Nature is a big inspiration for interior designers. Its patterns, prints and colors bring something beautiful into each home, they provide warmth and reunite people with nature. That is why designers love playing with natural colors and patterns and such trend that marked 2016 is still on top of the design lists. Jungle prints, with various animal patterns and colors is something that you should always opt for in your home if you like earthy undertones and calming atmosphere. So why not try this trend this year as well?
Just a few plants can greatly change the atmosphere in your home. If you add a few exotic plants, you will get the wild atmosphere with a few mesmerizing leafy accents in each room. Dining room is perfect place for introducing nature and you can start off with placing a bigger branch in some weird shape on the shelf. Also, tropical plants with big leafs will look great by the dining room window or in the corner of your living room. The best tropical plants for such decoration are TI plants, Alocasia, Colocasia, Philodendrons and other big leaf plants.
Clash of Exotic Colors
This trend brings a lot of bold, vibrant colors and various patterns with plenty of mixing of the different materials and fabrics. The colors that dominate are orange, purple and greens mixed with materials such as bamboo and wood in order to bring nature inside. Opt for heavy and dark furniture that make a great foundation for all the vibrant colors that you can incorporate through throw pillows, carpets and different seating. Also, decorating your walls with fabrics, setting up interesting paneled silk screens and various bold lanterns will bring the spirits of the wilderness into your home and make it more dynamic and homey.
Bring Rattan Back
Rattan has found its way back into our home décor, both on the inside and outside. This strong retro material is perfect for living room seating and it makes a nice decorative piece. Also, this material is eco-friendly and it can have many shapes and uses. Thus, you can try incorporating it into your interior design through furniture, lighting fixtures or turn it into a 3D art in some modern shapes or some more rustic, traditional styles. Nevertheless, a few chairs and a bench made of rattan and covered with some animal print throw pillow with provide the airiness and comfort your home needs.
Some people just don’t like their homes to be packed with dynamics of vibrant colors. That is perfectly okay, but there is way to pay respect to this trend and still make your home minimalistic. Opt for a monochrome look that isn’t too boring. Choose color palettes in the shades of beige, cream, black and brown. Play with lighter and darker shades of these colors and preserve the elegance. Add a few pops with fabrics in animal print, but stay subtle. Also, if you have a favorite zebra print, use those colors on your walls, windows or flooring. The design will still be monochromatic, but it will have a fun little twist to break the monotony.
Animal Print Artwork
Artwork will make your home look more sophisticated, and if you do it with animal print, you will have mesmerizing elegance in the room. Introducing such artwork is perfect for people who fear that their home will look like an exaggerated African safari. What you have to do is keep the colors of your furniture and accessories in some neutral earthy colors, while your artwork can consist of various jungle patterns. Lay a few pictures above the sofa with fun animal prints, such as zebra, giraffe, tiger and leopard, and only add a few more hints of jungle through your plants or throw pillows. If you keep the rest of the colors in some neutral shades, this astonishing artwork will get all the attention while tying the whole design into a sophisticated look.
If classic modern looks are way to minimalistic for your personal preferences, you can always rely on nature. Introducing nature into our homes is a big trend of 2016 and jungles are a perfect inspiration for any professional or amateur designer. Don’t be afraid to mix, match and experiment with various prints and fabrics, and your home will have the dynamics of a forest, while preserving its comfortable atmosphere.
A holistic approach to nature and wellness drives Matteo Thun’s built projects. The award-winning Italian architect and Interior DesignHall of Fame member co-founded the iconic Italian design and architecture collective the Memphis Group with Ettore Sottsass in 1981, before striking out on his own, forming Matteo Thun & Partners in 2001. Thun’s happiest designing something new, he admits, and his firm’s creative eye, honed out of a headquarters in Milan and an office in Shanghai, is behind a long list of high-profile hospitality and healthcare projects spanning the globe.
