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Date published: October 10 2017

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Design trends morph the past and the present - now beyond borders

Modern fusion design trends are morphing to embrace more culturally diverse elements. Various furniture and decor elements inspired by countries around the globe can be combined to create a unique and extraordinary design that takes classic modern and modern fusion to a new level of continuous creativity, uniqueness and expressiveness.

Design trends emerge slowly like the ocean’s tide or the sunrise and while all are perpetually continuous, one recognises the tide or sunrise when it’s there and then when it’s gone. I see the latest trends, the new Global Eclectic as a step beyond eclectic style that melds multi-cultural and social universal conscious design and Modern Fusion as a melding of both casual and formal design that play off each other often creating a uniquely sophisticated look. The fusion of art and design going back to the turn of the Century continues to influence furniture design trends to support these modern inspirations.

So many of the predominant design trends of the past that emerged during the Industrial Revolution and World Wars influenced where design is today. Of personal inspiration for me were Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), who admired even the earliest days of modern architecture for its simple forms and natural materials and the Bauhaus movement during World War I. The Bauhaus school became famous for its approach to and teaching of modern design that combined crafts and fine arts. The Bauhaus style and its principal of ‘form follows function’ is associated with modernist architecture and industrial design in the 20th Century that became one of the most influential ideas in modern design.

Also of enormous influence in my own product and furniture design is Jean-Michael Frank (1885-1941), a French interior designer who was a pioneer of unique style and stand-alone statement design, which fits right into the modern fusion design style. He influenced and inspired many contemporary decorators with his minimalist interiors and furniture design that featured clean lines enhanced by luxurious materials such as shagreen, bamboo, mica and straw marquetry. A common theme of his was to ‘throw out and keep throwing out. Elegance means elimination.’

Variations in materials used by Jean-Michael Frank and sculptor Constantin Brâncuşi (1876 - 1957), who was considered a pioneer of modernism and one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th Century, both inspired the way I like to use texture, patterns, nature and new sources in manufacturing in my own designs. Organic materials like alabaster of agate used as accents, raw and manipulated can create a messier reflection of the world and ultimately a unique piece of art that combines function with design in a new way.

Who’s to say where new trends originate or how long they may last. Furniture designs could have longer living trends compared to colour or fashion that may only last two to three seasons. There are no hard and fast rules, though most would agree that there are always classic pieces that can be incorporated into any modern design style.

Author: Mark McDowell

Company: Designer of the 'Legend Collection' for John Richa

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