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5 summer interior design trends set to be huge in 2024

From pop-Bauhaus to ditsy florals, here are the key summer interior design trends of 2024

This summer sees an unlikely alliance of trends both romantic and pop. Designers and brands are referencing Bauhaus furniture but giving a joyous twist to its austere modernist aesthetic, judging by a plethora of designs with chunky tubular metal frames powder-coated in every colour of the rainbow, all reminiscent of 1970s and 1980s pop design. Ditsy florals in the home are another major trend – a welcome backlash, some might say, against those oversized, blousy tropical botanicals that have dominated interiors for years. And, on a romantic tip, chairs with rustic rush seating are soaring in popularity – a mood embodied by Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting Chair, depicting a chair with a straw seat in his simply furnished room in Arles in the south of France. The associations of this furniture with a Mediterranean climate perhaps resonate particularly powerfully in the summer. Designers are also exploring the surprisingly decorative effect of reproducing raw architectural finishes on wallcoverings, fabrics and tiles. Effect Magazine cherry-picks the five hottest interior design trends for summer 2024.

1. Bauhaus goes pop

Streamlined tubular-steel furniture championed by such Bauhaus titans as Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe is perennially popular. But somehow, their original, rather austere metal frames don’t seem to please contemporary taste half as much as ones in pastel or acid-bright hues. NaughtOne’s Percy chair, dreamt up by Canadian furniture designer Nicole Marion, comprises metal frames powder-coated in bubblegum pink, scarlet or white. Marion says that Percy, whose frame encases plumply upholstered cushions, is nevertheless inspired by the Bauhaus as well as by the functional aesthetic of 1970s waiting-room seating. The trend lends itself to customisation, which adds to its appeal – a boon to interior designers seeking to create individual interiors: Percy’s frame comes in 16 colours and the chair is available in over 100 upholstery options.

The Percy Chair by NaughtOne has metal frames powder-coated in bubblegum pink, scarlet or white

Much of this furniture is known by human names. Percy aside, London furniture maker James has a range of barstools called Wilbur. These names perhaps highlight the furniture’s anthropomorphic qualities or are a deliberate echo of the nickname given to Breuer’s classic Model B3 chair – Wassily – after Bauhaus tutor Wassily Kandinsky. At Clerkenwell Design Week this year, James showed a particularly funky iteration of Wilbur with an apple green frame encasing a plumply upholstered seat covered in a fabric with graphic dashes redolent of Italian postmodernism.

London furniture maker James launched a special iteration of their Wilbur bar stools in apple green with a postmodern fingerprint-inspired fabric at 2024’s Clerkenwell Design Week

And German brand Blockbau has created the 22.24 and 32 chairs in similarly zingy shades. The 22.24 chair’s seat is formed by parallel tubes forming ribs rather like those on a radiator. The 32 chair, available in baby pink, is also suitable for outdoor use.

2. Stackable meets modular

Another popular customisable idea is for stackable, modular designs. Meld, a collaboration between ceramicist and product designer Emma Louise Payne and Phoebe Stubbs of glass-blowing studio Gather, is an intriguing, almost otherworldly collection of floor and table lamps that fuses glazed stoneware and hand-blown glass. Its stackable, modular segments incorporate light bulbs that can be positioned by the user to suit personal needs. Meld, which was showcased at London Craft Week this year, boasts a totemic form and casts a moody, ambient light. “I tend to work with interior designers and wanted a stackable piece that can be customised depending on lighting requirements – the number of light sources in the stackable structure can be increased or decreased,” she says. “The idea also stems from tableware that’s stacked – I love totemic forms.”

The Meld lamp – a collaboration between ceramicist and product designer Emma Louise Payne and Phoebe Stubbs of glass-blowing studio Gather – is created from stackable, modular segments that can be positioned by the user

Stackable tableware is, in fact, a trend in itself. Diva, a collection by Italian brand Ginori 1735 (pictured top) suggests a demand for modular, stackable homeware. It’s an ornate reinterpretation of Italian designer and sculptor Giovanni Gariboldi’s 1950s stackable china collection, Colonna. Launched at Milan Design Week this year and dreamt up by Ginori 1735’s in-house design team, it pays homage to mid-century Italian design. Inspired too by Italian coffee culture and pastries, the light-hearted, mix-and-match set comprises tea and coffee cups, teapots and coffee pots in complementary sugared-almond shades. Their gold borders hint at formality yet this playful, informal, fun-loving idea is anything but prissy.

