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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Four power players discuss trends

 Photo via The Editor at Large.

Yesterday, editor in chief of WSJ Magazine Deborah Needleman brought together editor Sara Ruffin Costello and designers David Netto and Miles Redd to discuss "What's Next in Decorating" at the Decoration & Design Building's spring market keynote in New York City. The panel spoke about  trends and the evolution of decorating.

Needleman kicked things off with a declaration: "I have to be honest and confess that I really hate 'trends.' I really feel that they are manufactured in an office and they aren't authentic at all. Nobody buys complete new sets of furniture every season and we don't run for new paint when Pantone tells us the color isn't teal anymore. However, there is a zeitgeist taking place, there's this feeling in the air around 'style leaders,' because they are the genuine leaders of 'trends.'"

Needleman began the discussion by asking where each panel member finds inspiration. 

"I find the most inspiration in the great rooms of the great decorators throughout history," said Ruffin Costello. "I look for the bold strokes they take. The 'big moment' that happens in a fabulous room is what design in all about."

As expected, Redd spoke of his signature decorating attribute: "For me, I'm now finding inspiration in color and shades." Interestingly enough, many of the slides he shared were of minimal neutral-shaded rooms.

Netto was more specific: "I'm most interested in the point of view of objects and how they relate to industrial design and architecture [...] I think everything looks better just slightly unfinished. I love handmade, and a more ‘primitive modern’ lately. I'm in love with the 30's; that's my inspiration."

Needleman then asked what classics the designers loved that perhaps had become too trendy. Netto and Redd gave vague answers, but the woman who gifted us the room below exclaimed,"Wallpaper, but I can't stop using it!" Ruffin Costello also cited cerused oak.

 Photo via Domino (RIP).

When discussing the lack of uniqueness in mainstream retailers' products, Redd declared he had no problem incorporating pieces from IKEA or Restoration Hardware [Raina's eyebrow arches]: "Luxury doesn't HAVE to be one of a kind. Luxury is first and foremost about privacy."

Netto then went a bit off-topic with his feelings about the current state of design careers. "It's harder to be a decorator now than it was ten years ago. Magazines can make people think they can do everything themselves and it's easier to show now because of the internet. What shouldn't be forgotten, however, is that a designer is hired because of his or her ability to compose things. The ability to bring everything together is the essence of our authorship."

After the discussion wrapped, Needleman spoke with The Editor at Large about the panel's thoughts. "I loved that the colorful maximalist Decorator, Miles Red, was swinging minimal and beige! I also loved that Sara Ruffin Costello wants to be the love child of John Fowler and John Dickenson; David Netto is aspiring to a messier modernism; and that I'm striving for a perfect imperfection. It may seem that we're all a mass of contradictions, but really, it's the beauty of great juxtapositions."

Ruffin Costello was more enthusiastic: "Amazingly the three of us independently zeroed in on a real zeitgeist moment happening: Baroque Minimalism, a new kind of restrained excess. It reminds us all of the 80s - unbridled everything - except redefined for this generation. Smarter and less showy, it’s chintz upholstery in a clean room of Balenciaga-style curtains done up in muslin, deep bullion fringe attached to a common stripe, and... more beige rooms! To look at Miles Redd’s slides and not see a room with color, well, that’s really telling you something. You heard it here first!" 

Oh, to see those slides.


Alcira Molina-Ali said...

This is like Christmas in almost June!
Wow Raina, this blizzy-blog of yours just won't quit of late.You're werkin' some serious journalistic chops.
Rock on Lampshade Lady, Alcira

Oh and PS, my word verification was just "fingeru" -- my goodness...

Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Well doll face, I'm with Alcira, you are unstoppable and I'm digging it. Truly and thankfully, I learn and I listen, thanks to you.

ps. my word verification (I swear) is " mention "

TamStyles said...

i had no clue she was the editor. great to know. and she was dead on 1000% right with everything she said...

Anonymous said...

Baroque minimalism...hmmm. I really want to picture it in my minds eye, but I need a photo to grasp it. If anybody has a good link to an example please post it!

Raina Cox said...

Anon 9:54 - This is what came to my mind:

maison21 said...

loving the idea of baroque minimalism, but i have to admit, a beige room by miles redd doesn't sound so exciting to me. still, miles is a pretty talented fellow, so i'm sure it will be chic.

home before dark said...

Is it me or the more successful Redd becomes, the more he looks like Michael Smith?

erin@designcrisis said...

YES. I knew the fringe obsession I have been developing was at least vaguely justifiable...

I may have to pretend Miles didn't say beige, though. Chalky white? Sure. Pale taupey gray? Of course. But beige???

I don't know. I think my band aid ban is still in effect.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, Raina! I think I get it now.

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

Great article, Raina. I would have loved to have been there and soaked in their comments (and genius,) but reading about it is still really interesting.

I so often find myself becoming a willing victim to the trends. It's hard to see through it all and find your own look.

Anonymous said...

"I think everything looks better just slightly unfinished. I love handmade, and a more ‘primitive modern’ lately. I'm in love with the 30's; that's my inspiration."

That makes absolutely no sense -- '30s design was not like that at all. These designers were talking out of both sides of their mouths and neither side was anything of interest. Who knew they were so incapable of rationally explaining their design credo? Or that they really had no new ideas themselves? They just seem like massively overpriced dillettantes.

Julie @ Chapman Interiors said...

ohhhh good article R. But I can't see the slides! I want slides!