Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the creative team for DFS on their trip to Milan for the world renowned Salone del Mobile design show. This utterly inspirational trip gave me the chance to see how the design team at DFS review trends for the coming year and incorporate them into the ranges sold by the furniture retailer. I have worked as a Brand Ambassador with DFS for a while now and the reason I am so drawn to the brand is for their emphasis on design, craftsmanship and how passionate the team are about bringing affordable design led furniture to the masses.
This trip introduced me to the new Creative Director Alison Hill. Alison’s experience within the realms of furniture design is second to none, having previously worked with high profile brands like Liberty, The Conran Group, Burberry and Habitat. For Alison and her creative team, trips like these are not about discovering fleeting movements towards particular styles but about distinguishing the movements with likely longevity and separating these from the fleeting fads. Milan is often seen as the show which offers designers a chance to take risks and get a little playful, branching a little outside the normal realms of their brand. With up to half a million visitors each year and 6 days of design inspiration in a city well acclaimed for its dedication to design, for the thousands of exhibitors the Salone del mobile show is not only a chance to be daring, dynamic and different but practically a requirement.
With each stand as inspiring and engaging as the next the show is the design equivalent of Disneyland, a designers playground filled with quirk, fun and delight.
So what did the DFS design team take away from the show and what trends are proving their staying power?
The curve looked to be a key trend in furniture shapes yet again at this years show. This formation has been popular for a while now, as we embrace softer shapes and also marry them with the regularity for clean, linear forms. It is a trend that DFS have picked up on for a while and several of their pieces incorporate the trend really well. One great example is the new Lark Tub Chair, available in a range of colours and fabrics, I particularly like the mustard velvet version. The Athena is a great example of a piece that has been softened by the merge of curves and lines in one contemporary and comfortable seat, and is also available as a sofa.
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that green was a hugely prevalent colour at the show. With greenery the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2017 and a longstanding conversation on the benefits of natural greenery in the home this colour really is one that so many designs benefit from, in whatever capacity. Whether its a statement green sofa or chair like the Lark Tub Chair, Topaz Sofa or Athena Sofa, this clever Pure triangular foot stool or even an abundance of some indoor planting, the DFS team are still very much on the ‘Go Green’ team!
Rich and luxurious design was a really central theme across most of the stands at Salone del Mobile. Such opulence was really highlighted through the use of highly tactile and opulent materials like velvet. In an array of rich and eye-catching colours velvet was seen across lots of furniture and accessories including beds, sofas, chairs and cushions. DFS have a number of ranges available in velvet, I particularity love the deep teal Eden sofa and the luxurious zinc two seater in navy blue velvet.
THE NATURAL WORLD
Designers have for a long time drawn inspiration from the natural world and we have seen various types of floral prints, leaves and animal prints come in and out of fashion in the interiors world recently. This celebration of the natural world was rife in Milan this year with a focus on everything from insects, florals and leafy prints. The Botanic four seater sofa by DFS is a beautiful shade of green and has a stylish structure that brings a strong statement to a room.
The brief for this residential project in London was to create a cooking/dining experience that felt like a buzzing restaurant. The aim of the kitchen/dining area design was to add some excitement, fun and design flair within the existing walls of the house, so we divided the large space into three key areas: the main kitchen wall, ribboning island and a dining area.
We brought those same aspects into the living space with pops of colour, punchy patterns and mimicked the ladder from the kitchen into the living room storage wall.
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