Textural tranquillity takes the lead at major design shows


From the rise of mindful materials to the introduction of multi-sensory interiors and Peach Fuzz-inspired ‘contemporary cosy’, it’s clear that the days of plain white walls are over as we welcome a new, tactile approach to interior design.

“People want some action on their surfaces”, states Los Angeles designer Oliver Furth - an interior design prediction cemented at this year’s highly anticipated Milan Design Week, and the upcoming Clerkenwell exhibition in London looks to follow suit.

The theme for Salone del Mobile’s leading design event this year revolved around “Materia Natura” (“Natural Matter”), which saw more than 1,900 of the world’s leading, and newly emerging, exhibitors urge for a reevaluation of design’s pivotal role in addressing our societies greatest challenges. With the development of innovative, waste-combatting technologies and the emergence of game-changing, food-powered fabrics, today’s makers and creatives are continually pushing the boundaries of design and providing a promising snapshot of what interior’s future could look like.

We are already embracing the resurgence of rustic, handmade surfaces, mother-earth-inspired palettes and raw, reclaimed materials of brick, stone, wood, and terracotta. This has given life to a new design trend: ‘textural tranquillity’ - a celebration of intricate patterns and three-dimensional textures that play with light and shadow to create unforgettable, multisensory experiences.

Here’s a roundup of some of the brands and exhibitions that beautifully encapsulate everything this new design rhetoric has to offer.

Stimulating the senses with neuroaesthetics

Materials in brown, shades of pink, beige and red on a light wood table. A glass vase stands to the right of the image on the same table.

Image credit: @Muuto design, Muuto Apartment exhibition.

Danish design brand Muuto leads the charge in exploring neuroaesthetics, inviting visitors to embark on a journey through art, architecture, design, light, materials, and scent. Their exhibition during Milan Design Week comprised six distinct rooms, each meticulously crafted to evoke a specific sensory experience. From gentle, biophilic colour schemes to tactile, rugged textures designed to manipulate light and shadow, Muuto's showcase is a testament to the power of creative visuals in shaping our perception and emotional response to space. It certainly gave us some food for thought for how we incorporate sensory cues in the design studio.

Hermès reclaimed materials

image of reclaimed bricks, in different lay patterns on the floor

The topography of matter - Hermes / Courtesy

Meanwhile, at Salone del Mobile’s La Pelota venue, French luxury label Hermès unveiled a stunning installation that pays homage to its artisanal heritage while championing sustainability. Designed by Hermès home artistic directors Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry, the installation showcased a stunning patterned floor that creatively used more than twenty different organic materials, including bricks, slate, marble, and terracotta. This intricate mosaic not only reflects Hermès' commitment to eco-conscious practices but also serves as a nod to the brand's iconic patterned scarves, weaving a story of timeless elegance and craftsmanship.

The rise of sustainable stone

Stone bricks in multiple colours, laid horizontally and vertically.

Brick from a Stone - Photo Credit - Ivan Jones

British stone suppliers Albion Stone and Hutton Stone have commissioned London-based architecture practice Artefact to design an installation on Clerkenwell Green for the upcoming Clerkenwell Design Week. Their aptly named "Brick from a Stone” exhibit will illustrate the simple production process stone bricks go through, resulting in lower embodied carbon than traditional clay bricks. Through innovative design and meticulous craftsmanship, Artefact wants to demonstrate the inherent beauty and resilience of natural stone, paving the way for what could be a more environmentally-conscious approach to building.

Also featured at Clerkenwell Green is “Stone Tapestry”, the product of a partnership between the Stone Federation and Squire & Partners. Featuring materials from leading quarries across Britain, this immersive experience captures the unique colours and textures found in Great British stone.

Scandi sophistication

A dining room scene, with two chairs, a pendant light hanging central

Natural materials and textures by Industville / courtesy Industville

On the other end of the material spectrum, Industville’s Clerkenwell Design Week showcase will feature their Natural Collection - a diverse selection of handcrafted pieces made from organic materials like grass, wood, raffia and rattan. Complimenting a broad range of interior aesthetics, from coastal chic to urban sophistication, this contemporary twist on the soothing, Scandi aesthetic perfectly embodies every aspect of textural tranquillity.

If you are heading over to #CDW2024, then hop on over to Clerkenwell Close to see ReFigure by Universal Fibres. The colourful archways from their 2023 installation have been “reconfigured” into a suite of resting spaces for visitors, demonstrating how even exhibition materials can be recycled and reused in meaningful ways. ‘Symbolising their journey towards carbon-negative fibre production’, the colourful exhibition uses the shape-shifting texture and reflectivity of the fibres to create moments of calm across the show.

We will be keeping our eyes peeled to see how other brands apply sustainable design principles to their brand showcases, and bring textured surfaces to the fore.

Keep up with the interior design trends stealing the spotlight by subscribing to our mailing list. Or, visit our material studio on Great Titchfield Street, where you can explore an extensive range of surface coverings designed to stimulate the senses.

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