Architectural shapes is a key interiors trend for Autumn-Winter 2017, taking inspiration from buildings and architectural detailing. Our designers have taken the idea of these angular, blocky, geometric and monumental shapes and translated this in varying ways across textiles, furniture, accessories and lighting either through construction or pattern using optical illusion. We sit down with Matt Long, Furniture Designer at Habitat, to get the lowdown on the trend and how it came about.
How did the architectural shapes trend come about?
Inspired by interior shows such as MAISON&OBJET, we work from our ‘orientation’ document which informs the designs of the season. For AW17, we had direction to create some architectural and sculptural designs. I had a look at some building designs for inspiration but ideas can also come from lots of very different places – for example, the inspiration from the Mortimer sideboard didn’t just come from looking at lots of sideboards but ideas can be sparked from things completely irrelevant to a sideboard.
A key piece from the trend is the Mortimer sideboard. Can you tell us a little bit about this design?
A normal sideboard is often very traditional and heavy looking but I wanted to throw that on its head and make an object that appears much lighter. Designed to suggest the idea of an urban skyline, the Mortimer’s offset angles highlight the 3D cubes that inter-connect to build up its strong architectural silhouette. As much as it’s made of heavy square boxes, there’s a lightness and openness to it, and the blocks are raised on statement red pin legs to allow light to filter around the main body.
How do you decide on materials and colours?
The Mortimer sideboard and cabinet is crafted from oak veneer. As the design is quite out there, using a more traditional material like wood brings the furniture back down to earth, levelling it out. So while the piece is fresh and exciting, it can still fit in with our customer’s existing furniture. We made the legs red just to give it a little bit of punch.
What’s your favourite part of the design process?
Coming up with the ideas is great, especially when it’s something special. It’s particularly satisfying when you’re struggling with an idea and it takes a bit more time to have a breakthrough. It’s always exciting to see the first sample, when you get to see the design you’ve been working on as a real-life product. Then when you see it photographed, in the press show and you hear peoples’ reactions, that’s always nice.
Where was the furniture manufactured and do you visit the factory?
The Mortimer sideboard and cabinet are made in China by a Danish owned company. As this product is quite complex we visited the factory a few times to develop it and to make sure it fitted the drawings, dimensions and specifications. Also, because you’re designing on an A4 piece of paper or a computer, and the products are 1.5m long, you want to make sure it’s the correct size and that you’ve got it right.
How much time, from start to finish, did it take to complete this product?
The design process, buying and development can take around a year. It depends on how complex the design is.
What’s your favourite piece from this trend?
I really like the Mortimer sideboard, I would have this in my own home. But I also love the light which is available in silver and brass.
The BAYLA cube chandelier will be available soon.
Like this trend? Well lucky for you there’s more where that came from. The trend has also been translated across textiles and soft furnishing.
Want to tap into the new season trends? Check out our new arrivals.