Most recently, summer saw the reassembly of Thun’s temporary beach structure, Cala Beach Club on the breathtaking Emerald Coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. Situated at Hotel Cala di Volpe in Costa Smeralda, a playground for the rich and, at times, famous—many of them yachting enthusiasts—Cala Beach Club is an environmentally sensitive structure only accessible by foot or boat. In summer it hums with private parties, with clientele seduced by the stunning natural landscape. Interior Design sat down with Thun to hear more about the Cala Beach Club, what toy kicked off his imagination at a young age, and which project reachable solely by cable car he considers a career turning point.
Interior Design: What was your overall design goal for Cala Beach Club?
Matteo Thun: Cala di Volpe is a beautiful beach in Sardinia. We wanted to create a shady oasis just between the woods and the sea. Restaurant, bar, and treatment rooms have been designed to melt within the landscape, to respect the charm of this special place.
ID: What was particularly challenging about this project?
MT: This property is reachable only by boat or on a path through nature. Since it serves only for the season, we designed a removable structure that is easily to assemble and dismantle.
ID: What materials did you use and why?
MT: The structure unites with the beach vegetation, terraces value the inclination of the land, and views are open to the sea. We only used natural materials that integrate with the surroundings, such as chestnut wood and bamboo. All colors are natural and warm.
ID: What else have you completed recently?
MT: We like to bring nature inside and believe in concepts that emphasize an overall healthy lifestyle as a main approach. Healthy architecture and interior design guarantees physical and mental well being, allowing a relationship between humans and the environment. In Obbürgen, Switzerland, the Waldhotel at Bürgenstock Hotels & Resort, which opened at the end of last year, is a space for wellness and medical services. It’s made from local stone and wood, and nature will take over in a few years so that the building will melt with the mountain. As with most of our projects, we also designed the entire interior.
Another recent project is the new headquarters for Davines, an Italian beauty company dedicated to sustainability and based in Parma, Italy. Here, we grouped traditional rural shapes and innovative volumes around a greenhouse that serves as a restaurant for the employees. Maximum architectural transparency with a minimum amount of masonry elements provides every working station with a view of the green areas.
ID: What’s upcoming for you?
MT: The Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus Spandau in Berlin at the largest university orthopedic center in Europe. Waldkrankenhaus means ‘hospital in the forest’ in German, and the new hospital building and rehab building connected to it will transform the hospital campus into a health center with a hotel character. This project represents our idea of a healing environment, an architectural and organizational structure that helps the patient and his relatives endure stressful situations caused by illness, operations, treatments, and sometimes pain.
Another hospitality project, a health bathing spa with medical treatments and maximum comfort, is underway in Bavaria, at Tegernsee, a resort town on the banks of Germany’s Tegernsee Lake. Nature is also the point of departure here and was key to the project. The landscape design integrates the existing flora and references the natural presence of water, allowing a direct communication with nature without interfering with the privacy of the patients.
ID: Is there a project in your history that you feel was particularly significant to your career?
MT: I designed the Vigilius Mountain Resort in South Tirol more than 15 years ago. It was one of the first design hotels, made from local larch wood and reachable only by cable car. The owner and I shared the same vision: to create a hotel that fuses with its surroundings, a place where you can breathe and relax instantly. Now, after all these years, the wood has a beautiful patina and the hotel a constant influx of international clientele.
ID: What are you reading?
MT: I very much like to read books in parallel: such as German philosopher Martin Heidegger with a novel or short story by Italian journalist and writer Italo Calvino.
ID: How do you think your childhood influenced your design thinking?
MT: My parents took me regularly to the Venice Biennale, so I became familiar with art and architecture at quite a young age. I grew up in nature, in the mountains near Bolzano, Italy, where my mother worked with pottery. She gave me clay to play with—so I had to use my imagination to have fun with it. I was always very close to material and materiality.
ID: How do think the Italian design culture influences your overall approach?
MT: In Italy, architecture is approached holistically. Let me quote Italian architect and writer Ernesto Rogers: ‘From spoon to city.’ This means working on a chair, on a lighting product, and on a house at the same time. We’ve worked like this in my office since the beginning, and the different teams of architects, interior designers, and product designers perform across disciplines.
Another big strength is Italian craftsmanship. At Salone del Mobile 2019, we launched a wood chair collection produced by F.lli Levaggi, a small manufacturer in Liguria, Italy, and work regularly with the glassblowers from Murano, such as Venini, Barovier & Toso, and Seguso. We very much believe in ‘Made in Italy.’
