Beginning Excerpts from my BLUFFS & BAYOUS magazine article

2011??  Really?  2011 – Are you kidding?  Can it be true?

Well, it looks like it is.  Now what do we do?  We keep moving forward.  “Got to” as my mother used to say. 

As a designer, that means one thing.  Pay attention to what is coming.  What trends do I see in 2011 and what classics are here to stay?

Designers follow the culture of the times.  We are, oh so slowly, creeping out of a recession and we all want to indulge ourselves just a little bit.  We want something that recognizes us as individuals, yet keeps us in the know of modern culture.  We seem to want the security of the past, but not the over indulgent, Mac Mansions or over the top glitz.  We want to simplify our lives, especially at home.  We all have such high tech, fast-paced lives that we yearn for a few moments of quiet and peace without any communication. 

That, of course, only last for a very few moments.  Then we are ready to pick up our IPhones and tweet away.  We do not want to miss anything. 

So how does all this affect the design of our homes or workplaces?  I have been in New York several times this fall and here is what I saw.

Wood.  Simple enough?  Yes, lots and lots of wood.  And it is beautiful!  It is showing up in paneling, furniture, accessories, yes, even lamps and lampshades.  It is in the artwork too.

At the Boutique Design New York show, I saw many wonderful ways that wood is being used everywhere.  And I do mean raw wood, sliced wood, sticks, limbs, all shapes and sizes of cut down trees, wood veneers and natural finishes. 

It is funny how subliminal design can be.  I used a cut wood pattern theme in a hotel design recently and I thought I was oh so original.  Obviously, I had picked up on the design vibes floating around out there.  But they are fabulous and I am fine with that.

I find it interesting that the biggest trends I am seeing are extreme contemporary looks, with slick glass and stainless materials with the contrast of very natural materials.  I do love both and I love them together.  Just as the turn of every century, this one began with the effort by trendsetters to introduce something different.  I believe that is why we have seen the contemporary direction come on so strongly.

Nevertheless, the use of natural materials in contemporary interiors has taken the edge off the stark looks of modern design.  I love the use of natural and/ or tried and true materials in new and unique ways.

One of the wonderful by-products of the trend towards green design has been a resurgence of wood in the market.  It came first in the form of clean, smooth designs (and veneers of all types) that mimicked the modern look of materials like steel or resin.  But as the green movement has become more of a permanent fixture of our lives, we have seen the industry open up to include rough, chunky cuts of wood that let the natural beauty of the material shine.  Whether it is with burl bowls, rough carved wooden vases or reclaimed railroad ties, the design industry seems to be embracing beautiful wooden objects that have been left relatively natural.

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