what trended, what took our fancy: the design fair edition

by clé tile | published: Sep 26, 2021

hermès installation at milan design week 2021

after a year-plus (at least) of design shows going online only, or being canceled altogether, design shows sprang back to life in september 2021. it wasn’t just the salone del mobile super-show (and all the milan-based design events around it) but there was also the london design festival, maison et objet in paris, design miami in basel, 3daysofdesign in copenhagen, and vienna design week.

this is a lot to follow but it makes for a concentrated — and very handy — way to begin to spot design fads, trends, and longer-lived design movements. being in the business of design, emboldened and tile, we eschew fads, but do keep an eye on trends and movements.now that the dust has settled and we have collectively had some time for reflection (and separating the eye candy from the real trends) here are our thoughts.

when it comes to color trends from the fairs, curator and design forecaster julie muniz used a combination of a curatorial eye and technology-aided analytics to distill the dominant color trends, many of which drew their inspiration from nature. here’s what she saw:

muted earth tones in rust, brick, and terracotta, all colors inspired, literally, by the earth–which is near and dear to our hearts: it is, afterall the foundation for most of our tile. think terracotta modernized by leaders such as fornace brioni and cristina celestino. or our brick collections, headlined by foundry flats and its range of modern earth tones. our antique terracotta would certainly be part of this trend, as would a more dramatic option: our golden henna zellige.

vincent van duysen shelter at metamorphosis for bulgari

as muniz writes, “while forest colors remain popular, there’s nothing like reconnecting with the earth by embracing the very soil with which it is formed.” amen to that.

in particular, we were drawn to the hues in the lovely gala seating from cristina celestino’s collection for saba italia.

christina celestino and saba italia furniture collaboration

blue hues. from dynamic ultramarine and turquoise to delft, powder blue, and aquas, blue was a strong theme.

venus power collection by patricia urquiola for cc-tapis, via instagram

pop grows up. genz (and the brands they love) popularized orange and yellow, but leading designers took that shade into more muted and earth (again) colors like turmeric and a more muted–surprisingly neutral–orange. again, we have you covered here and here.

muniz also noticed a new trend: bold chartreuse which marries yellow with green.

an exuberant chartreuse takes center stage and provides an additional zing to this installation from the campana brothers for louis vuitton and hem gallery display at supersalone.

aguacate by campana brothers for louis vuitton. image courtesy of louis vuitton

hem gallery featuring furniture made in collaboration with faye toogood

black goes to the matte. black, always in, but softening its stance. as with white, there are a multitude of shades within this color family, and this year trended toward a muted black, inspired by charred wood and time-worn textures. with the exception of a few glossy blacks for drama, our black tile also tends toward more muted tones: try our matte black cement tile in scallop, terracotta bundle in flemish black, or even our not-quite-black zellige in battled armor.

(left) vessels by kose, via salone del mobile; (center) hem + faye toogood stump tables; (right) katerina krotenko’s rugged, organic glass at milan design week, image courtesy of katerina krotenko via designboom

always a standout, hermès (at salone del mobile) once again provided much to inspire with its bold wall treatments, muted palette, embrace of nature, intense materiality, and (of course) nod to hand-crafted traditions.

de gournay was another standout and very much in keeping with the noted trends.

and our favorite maximalist, gucci, created cartoleria, a pop-up stationery store which elegantly blends all of our favorite themes, from classical to pop

as we like to say: design emboldened. it’s really the only way to go.