e-mail to email@example.com to talk about how I can inspire your brand on design and colour direction or finding the right narrative tone.
HOUSE BAR is the nonchalant invitation to entertain friends and family at home. Back in the game are card and board gaming nights. Hanging out with each other in sophisticated loungewear and a trend for low and no alcohol drinks are the real move-on from the house bar´s old days.
Design direction celebrates 1970s aesthetics. Rich colours and bold, dynamic shapes radiate an optimistic outlook. Boiled wool, tufted and shaggy textiles emphasise the retro feel. Modular and flexible furniture serves different levels of social distancing, remote work or homeschooling.
I forecasted a version of this already 1,5 years ago. The steep rise of the homebody economy was already evident. However, back then, I couldn´t predict that staying in would become the new going out to this extent. In 2019, most of this was a choice. In 2021 we will see many with no other option; due to the economical, physical and mental impact of corona restrictions. Brands offering easily accessible excitement and catering to shifting consumers behaviours will stay of relevance.
I completely reworked some 2021 mood boards to show you how I inform different markets. This is a fairly international look suitable for directional brands anywhere in the world.