ID: Is there a person in the industry that you particularly admire?
MT: Ettore Sottsass, chief designer of Olivetti. I first worked for him as an assistant, then we formed Sottsass Associati and in 1981 we co-founded Italian design and architecture collective Memphis Group. Memphis had an important formative influence on my career, and provided a platform to experiment with the challenges of constant innovation. Ettore designed the first Italian computer—in the late 1950s.
Keep scrolling for more images of projects by Matteo Thun >
Juliet Kinchin, dressed in black accented by pops of color from her necklace (a find at the MoMA Design Store) and ruby-red square bracelet, walked through The Value of Good Design exhibition at theMuseum of Modern Art in New York, pausing at an armchair designed by Hans Wegner in the 1940s as if seeing it for the first time. But this was hardly Kinchin’s introduction to the object in front of her—she curated the exhibition.
As Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA since 2008, Kinchin has organized design retrospectives ranging fromCounter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen (2010-11) to Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000 (2012) and held faculty positions at The Glasgow School of Art and at The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in Design in New York. Positioning objects in ways that create new dialogue is her forte.
The Value of Good Design runs through June 15, 2019 and features household objects, furniture, and appliances from the late 1930s through the 1950s when the U.S. emerged as what Kinchin calls a “design superpower.” It also spotlights MoMA’s Good Design Initiatives, which served as an incubator for innovation at the time. After the walk-through, Kinchin shared some insights into her curatorial process with Interior Design, including her earliest design influences, addressing inclusivity in exhibitions, and the joy of re-purposing vintage curtains.
Interior Design: What does ‘good design’ mean today?
Juliet Kinchin: The words ‘good design’ are always going to conjure up different things for different people. And something that was considered good design in the 1950s doesn’t necessarily hold up nowadays. Good design should reflect technological advances and the social conditions or aspirations of each generation. It goes without saying that most people don’t want to live in the past or dress like our parents and grandparents. Having said that, some objects and core values do seem to have stood the test of time—generally those which combine eye appeal, functionality, and affordability. This was a combination of values that MoMA curators, like Edgar Kaufmann Jr., were trying to seek out at mid-century. What’s perhaps different is the way we are now thinking more about sustainability and the ethical dimension of the way things are made and sold.
ID: Why choose to explore the value of good design through mid-century pieces?
JK: The second world war and its aftermath brought design into focus as a tool for engineering change, whether social, technological, or economic. It was a time of tremendous experimentation, innovation, and idealism in the design of everyday objects and, from 1945 at least, a time of optimism about creating a different, more egalitarian future. I think we are all hungry for that kind of optimism and innovation right now. ‘Good Design’ at mid-century was an international phenomenon and in our exhibition at MoMA we wanted to show the commonality of approaches and thinking in different parts of the world, and the networks through which so many designers and manufacturers moved freely.
ID: What’s the greatest challenge when curating an exhibition like this?
JK: The exhibition includes objects of such different scales and media, which is also half the fun, from a Tupperware popsicle to printed textiles, a Fiat Cinquecento, and a film made by Charles and Ray Eames for the 1959 American National Exhibition held in Moscow. It’s about trying to arrange them in meaningful and visually coherent groups, bringing designed objects into friendly dialogue, or argument, with each other. It is also a challenge to put developments in the U.S. in a broad international context. We have included stunning and familiar design from Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, and the U.K. but also wanted to move beyond them to countries like Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Japan. It was interesting to see how good design was coopted into a framework of Cold War politics. One only has to think of the face-off in 1959 between Nixon and Kruschev in front of a fitted American kitchen on view in Moscow. It is a timely reminder about the power of design as an ideological weapon.
ID: How do you address inclusivity, especially when revisiting work from the 1930s through 1950s?
