Five Trends in Contemporary Furniture

In the Now

By Wava Carpenter

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.

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 .


Mixed Media

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!

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!

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 .


Outside Inside

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.

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.

  • Text by

    • Wava Carpenter

      Wava Carpenter

      After 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.

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