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Happenings >> European Design Show News

I’ve been watching the news coming out of two recent design shows, IMM Cologne and Maison & Objet. The themes are definitely -- at a high level -- about automation, minimalism and nature-inspired shapes.Many of the items at these major international shows are not always available in Canada, but they drive new product development and reflect the industry trends. **While I've never been a proponent of decorating to be 'on trend', there is no question the trends do influence what is available.Innovative lighting was a big theme this year with new ideas using organic phosphorescent materials and solar power. An example is the Sphelar Lantern, which uses mini, rounded solar cells that generate electricity when exposed to sunlight. I love the hourglass shape and wooden accents.Sphelar Lantern by Sphelar Power + grafReports are still showing colour as a big story too: both pastels and candy-hues. It seems that nature-inspired decor and shapes were also prominent as was the melding of organic shapes and modern materials. Think chunky wood blocks a la Brent Comber fused with metal or resin. The metals and accents are being shown in warmer tones like brass, copper and satin nickel vs. chrome.This year the showroom floors were also filled with geometric patterns called tessellations. These are the combination of interlocking shapes such as hexagons, triangles, chevrons and curves. These patterns were found in everything from soft goods to upholstery to shelving. Take a look at the Kvadrat Clouds product for an idea how this works.

Clouds by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Kvadrat

It looks like 2013 is off to an exciting start!