3. Rustic rush seating

There is an increasing demand for chairs with rush seating, such as the C-Chair by Marcel Gascoin, manufactured by Gubi and stocked by Aram (Photo: Courtesy of Gubi)

In stark contrast to today’s pop-inflected Bauhaus trend is a demand for chairs with rush or paper-cord seating. For some, this will trigger idyllic memories of Provencal farmhouse or Italian café terraces. The style has partly British Arts and Crafts roots and modernist designers in the postwar years rediscovered rural furniture-making techniques. Take Gio Ponti’s 1950s Superleggera chair inspired by chairs produced in the Italian town, Chiavari or Charlotte Perriand’s furniture with rush seats. Lesser-known is the C-Chair by mid-century designer Marcel Gascoin, manufactured by Gubi and stocked by Aram. “Gascoin’s passion for wood and craftsmanship shine through in every detail,” says Marie Kristine Schmidt, Gubi’s chief brand officer. “He created the C–Chair in 1947 for an apartment concept in Sotteville-lès-Rouen in collaboration with architect Marcel Lods. Its slender footprint was ideal for that space and is appropriate for space-efficient apartments today – or for gathering people around a dining table, indoors or out.”

Silla de Baile chair by Wilkinson & Rivera, available at SCP

London retailer SCP sells vintage pine chairs with rush seats as well as Anglo-American brand Wilkinson & Rivera’s characterful Silla de Baile chair, which has a capacious hand-woven rush seat and wiggly legs. “We like to stock a few vintage pieces, particularly if they’re idiosyncratic and difficult to find,” says SCP’s founder Sheridan Coakley, “We have a number of outdoor furniture pieces with rush seating – a very old technique repopularised by Britain’s Arts and Crafts movement. Its simplicity and functionality appeal to those with a more modernist taste, too.”

Danish modernist designers frequently favoured paper-cord seating. Nordic alternatives to French and Italian styles will appeal to those after a cooler, Scandi look characterised by pale, blond tones. Danish company Fredericia produces Børge Mogensen’s J39 chair and has relaunched Kaare Klint’s earlier 1936 Klint chair, inspired by a traditional English rural chair, the American Shaker tradition and Southern European seating.

4. Ditsy florals

Similarly rustic is a trend for prints with small-scale florals in the home. Ditsy florals, as they’re also known, are perhaps a late flowering of cottagecore, that surprise vogue of 2020 that fostered a taste for rustic furnishings and fashion. The vogue for itsy-bitsy florals has arguably supplanted a huge trend for large-scale botanical prints, such as bird of paradise motifs, which at last seems to have fizzled out. The revival of diminutive prints, reminiscent of 1970s Laura Ashley home fabrics with their signature floral or sprig prints (tiny stems and leaves) and the delicate florals of French fashion label Cacharel, to name two examples, are enjoying a comeback.  

The trend also recalls the tradition of “millefleur” – small flowers and plants seen on European tapestries of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, later revived by William Morris. Millefleurs is in fact the name of a geranium-inspired jacquard design from Rubelli’s new collection of botanical prints Gardens – a collaboration with Studio Formafantasma. “Our Millefleurs design stems from a centuries’ old Venetian and Italian tradition of intricate floral patterns on tapestries and blends historical richness with modern aesthetics,” says Alberto Pezzato, head of Rubelli’s design studio.

A collaboration between Burleigh and Craven Dunnill Jackfield features a ditsy floral pattern

That other standard-bearer of small-scale florals, Liberty, has launched its House Florals collection this season. It includes linen and cotton fabrics inspired by artworks of fashion florals from its archive. The names of the designs alone are delicious – there’s Betsy Flora, a 1933 pattern, Empress Vine  a trailing cherry blossom – and Poppy Meadowfield, a busy print of poppies and daisies.

Ceramic wall tiles with a ditsy floral pattern are also available thanks to a collaboration between British tableware brand Burleigh and Craven Dunnill Jackfield. These bear Burleigh’s classic 1968 Calico pattern.

5. Raw architecture-inspired surfaces

Wallpapers, fabrics and tiles that mimic raw, untreated architectural surfaces yet are unexpectedly decorative are another trend. Timorous Beasties’ new Stucco collection of fabrics and wallcoverings is a subversive response to Le Corbusier’s edict ‘The Law of Ripolin’. “The architect declared that whitewashing walls with Ripolin paint had a spiritual and moral cleansing power,” says Paul Simmons, co-founder of this brand, renowned for its wit and sophisticated irony. “So, we imagined a new beginning where all around us, pattern on pattern clutters our minds and becomes overwhelming. We envisioned moving into a new house and painting everything white. To Le Corbusier’s, horror we’d use ornate plasterwork and damasks as a reference.”

Stucco’s Cracked Up wallpaper conjures up distressed plaster, while other patterns from the collection pick out ornamental architectural features such as cornices and coving, albeit in raw, neutral shades of plaster and white – not quite the vision of simplicity and purity preached by Le Corbusier.

Meanwhile, Henry Holland Studio has joined forces with handmade tile specialist Bert & May to create the Henry Holland Studio Pour collection, which evokes raw walls and floors. Designer Henry Holland has previously experimented with nerikomi – a technique involving folding together multicoloured layers of clay, resulting in striated patterns – to create ceramic tableware, and has now translated this effect into tile form. The tiles are created by hand-pouring pigmented, viscous clay in two tones into moulds, then blending it to create appealingly irregular patterns.

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