The 21st century has ushered in a new era for contemporary furniture, most notably the rise of sophisticated, small-batch producers. These forward-facing emerging brands are crossing borders and disrupting the status quo by pairing international designers with regional materials and craftspeople. The stylish, finely calibrated results are forging new connections between the classic and the au courant.
Just look to Maria Gustavsson, recent founder of Swedish Ninja, to understand what’s happening at the forefront of contemporary furniture today. “It’s all moving much faster now, and customers have access to a much greater selection,” she explains. “People want to be more individual and express what they really like. High quality craftsmanship and concern for the environment are more and more important. So we set out to create objects that are timeless, smart, and interesting, while keeping the production as close as possible to our headquarters [in Sweden].”
Within this larger industry-wide trend towards limited, local, and sustainable production, there are some hot micro-trends bubbling up across Europe and the US. These five super-chic tendencies are burning up the market for cutting-edge contemporary furniture.
Back to Black
Wild colors abound these days, but black, in fact, is making a strong come back—particularly when the form is out of the ordinary. There’s something so right (and right now) about the way light-absorbing black surfaces focus all the attention on the sculptural quality of a chair, table, or lamp—a strong statement of insouciant cool.
Pictured above: Zack Zack Nest Table and Little Darling Lamp by Swedish Ninja; Twisted Cabinet, Candleholder, and Chair by Ward Wijnant ; Dionis Side Table by Konekt ; Fylgrade Sofa by Ctrlzak for JCP; T Table by Joyce Veul for Het Tafelbureau; Olo Lamp by Jean-Baptiste Fastrez for Moustache.
The Thin Line
For some, it’s all about that bass. But for a new crew in contemporary furniture, thin is decidedly in. Slim structures of steel, aluminum, and brass tubes have taken over. On the one hand, these of-the-moment furniture pieces are barely there; on the other, their strong linear flair is a force to be reckoned with.
Pictured above: C01 Chair by Simone de Stasio for Rck Design ; Em Desk by Örn Duvald ; Depostura Chair by Mario Milana ; Miro Wardrobe by Meike Harde for Pulpo ; Alpi Lamp by Silvio Mondino ; Margin Chair by NOI .
The handcraft renaissance that’s emerged in recent years has brought with it an interest in strikingly unexpected mixes of all sorts of organic and manmade materials. Nothing’s off the table (literally): wood, leather, textiles, ceramics, steel, stone, eco-plastics, and more are free to intermingle in one giant melting pot of material love. Diversity is beautiful!
Pictured above: Darvaza Coffee Table by Pedro Teixeira for Alma de Luce ; Le Notre Sideboard by Pedro Teixeira for Alma de Luce ; Antivol Tables by Crtlzak for JCP; Oh Hark! Side Table by Andreas Berlin; Wallie Table Lamp by Lorenza Bozzoli for Tato Italia ; Matter of Motion Stool by Maor Aharon .
Plush & Lush
One product designer we know recently mourned the return of the “decorative,” but we’re pretty sure he represents a rather shrinking club of ultra-modernists. The desire to make one’s home as charming and comfortable as possible is as old as humankind, and the most in-demand furniture designers today are going all out with velvet, fringe, embroidery, feathers, and an array of finely-wrought objects that show off the mark of the maker’s hand. Let’s all give in to the sensuality, already!
Pictured above: Pause Lounge Chair by Konekt ; Thing Ottomans by Konekt ; Flat Pouf by Privatiselectionem ; Luna Oscar Pendant by Heike Buchfelder for Pluma Cubic; Hand-Embroidered Pillows by Jupe by Jackie; Albeo III Side Table by Irene Maria Ganser .
It’s no secret that houseplants have of late become an interior design essential. Take this trend to the next level by incorporating the outdoors into your indoors in even more experimental ways. Discover novel objects to hold and display your plant life, and introduce furniture and décor that have an earthy, mineral-like finish. Your home is your garden; make it luxuriant.
Pictured above: Wooden Plant Stand by Rafael Fernández for Oitenta ; Crystal Praying Mantis by Isaac Monté; Metal Rock Collection by Michael Young for Veerle Verbakel Gallery; Sailor Hammock by Studio Gam ; Maria Chandelier by Pani Jurek for Gang Design ; Blumenkugel Hanging Basket by Zascho Petkow for Atelier Haussmann .
*All photos courtesy of the designers.
Wava CarpenterAfter studying Design History, Wava has worn many hats in support of design culture: teaching design studies, curating exhibitions, overseeing commissions, organizing talks, writing articles—all of which informs her work now as Pamono’s Editor-in-Chief.
