Interior Design Is About To Get A Whole Lot More Fun

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Interior Design Is About To Get A Whole Lot More Fun

Words by Ms Jodie Harrison

27 February 2021

If history is anything to go by, one of the benefits of living through a pandemic is that we will witness the surge of creativity that takes place in its aftermath. Design has been responding to major global events for centuries: the cholera epidemic that broke out in the US in the mid-19th century opened a chapter of emotion and imagination known as the Romantic era. After WWI, the Bauhaus movement (a name that literally translates to “construction house”) focused on form, function and practicality, which it paired with bold, primary colours. More recently, a contemplative design movement that’s inspired by nature and wabi-sabi – an ancient concept that celebrates aesthetic imperfection – emerged in Japan in the wake of the devastating 2011 tsunami. 

So, what will design look like once all this is over? We asked five creative powerhouses for their predictions for the next decade and, it appears, there are reasons to be cheerful.


The Haas Brothers

Los Angeles-based twins Messrs Simon and Nikolai Haas have a wide-ranging practice that spans sculpture, furniture, digital and wearable art, with the common thread being charming contrasts that stop you in your tracks.

What’s been the most surprising development in design to emerge for you in the last year?

**Mr Nikolaj Haas: **What a really traumatic event like this does is give you permission to be a lot more schmaltzy, to express things like joy, admiration, even vulnerability. After something bad, humans go back to being more like who they were as children. They go back to what matters and let go of the things that they have built to protect themselves. The cool factor becomes a lot less important. You don’t need to be cool; you just need to be caring. 

Which design period are you most intrigued by, and why?

Mr Simon Haas: We love Italian radical design movement [of the 1960s], the postwar moment. I like those early plastic and fibreglass works. I guess it’s the pioneering effort that speaks to me.

How do you think design will change?

Mr Simon Haas: I can see that fun, colourful focus coming back, so chairs by [German designer] Ernst Moeckl or the pieces by [Italian architect and industrial designer] Anna Castelli Ferrieri.

Mr Nikolaj Haas: My mantra this year is planting seeds that you won’t be around to harvest. Last year, we visited a monastery in Portugal called Batalha that our friend is restoring. She gave us a tour and showed us these little snails carved into the stone all over the place. The snail was a signature of an individual carver, a message that he was very slow and would not be alive when the church is finished. It says it’s what he’s leaving behind that matters, and that’s beautiful. To us, this is the year of the snail.


Ms Faye Toogood, Toogood

The interiors editor-turned-designer leads a 30-strong team from her London studio, Toogood, working on commercial and residential interiors, installations, textile and furniture design.

_Where do you think design will go in 2021 and beyond? _

Design is very plain and practical right now. Post-pandemic, I think we are all going to flower. The contrived, austere nature of design we have seen is going to go and we are going to want to have fun. I’m about to embrace a lot more colour and pattern. It’s not going to be about maximalism or ostentatious pattern – we’ve seen that. It’s going to be more about vivid colour. Design needs to feel joyful. We’ve done a lot of contemplating, a lot of retreating. I’m more interested things that are nostalgic and charming; sweet and naïve.

Which chapter in design history most inspires you?

Inspiration always comes from art and landscape. I keep coming back to 1930s, 1940s and 1950s British art and design. Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and the postwar artists working as part of the St Ives group are always strong points of reference for me, as well as the Bauhaus movement and the Omega Workshops, who operated very close to my studio in London. These groups and communities came together to produce objects, furniture, clothing, interiors and spaces. They looked at the total work.

What pieces or categories do you feel are wise investments right now?

I think antique pieces and objects with stories will feel more relevant again, so go beyond mid-century modern to older pieces. Brown furniture will be back. It’s amazing that you can pick up objects that are more than 300 years old for a few hundred quid on Instagram.


Mr Patrick Baty, Papers and Paints

Mr Patrick Baty owns Papers and Paints, an influential store in Chelsea, London, which is a popular destination with leading interior designers. His new book, Nature’s Palette (Thames & Hudson, published 8 April), is a study of Werner’s Nomenclature, an 1821 guide to colours found in the animal, vegetable or mineral worlds.

What design trends have you noticed in the last year?

Over the last 10 months, the team in the shop has noticed dramatic changes in what is being sold. The first of those changes is a greater emphasis on colour – pink in particular has seen a resurgence. Years ago, when I was researching the use of colour in the 19th century, what I found most surprising was that the colours that were popular around 1810s and 1820s are the colours that are most popular now. Humans need comfort, warmth and calm, now more than ever.  

What is a wise investment right now?

Anything that gives you pleasure. Life is short. This period has shown us that. Don’t worry about what others think so much. I look at two good Instagram sources for inspiration at the moment: @bibleofbritishtaste and @theenglishmansroom. Both show houses as they are, as opposed to this fictive, glossy magazine look that is rather sterile.


Mr Elad Yifrach, L’Objet

Israeli-born Mr Elad Yifrach started his career as an interior designer before launching the influential homeware brand L’Objet, which celebrates both craftmanship and storytelling.

Where do you think design will go in 2021 and beyond?

Happy, vibrant colours. Colour is going to be even more appreciated and desired. People will want more layers. I’m currently always dressed in black or grey, so I’m personally excited to embrace colour and go a bit more lollipop.

What havebeen the most interesting shifts that you have detected?_

Everyone’s priorities have shifted to focus on improving their daily rituals. You see people buying proper dinnerware sets because they are now eating three meals a day off them. These are the things we can maintain control over when everything else is different. A nice blanket, a good yoga mat – all the things I never thought I’d invest money in now feel like essentials. 

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Travelling or dreaming of travel still provides me with the most inspiration. My parents are from Marrakesh, but I’d like to spend more time in other regions. I’ve just recently started collecting African art and I can see these places coming through in my work. 


Mr Albert Hill, The Modern House

The Modern House was launched in 2005 as an alternative to the traditional estate agent, using strong editorial and a focused design aesthetic to talk to a like-minded community. Co-founder Mr Albert Hill is now focusing on the launch of its new sister brand, Inigo, a property website specialising in period houses.

What’s the most notable new design narrative that you have noticed in recent times?

Home has been and will continue to be the absolute hub of everything. It was going that way anyway. There’s a 1980 quote from futurist Alvin Toffler that sums it up: “I believe the home will assume a startling new importance in civilization. The rise of the prosumer, the spread of the electronic cottage, the invention of new organisational structures in business, the automation and de-massification of production, all point to the home’s re-emergence as a central unit in the society of tomorrow.”

People will get more expressive at home. The home is less of a public space than it was. You no longer have to revert to beige just to stop people thinking you are weird. I’ve been thinking about a colour scheme for my home and it’s so much bolder than it would have been a year ago. Upbeat colours feel particularly right now.

_What would you advise your friends and clients to invest in now? _

I’ve been buying a lot of tapestries recently. In a world where interactions take place on a screen, my body is craving tactility. A tapestry is like a tactile painting, and because they have been categorised as “craft” in the past, as opposed to art, prices have been suppressed in a way that paintings haven’t. 

Bright ideas