The Goldilocks of the Furniture Future
Kim Frencho, deemed M+A’s own “Furniture Guru,” is an award-winning designer for the Best Commercial Interior Design Studio designated by Columbus CEO Magazine in Columbus, Ohio. As an industry expert in furniture, Kim is able to save clients time and money, while creating a stronger, cohesive design for their spaces through the pieces of furniture selected.
The US furniture market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 10.6%, reaching a market value of $338 billion by 2023. The Goldilocks of furniture, Kim’s relationships with vendors, the ability to bid out projects, and knowledge of industry standards and qualities result in clients saving significant money.
Specializing in flexibility and multi-functional spaces, Kim is energized by the opportunity to provide exactly what clients want under budget, without compromising quality. “Furniture can make or break a space. It creates an impression and is the thing people touch and interact with daily it influences short and long term residual effects through constant interaction.” With her expertise, the impressions and interactions are designed to be a success within the space and are led by her industry knowledge.
Check out Kim’s top predictions for furniture design for the new year and the decade to come.
A Longer Life.
A recent study has shown that 45% of homeowners have thrown away furniture, electrical items, and housewares. Brands are fighting against this “throwaway culture” in different ways, including focusing on products that are designed to last. Because they are choosing quality products designed to last, clients aren’t replacing furniture every 1-2 years, and they are benefiting from extended warranties. This produces not only cost savings for client projects but also a more environmentally-friendly furniture design.
Rob The Cradle.
Another trending solution is “cradle to cradle” furniture that can be recycled at the end of its life. Expanding further on this idea, furniture brands are also maintaining zero-waste policies, seeking out waste from landfills and factories for use in products to make anything from picture frames to full pieces of furniture. One of our most recent projects, The White Castle Home Office, includes a chair made from 111 Cocacola bottles (the company’s beverage provider) serving as a functional and fun piece of furniture that further strengthens the brand’s message conveyed intentionally throughout the space.
Life in Plastic, It’s Fantastic.
Speaking of plastic water bottles, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Companies, including interior design firms, are coming up with new ways to not only upcycle ocean waste but also use it in innovative and beautiful ways through design. Furniture brands are focused on recycling, making chairs and other household pieces out of processed and reformed plastics. Ikea is even launching a new textile collection made with recycled plastic caught by fishermen in the Mediterranean sea.
Fabric of Life
On the topic of fabric, according to the EPA, the biggest source of waste is textiles - including clothing, carpet, and you guessed it - furniture. Non-toxic recycled materials are having an epic moment, including using fillings for furniture with recycled cotton, natural latex, organic wool and coir (a fiber derived from coconut husks). New sustainable furniture collections are becoming increasingly popular, serving as true innovators in the space, featuring eco-friendly dyes, recycled polyester, organic cotton, and sustainably-sourced fabrics. West Elm is launching eco-friendly weighted biodegradable blankets made with layers of wood pulp fabric, using 20 times less water than conventional fibers.
Color Trend Concepts
You heard it here first, now go see it for yourself. Neutrals with pops of color are going to be the look. Depending on the client, the direction of the project varies, but maintaining a neutral consistency allows flexibility in the space to respond to trends, even years after design implementation. International trend forecasting tool WGSN predicts artificial brights (think neons, and beyond) will intensify in the new decade, with the rise of 5G and tech, using design as a way for the digital world to become more enmeshed in our daily lives. These expressive tones are a hit with their eye-catching colors, aligned with the digital culture and high-octane lifestyle in the new decade.
Fear not, natural and nostalgic colors will maintain their place in any space, offering a sense of comfort in a period of change. Nature-inspired neutrals are a great example of this. With more than half of adult Americans spending five hours or less outdoors each week, colors that offer a connection with nature are increasingly relevant.. Aligned with a base of neutrals, WGSN predicts vintage tones will have a strong appeal during the next few years of great change in North America. These colors feel familiar and comforting, having a stronger appeal.
Resimercial - It’s a Thing
People want to bring home into work, and a lot of the furniture trends for 2020 are indicative of that. Furniture with the durability of commercial applications but a more residential look will incorporate softer lines, a mixture of wood and metal with upholstery, and a less utilitarian appearance with a more approachable vibe. By definition, Resimercial design celebrates commercial quality and residential-inspired features over the sterile and standardized feel of traditional corporate furnishings.
The top three drivers for companies to adopt this mindset? Attraction and retention, a more adventurous work-life balance, and increased wellness. The design elements of Resimercial are here to stay and will continue to evolve in the marketplace. This isn’t just a trend but a new way to view the office environment of the future - a working atmosphere that’s a more comfortable extension of the home environment.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
This is one of the biggest trends of the new decade, and it’s one that I am really energized about. In our digital world, saturated with generic messaging, brands are placing an emphasis on uniqueness and craftsmanship, employing local artisans to fabricate designs. Companies are asking for one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted pieces that are built specifically for their brand. The customization of these pieces and pairings gives companies a sense of individual identity and a totally custom design process. Distinctive products, remove generic constraints and unlock new design directions. These previously, near-extinct artisan skills are finding a revitalization in modern times, further emphasizing the importance of taking the time to craft, a key value of Gen Xers.
Furniture is a constantly evolving market, responding to the landscape of society and the current status of culture. With every development comes a new opportunity in design and it’s these changing directions that keep me energized about the potential of possibilities. Let’s talk furniture trends, now and next.
by Kim Frencho
Interior Designer, Furniture Specialist
Kim’s positive attitude and creative eye have made her a great fit as an Interior Designer and Furniture Specialist at M+A Architects. With over 18 of years experience, she’s very knowledgeable in furniture specifications and is dedicated to making her client’s vision a reality. Her sharp attention to detail and belief in getting things done right the first time constantly shine with each project in which she’s involved. She also believes in designing sustainable solutions for a changing world. Kim’s bright personality and open mind make her not only a pleasure to work with, but an asset to any project team.