Just where has the time gone... One moment we’re still basking in the glow of Salone del Mobile and now, the year is over and it still feels like we’re still waiting for The Big 2023 Interiors Movement to emerge – this isn’t how it’s supposed to be! Or is it?
Sure, there have been some growing themes throughout the year, but unlike before they exist either happily merging into each other, the dividing lines broken down, or completely contradicting each other. And that’s what 2023 has all been about, the throwing away of the rule book, and the uninhibited celebrating of good design, whatever it may be, and whatever it may sit next to in the home.
Eclecticism, doing whatever we like in our interiors, was the decorating motto of 2023. We’ve seen the rise of ‘The home as the sanctuary’ in recent years – this year it’s more like ‘My home is just for me’. Like that chair? Take it. Like that table? Take it. They don’t go together? That’s ok, it’s all about how they make us feel – if they summon that warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest, they belong in your dining room.
It's historic. It's hyper-contemporary. It's high-gloss smooth. It's heavy texture. It's colourful. It’s maximalist. It's iconic Scandi. It's luxe. It's laid back. Put all of the interior pieces you love into a big pot, mix them all together, and that’s 2023. Spaces became dynamic, personalised and free.
Interiors became about self-expression, each area a visual representation of who you are, design objects becoming strokes on an artist’s canvas. Beautiful objects stood in the home to be admired standalone or as part of the fuller exhibition. Colours danced, textures soared and materials intermingled. Styles, influences and ages fused. It’s wild, it’s calm, and yet it really makes sense. 2023 was the year of the Me Interior, the Do Whatever You Like Interior, the Embrace It All Interior. But there were a few signals along the way as to where we’re headed.
Surfaces spanned got tactile, from the highly-textured to the mega smooth, with colours similarly extreme and high-definition, pigment-rich tones taking over. Scandi design took an unexpected twist, sofas went exploring and metallics got involved with it all. It was quite the year. In the closing moments of 2023, the echoes of such eclectic design resonate, leaving a lasting impression for the new interiors era, one where diversity and the celebration of unique aesthetics define the way we curate our spaces. Let us present the key materials and finishes from the mix that will guide us into the coming year...
1. Colourful Explosion
Dig out your kaleidoscopes and pop on your sunglasses because the pigment party isn’t over. Powerful, impactful colours have reigned this year and there’s no sign of a slowdown. Lead by the primary tones of vivid scarlet, rich ultramarine and radiant yellow with support from fiery orange, intense magenta and in-the-jungle green, the modern furniture designs of 2023 were soaked in saturation.
Happy and charmingly nostalgic, these pared back shades speak of childhood, of coloured games and a time when things were simpler. Such intense, primary (and secondary) hues spark bursts of joy, oozing energy and oomph and bringing a powerful positivity to the home.
Ceramique Table Lamp
Sengu Bold Sofa
Togo Sofa - La Toile du Peintre
Brightness spread throughout the home on modern furniture, rugs and accessories large and small. Boldest-of-the-bold paint, lacquer and stain coated hard furniture for a punchy, unexpected impact in spaces spanning the living and dining rooms to even traditionally calmer bedrooms, while toning down the trend was upholstery – tones were just as vivid, but on textiles the impact became softer and calmer. Mixing the two in different spaces, materials and scales merged vibrant shades into the home in a statement yet liveable way.
If there’s one piece that embodied the mega colour of 2023, it was Ligne Roset’s 1973 classic Togo Fireside Lounge Chair by Michel Ducaroy, reimagined in a limited-edition coat of La Toile du Peintre fabric by Pierre Frey. Released in celebration of the avant- garde brand’s 50th Anniversary, the fabric turns the iconic seat into a contemporary tapestry of large-format intense colour, dynamic brushstrokes and expression. &Tradition’s limited edition Formakami lights joined the fun in a similar way to, adorned with bold hues and characterful shapes created by their designer Jaime Hayon.
2. The New Nordic
We always knew what to expect heading north – stunning timber, timeless forms and natural materials. Well, there have been some developments. Known for leading the way where furniture’s concerned, over the past year the Nordic nations have been noted combining their celebrated craft and furniture-making heritage with a new twist. Danish interiors-fest 3daysofdesign was abuzz with a fresh Scandi perspective on things, a move away from their revered design heritage and into something more forward-thinking, playful and riskier. Of course, the talent with timber and aptitude for aesthetics was still there, but designs were much more contemporary and experimental.
If you’re an aficionado of Scandi style, you always knew what you were going to get when adding to your collection – the highest quality materials, illustrious design names and classic, pass-down-the-generations-worthy design. OK – nothing’s changed in that regard, but this year Nordic furniture had a different feel, many pieces completely shaking off the past and creating brand new, original and innovative designs rather than the quiet subtleties we may be used to.
It was time to look to the future and forge the pieces that’ll be revisited 50 years. There were curves in expected places, there were angles where no angle had been before and there were new materials to discover. Such updates imbue the home with a renewed, lively spirit – these designs still (to varying degrees) fit in with traditional Scandi designs, but offer a state-of-the-art viewpoint. They hang in the sweet spot between Arne Jacobsen/ Hans J. Wegner/ Nanna Ditzel icons and outrageous talking points.
Damian Williamson’ Konami sofa collection is a new aesthetic for Fredericia. Defined by it's smooth gentle curves, the design shakes lose from the brand’s archetypal modernised mid-century vibes. Meanwhile Gubi ventured into ceramic tabletops for the first time with its Carmel Table by OEO Studio, the stoneware glaze so smooth and glossy the tables emulated elevated pools of liquid.