JK: There is no doubt that in those decades the design professions were far from inclusive in terms of gender and ethnicity, and that often credit was not always publicly given where it was due. We don’t want to whitewash the past, but through research into the collections and staging exhibitions that pose sometimes difficult questions about whose values we represent, we can often throw light upon objects and individuals from the past that reflect current concerns with inclusivity. To give a couple of examples, in the Organic Design competition of 1940 organized by MoMA, prize-winning designs by Ray Eames, Noémi Raymond and Clara Porset were all credited to their respective husbands. We have little representation of African American designers working at mid-century, but we now know a little more about Joel Robinson whose textiles were featured in magazines like Ebony and were highly lauded at the 1951 Good Design exhibitions held in MoMA and the Chicago Merchandise Mart. It is also true to say that the Good Design program was a lifeline for many women at mid-century who were perhaps working in relative isolation and found it difficult to make headway in larger corporate firms of the period.
ID: You’ve lived and worked in Europe and the U.S.—what most distinguishes the design appetite in these areas?
JK: Each city, region, country has its own design culture and material feel, even if many of the actual products are actually the same in different parts of the world, and our high streets are increasingly homogenized by global corporations. New York has a different pace and energy from anywhere else I’ve lived, but I don’t feel design is given as much priority in government-led initiatives and agendas as in many other parts of Europe.
ID: What is your earliest memory of being impacted by design?
JK: As a young child, I remember being mesmerized by the version of Ray Eames’s Hang-It-All coatrack finished with colored plastic balls, and the colorful abstract patterns of curtains my mother had bought in the 1950s—I have patched and relined these over the years and still use them in my own home.
ID: Back in 2012, you organized ‘Century of the Child: Growing by Design 1900-2000’ at MoMA; did any of your favorite childhood toys make it into the exhibition?
JK: Like many children (and adults) the world over I played for hours with a Slinky. As we speak, I can remember the transfer of its weight from hand-to-hand, and the clinking whirring sound of the spring as it unfurled and sprang back. And the smell of the metal in tiny hot hands! I was delighted to feature this mainstay of MoMA’s Good Design exhibitions in both ‘Century of the Child’ and the current show.
ID: What’s your process when it comes to curating spaces, either for exhibitions or in your home? Where do you start?
JK: I love stuff—not only the way it looks and feels, but sounds, smells, perhaps even tastes … I find the things that ‘call out’ to me often reflect the issues or things I am thinking about in the present. Whether we are looking at design from the past, or future-oriented design, we are always filtering perceptions through the present. Curation is about exploring relationships between artworks. I like to think of it in terms of creating a new social life for things, introducing them to new friends, making up with one-time enemies, having a civilized conversation with strangers. And it’s about trying to pace the experience, creating contemplative as well as abrasive moments, and about mixing familiar favorites with less well-known pieces. Exhibiting everyday objects like an axe, a shrimp deveiner, a cookie cutter in the context of an art museum forces people to look twice at such things and to see them in a different light.
ID: What most surprises you about the way people interact with exhibitions through social media?
JK: I think people are often using their phones as a means of looking in detail at design rather than recording and saving images for posterity. Taking and posting photos on social media has become an incredibly important way of consuming design without having to actually purchase it or possess it physically.
ID: What’s your ‘go to’ source of inspiration?
JK: Flea markets, old magazines, libraries and archives, artists’ studios, podcasts, street signs and sounds, factories … design is everywhere you care to look.
Besides using bamboo in unexpected, exceptional ways at the Beijing office of Elephant-Parade, Cun Design likewise explored and elevated simple materials at nearby Blue Moon Films. In this case, founder Cui Shu took on the conversion of a 1990’s house, excavating to expose bare brick and raw concrete. Cui says that the once-pristine surfaces of the walls, doorways, and windowsills had been showing the traces of time—only 20 years, to be sure, but Chinese construction of the ’90’s is not known for its craftsmanship. So he proceeded to hack away. He removed walls to open up the interior and improve views of surrounding gardens as well as cutting out part of a floor slab to bring sunlight down to the basement. With all those subtractions, he also added a volume in weathering steel, yielding a total square footage of 4,500.
Fully transformed, space once dedicated to domestic uses now serves office functions. Reception, a conference room, a library, and office areas fill the ground level. More offices and workstations occupy the second. The result, although obviously contemporary, nevertheless does not try to hide its history. “It’s more like a time line,” he says, “recalling the past and spying on the future with a current design language.”