x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Trendspotting: A pared-down world turns back to basic, timeless styles

As design moves away from the fake and pretentious, interiors reflect classic looks and simple pleasures.

The designer Jaren Goh mixes ornate baroque style with contemporary simplicity in the Vintage bookshelf for Munkii. Courtesy of Munkii
The designer Jaren Goh mixes ornate baroque style with contemporary simplicity in the Vintage bookshelf for Munkii. Courtesy of Munkii

For several seasons we've been talking about design becoming less excessive and frivolous, and instead more meaningful and minimal. A new attitude of intensive editing - of our lifestyles, our wardrobes and our homes - is emerging. This streamlined ideal of living with less is uncomplicated, uncluttered, effortless and calm. And it allows us to take a serious look at what is really important to us.

As our appetite for a world of "too much" disintegrates, the simplicity we desire in our daily lives is reflected in a pared down aesthetic. We are attracted to a timeless style that offers longevity beyond the trends.

On the catwalks we have seen the emergence of a groomed, ladylike perfection reminiscent of Grace Kelly, and for menswear we'll see a new "gentleman" styling as many designers take a new look at old styles. Diane von Furstenberg's Fall 2011 collection is a good example: it takes the best elements of the past to create a better future.

For interiors this translates into a trend that takes us back to our roots. The move away from the fake and pretentious delivers us back to our family units and slows the pace enough for us to once again enjoy simple pleasures. At a time when social values and graces are being re-examined and re-established, this trend embodies all that is traditional. Products are elegantly minimal and stylishly streamlined, honouring classic design, often from the baroque and rococo periods. They create a new aesthetic vocabulary that blends our need for simplicity with our love of the fanciful. It's majestic, graceful and ornate but also minimal, stark and plain.

An elegant colour palette of foundation tones, chalky whites and contemporary beige with accents of tuxedo black, rich royal red and sapphire blue is feminine but strong, communicating confidence, modernity, luxury and assuredness.

Fine powdery textures and smooth, eggshell finishes are key in creating this look. Beautiful embossed woods also have their place. Textiles include majestically heavy jacquards, devorés and pleated felts, while delicate watermark effects are used as surface pattern design on textiles, soft furnishings and wall coverings - see Eskayel's stunning collection.

This season we have fallen in love with Jaren Goh's Vintage bookshelf for the Singapore design house Munkii. The simplicity of this piece combined with a nod to the baroque period creates a real sense of occasion and perfectly captures this contemporary trend.

Established in 2006, Munkii is made up of a team of self-confessed "fussy and picky" designers creating furniture pieces that were never meant to melt subtly into the background. Goh says, "I designed Vintage with the purpose of blending the flamboyance of the baroque style with the simplicity of the contemporary approach. I hope the resulting product will be something our eyes can easily fall in love with."

My eyes have fallen.

Shelley Pond is the creative director of Scarlet Opus. For more information, visit www.trendsblog.co.uk or www.scarletopus.com For more on Jaren Goh's Vintage bookshelf, visit www.munkii.com.sg