Plinth Bridge Low Table
Tung JA3 Side Table
VIPP452 Swivel Chair
3. Adventurous Sofas
Thought you could identify a sofa in a furniture line up? Not so much now, as the seat metamorphosed into configurations almost beyond recognition. No more good old two-seater sofa. The modern sofa has moved into the realms of indescribability – it’s something curved, something angled, something long, something compact, something with gaps in, something a bit hard... Furniture-wise, the sofa is the centre of the home. It’s the comfiest place to be, where everyone wants to sit, its where we unwind, its where we relax, it’s where we catch up, it’s where life happens. Our seating needs are growing – to engage with each other, to fit around corners beauty, to fit the extended family, to double as a work space, to create sculptural – and sofas have heard us.
For the last year, sofa have been different. While before modularity was a focus, this year that adaptable approach to design was pushed even further. They’re no longer simply sofas, they’re seating systems, bought in segments as and when you need to change the design, and what segments they are. There are options for hard inserts to hold drinks, notes and phones, modules that create gaps in the backs here and there, arm and back options that bend to alter their support – and the pieces that aren’t modular are curved, angled, geometric, asymmetric or surprising in some way. Such reactive design makes the home feel like it’s really working and is flowing smoothly. The most contemporary sofa knows you need somewhere to put that mug even before you’ve even finished your tea.
Take B&B Italia’s Dambo Sofa system by Perio Lissoni, which is built from irregularly shaped pentagons and rectangles, which can be combined into angular limitless compositions quite without round edges or regularity. Patricia’s Urquiola’s Pacific Sofa for Moroso is almost semi-circular, the ends bending smoothly towards each other in an arc that at is arrestingly beautiful as well as having the practical function of bring sitters together into an intimate conversation space.
4. Super Textures
If we can say one thing on texture in general over the last 12 months, it’s that it wasn’t shy. It knew what it was about. It was the year surfaces erupted. 2023 saw an outburst of diverse textures as designers increasingly experimented with a myriad of tactile elements, from the rough and rugged to glassy smooth, the innovatively woven and the intricately carved.
Turning each room into something multidimensional, exaggerated textures and finishes invite touch and more focused interaction, enhancing the sensory experience of the home. Bold textures allow for a play on contrasts, sleek surfaces put alongside the more pronounced creating a thought-provoking and exciting balance. Adding character and expressing an experimental, unconventional personality, textures can also evoke emotion, the soft and fuzzy conjuring comfort and cosiness while the sleek and smooth convey something new and refined. Mixing them up – that’s where the fun’s at.
Boton Dining Table
Fiestra Deco Wall Mirror
DS-707 - Atom Fabric
From exaggerated upholstery to extravagant finishes, we honed in on touch. Ridged markings were carved into solid materials and tailored into the soft to highlight their three-dimensionality form a layer of shadows. Glass took a U-turn and went from the definition of smooth to hazy, distorted and uneven, taking on the look of frozen water and casting shadows that transform a room into something ethereal. Materials got loose, relaxing their yarns to become more tactile, plush or soft for a cosy cocooning feel as well as creating experimental juxtapositions alongside other textures.
The defining textured fabric of the year had to be bouclé. We don’t mean just any old bouclé – it was the rise of the heavy, oversized, mega boucle, its big, brazen bumps taking over the upholstery of Salone del Mobile and beyond. Inviting hands to dig in, explore and get ruffling, bold boucle breathed life into neutral shades and injected an extra burst of life into the vibrant. Kvadrat/Raf Simons’s experimental Atom bouclé textile was at every turn. Its colour-flecked tactile woolly surface inspired by expressionist paintings, it was spotted transforming designer furniture and accessories alike throughout the year.
Eames Lounge Chair - Phlox Fabric
5. Dazzling Metallics
Disco-ball-worthy spaces entered the contemporary design sphere this year with metallic accents edging indoors. It was a year that glittered, glistened and shone as playful and exuberant metallics graced platforms of all kinds: from the most up-to-date of living rooms to the catwalks of Dior, Chanel and Tory Burch, as well as stages stormed by Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. From golden glints to silvery sheens, metallic accents in the home are enthralling and magical. Spanning subtle sparkle to the overtly opulent, metallics infused 2023 with a light-hearted charm, infusing rooms with the glimmer of luxury on every scale.
Aspide Table Lamp
Adding a dash of brilliant metallic to the home nods to sophistication as well as a modern laid-back vibe, infusing the home with an elegance which can merge warmth, with fun, indulgence and the cutting edge. While shimmering light lends a room a glamourous, dynamic, can’t-be-pinned-down type of atmosphere, the mood of the space changes throughout the day – in daylight it’s fresh, lively and anything-is-possible, while as the evening wears on, metallics make for an intimate, sensual feel tinted with luxurious mystery.
Sleek polished chrome, rich brushed brass, hammered aluminium, shining gold-veined marble, and mirrored finishes edged into the homes of 2023. Some slow, with just a gleam in the corner of the eye, some in big, bold, Beyoncé-tastic ways. There was no wrong way to do it – it’s The Year of the Eclectic Interior, remember? Pioneering the glitzy vibe was Tom Dixon, which shimmied into the new days of the dancefloor with Puff, a souped-up disco ball made up of 30 inflated perforated panels, available as a brass or steel statement pendant, flamboyant trio, or party-starting ‘mega system’.