Interiors: It's good to talk trends
Eleanor Flegg with the best in design and decoration for your home.
Small, friendly and approachable... have interiors questions answered at House
Emily Maher is predicting a soapbox moment. "I'm going to tell people not to be buying fakes!" She's talking about furniture of course. Maher is principle designer at Lost Weekend, an interior design practise and vendor of contemporary and classic furniture. She's also one of the speakers on the Trend Talks stage at the forthcoming House Show at the RDS from May 25.
The Trend Talks stage is new to House. You'll find it on the balcony, just at the top of the stairs and beside the Art Loft. It's the shy little sister of the glamorous Inspiration Stage, which is just where it was last year. Where the Inspiration Stage is bedazzling, the Trend Talks stage is small, friendly and approachable. This makes it a very good place to ask questions. The Trend Talks run throughout the show with a promising line-up of interior designers, exhibitors, and design mavens.
"I'm going to bring a couple of my suppliers up on stage with me," Maher explains. "Manuel Vizcaino from Carl Hansen is coming over from Denmark." Carl Hansen make Danish design classics, most famously Hans Wegner's Wishbone chair (1950). With prices starting at €677, it's an expensive piece, handcrafted to a meticulous standard and ethically produced. You can buy a cheap Chinese knock-off of the same chair for a fraction of the price but Maher doesn't approve at all. "Ripping off designs is disrespectful to the designer, the quality isn't the same, and the pieces don't hold their value. At the end of the day you're wasting your money." Then she sighs. "I'm a real advocate of Buy for Life. I'll have to remember not to be boring the pants off people!"
She'll also be joined onstage by Alsu Corcoran from the French-Italian company, cc-tapis. In 2018, cc-tapis won the prestigious Salone del Mobile Milano Award for its display of breathtakingly beautiful wall and floor rugs. "It's an incredibly cool company," Maher says. "Cool is the wrong word. You're going to have to find a cooler word than cool." All cc-tapis rugs are hand-knotted in Nepal, where the company runs schools to educate the weavers' children. Their ethical policies are admirable. Plus, they collaborate with crush-worthy designers like Patricia Urquiola and Bethan Laura Wood. Prices start at €490 per square metre.
Julianne Kelly of Kevin Kelly Interiors has been briefed to bring us up to speed on trends in soft furnishing and some of her UK suppliers - Maeve Power of Colefax and Fowler; Stephen Hunter of the Style Library; and Roisin Thompson of Designers Guild - have flown over to join her onstage. Expect an update on the trend for patterns inspired by nature in both wallpaper and fabrics.
John Derian's nature based wallpaper for Designers Guild costs €100 per roll. If you're feeling especially flush, Kevin Kelly Interiors has some gorgeous objects inspired by the natural world. "We're loving Isabelle Bizard's bespoke lighting range and her approach of creating one-of-a-kind pieces with natural materials," Kelly explains. "She finds inspiration in the natural shape of a shell, or a dazzling piece of agate or an intense amethyst. Then she uses these natural jewels and objects to create totally beautiful objects d'art." All the lamps are individually priced, but expect to pay around €605 for an Isabelle Bizard wall sconce and €1,130 for a table lamp. On Sunday, Claire Price and Elaine Regan of House Edit (that's an online design platform offering advice, digital interior design e-consultation, and shopping) will be sharing their insights on current interiors trends. "We think that muted greens, rose hues, and earthy tones will follow through to 2019," Price predicts. Regan and Price will also give some practical tips on how to make these trends work in your home. "It's important to think about the bigger picture," Regan explains. "We will be showing how to be selective with the trends you incorporate into your own design schemes."
On each day of the show, I'll be hosting Trend Talks discussion panels with some very chatty exhibitors and well as a selection of interior designers from the Interiors Association. There are some very engaging speakers in the mix. Gwen Kenny of Divine Design has her finger on the button in terms of sustainability, widely forecast as the decade's dominant trend, and Nina Kati could (and will) talk about Feng Shui Design for Ireland. I'm also delighted to welcome Rory Kelly, a young designer with an exceptional talent for putting design concepts into words. Other names on the schedule include interior designers Louise Higgins and Angela Connolly. International speakers at Trend Talks include the hands-on Annie Sloan, inventor of chalk paint, and Anders Buchmann, creative strategist for Trend Talks' sponsor, Bang & Olufsen. "My talk is about how we will live with sound in the future," Buchmann says creative strategist for Bang & Olufsen, Trend Talks' sponsor. The future is wireless, of course, with better audio quality and connectivity than before. He also sees a growing awareness of the visual impact of audio equipment. In the early days of Wi-Fi, the best sound system was completely invisible. Now, people are becoming interested in bringing sound into the home in a way that looks good. "It's about making a visual statement with sound instead of making it disappear," he says. "People don't want black boxes in their homes with a lot of wires sticking out. They want something beautiful." Bang & Olufsen's Beoplay A9 speaker (€2,199), a Space Age disc on tripod legs, has the presence of a nicely designed piece of furniture.
The BeoSound Shape system is made up of hexagonal tiles. Each one of these conceals a hi-fi module: a speaker; an amplifier; or an acoustic damper. The tiles are covered in high quality fabric in stylish colours. Wild Dove Grey or Brazilian Night Blue, anyone? The initial purchase is a big commitment. A set of eight panels costs €3,500. But there's a level of versatility built into the design. The tiles can be reupholstered when you redecorate, and the pattern reconfigured. It's hi-fi, but it could easily pass for art.
See house-event.ie. See also bang-olufsen.com, lostweekend.ie, kevinkellyinteriors.ie, houseedit.ie, and theinteriorsassociation.ie.