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LDF 2021: Top Trend Spots & Style That Made Us Smile

Written by:
Laura Connelly

12.10.21

Semaphores by Amalia Pica, 2019.

The London Design Festival has closed its doors for another year. After a Covid-induced hiatus, to say it was good to be back is perhaps a bit of an understatement. The turnout was strong. The exhibits were buzzing. And the atmosphere was electric. Plus, the sun shone throughout. Now back on our home turf, we’ve returned to Wales with ample inspiration to fuel us for the next 12-months and beyond. Here’s a snapshot of the key trends we spotted at the show…

Comforting curves

After the last 18-months, it’s unsurprising that designers opted for cosy, comforting curves over hard, angled edges. Across furniture, lighting and accessories, rounded shapes met pillowy, cloud-like texture to create objects that were altogether welcoming.

Furniture brand Another Country presented a rounded side table alongside a curved wooden chair, and neat wooden stool, all in a fresh, natural colour palette. Mark Product combined a contemporary pop of yellow with flecked grey for its circular picnic bench and in-built seating. And Empty State exhibited its art deco-style chandelier, complete with illuminated spheres.

The creative equivalent of a big, warm hug, this trend is very much a product of the social climate in which it sits. And the brands that have adopted it most definitely read the room.

A selection of images from Planted and London Design 2021.
A selection of images from Planted and London Design 2021.

Lava-like liquid

Stepping up the comfort trend to one of relaxation and nostalgia is the popularity for molten, liquid-like surface patterns. Pastel shades mix with acid hues in psychedelic swirls to create an effect that’s almost three-dimensional. Reminiscent of an image from a Magic Eye poster. Or the lava lamp you had in your teenage bedroom.

Trays by applicate transform a functional day-to-day item into a thing of true beauty. Floor Story’s Diagonal Melt rugs add theatrics to the space beneath your feet. And Applicata leans towards a marbled-effect for its table top, offering a dialled down take on this vibrant trend.

A selection of images from London Design 2021, The Future of Home by Local Heroes and UAL x Super Nature.
A selection of images from London Design 2021, The Future of Home by Local Heroes and UAL x Super Nature.

Outdoors in

This year, the ‘outdoors in’ theme cannot be classified as a trend, but rather part of a wider sector focus on sustainability. A whole area of the festival – Planted - was dedicated, not only to allowing brands to showcase their nature-inspired products, but to industry figureheads – including our very own Emily Skinner – debating and discussing hot topics crucial to the built environment’s survival. Hosted by biophilic design expert, Oliver Heath, the talk space proved an extremely popular destination for visitors hoping to gain new insight and inspiration. Missed the talks? Head to Planted Cities’ Instagram to watch them as they are released.

In addition to the thought leadership aspect of the event, a strong colour theme of earthy greens and blush pinks ran throughout the products on display. Living walls and live plants were set against wood and rope, offering the collective feeling of being grounded.

Across town, brand new sustainable showroom EDGE (Eco Design Green Environment) opened its doors in Marylebone featuring bespoke designs of our own.

A selection of images from Planted.
A selection of images from Planted.

Grey reimagined

“Grey!” we hear you cry. “Can that really be classified as a cutting-edge trend?” Well, in the way it was presented at LDF, we firmly believe it can. We’re not talking the grey you’d find in a noughties’ living room, though. But a more considered palette of tones, ranging from velvety moleskin, to light, refreshing and almost blue-tinged.

Applied here on a range of furniture pieces, the Alexander Rose sofa range Metal Rope Weave, combines plush cushions with a woven effect back in the on-trend muted colour. While the Kilt collection by Marcello Ziliani also embraces braided basketweave in a dark grey for a contemporary and stylish take on the comfort theme.

A selection of images from Planted and London Design 2021.
A selection of images from Planted and London Design 2021.

Bold is best

Amongst the most notable of trends at LDF was playfulness, and, ultimately, a sense of fun. Unbridled joy has mostly been off the agenda of late, so to be met with vibrant pops of colour, imaginative installations and light shows, plus unique spins on timeless design was a real treat.

We particularly loved Yinka Ilori’s outdoor pieces, combining shapes with vivid colour for his large-scale exhibits, and even transforming bollards around the city into rainbow totems.

Bubbles, a pearlescent, geometric sculpture by Arup and Lumascape plays on the idea of ‘lockdown support bubbles’ to create a spectrum of light that promotes pride, solidarity and hope.

Twist and Shout by Studio 29 and Kingfisher Lighting comprises a colour wheel that takes visitors back to the playgrounds of their youth. Very much aligning with our own values, the installation aims to evoke memories that put a smile on your face.

A selection of images from The Future of Home by Local Heroes, London Design 2021, EDGE showroom, Floral Street, London and Planted.
A selection of images from The Future of Home by Local Heroes, London Design 2021, EDGE showroom, Floral Street, London and Planted.

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