More to Love
Darvaza Coffee Table by Pedro Teixeira for Alma de Luce
Le Notre Sideboard by Pedro Teixeira for Alma de Luce
Slim Chair by Neil Nenner, 2015
1 Note Chair by Neil Nenner, 2015
2 Notes Chair by Neil Nenner, 2015
Tangram Coffee Table by Studio Deusdara
Lucille Petit Black Flower Cocoon by LLOT LLOV
Rec-Cut Vase in Black by LLOT LLOV
Cir-Cut Vase in Black by LLOT LLOV
Osis Bensimon Low Table by llot llov
Darvaza Side Table by Pedro Teixeira for Alma de Luce
Small Twisted Cabinet by Ward Wijnant
Twisted Chair by Ward Wijnant
OCT(O) Stool by Nova Obiecta
OCT(O) Stool by Nova Obiecta
COLUM(N) Stool by Nova ObiectaSale
Osis Karla Dressing Table by LLOT LLOV
T1 Bowl by João Carneiro and Ricardo Prata for Cuco
PARA(D) Lounge Chair by Nova Obiecta
Thing Ottoman in Cotton Mohair or Velour with Brass Rings and Horse Hair Fringe by Konekt
Orbit L1 Table by Mauro Accardi & Silvia Buccheri for Medulum
Vento Entrance Rack by Viviana Degrandi for Medulum
Opus Bookshelf by Mauro Accardi & Silvia Buccheri for Medulum
Vivian Dressing Table by Mauro Accardi & Silvia Buccheri for Medulum
Venny Small Coffee Table by Matteo Cibic for JCP Universe
Step Bookcase by Mauro Accardi & Silvia Buccheri for Medulum
Hand Sculpted Blackened Steel and Brass Inlay Side Table by Konekt
Pause Lounge Chair by Konekt
FLAT Pouf in Cotton Velvet with Hand Silvered Patinated Brass Base by Privatiselectionem
Pause Chaise Lounge by Konekt
Ganser Stool from Francomario
Satin Table by Chiara Andreatti for Mingardo
Victoria Table Lamp by Bethan Gray for Editions Milano
Margin Chair by NOI
Margin Lamp & Coffee Table by NOI
COLUM(N) Stool or Side Table by Nova ObiectaSale
Dot Side Table or Stool in Black and Brown by Reda Amalou
PARA(D) Lounge Chair by Nova Obiecta
mm1 from Mario Milana
Vima Side Table by HAHA, 2016
Vilma Floor Lamp by HAHA, 2016
Albeo III Brass Side Table by Irene Maria Ganser
June Bench by Jean-François D'Or for Cruso
Perflect Display Cabinets by Sam Baron for JCP Universe, 2017, Set of 3
Small Chrome Antivol Table by CTRLZAK for JCP Universe
Tall Chrome Antivol Table by CTRLZAK for JCP Universe
dePostura from Mario Milana
Pressed Wood Black Side Table from Johannes Hemann
Boldino I Cushion from Jupe by Jackie
Fylgrade Sofa by CTRLZAK for JCP Universe
Ligomancer Sofa by CTRLZAK for JCP Universe
Matter of Motion Stool #012 by Maor Aharon
Matter of Motion Stool #005 by Maor Aharon
Who Are You Umbrella Stand by Marco Ripa
Con-Tradition Screen 03 by Sara Bernardi
Borodino I Cushion by Jackie Villevoye for Jupe by Jackie
Tripolino S by Cristina Celestino for Editions Milano
Con-Tradition Screen 01 by Sara Bernardi
Palisade Cabinet by Visser & Meijwaard
L3 - an Interactive Light Object by rlon
Copper Mine Bowl by David Derksen
Light Object 014 by Naama Hofman
Sailor Hammock by Studio GAM
Osis Edition1 Cube Peacock Table in Blue by LLOT LLOV
Osis Red Laquered Wooden Cube Table by LLOT LLOV
T02 Table by Simone De Stasio for RcK Design
C02 Chair by Simone De Stasio for RcK Design
C01 Chair by Simone De Stasio for RcK Design
Blumenampel Edition, Hanging Planter by Zascho Petkow & Birgit Severin
Blumenkugel Object, Hanging Planter by Zascho Petkow & Andreas Haussmann
Kugel K Pendant by Heike Buchfelder for Pluma Cubic
Luna Nova Table Lamp by Heike Buchfelder for Pluma Cubic
Little Darling Table Lamp in Black by Maria Gustavsson for Swedish Ninja