Published on : Friday, September 12, 2014
The design world beyond the “less is more” doctrine is stylish, self-confident and successful. Luxury brands are demonstrating what the interiors sector is capable of when furniture is allowed to display an abundance of forms, upmarket materials and details.
Gold taps and chandeliers – it’s probably safe to say that this image of a luxury lifestyle is obsolete. Nowadays most people associate luxury not so much with opulence as with Bauhaus-like simplicity and more or less classic design items. They dream of a carefree and comfortable lifestyle that cultivates understatement rather than grand gestures. And yet, beyond this aesthetically and socially defined convention, another luxury category has established itself as well: the new breed of elegance.
The more the market segments drift apart, the more this new elegance grows. In the interiors sector, the huge difference between the segments doesn’t just mean good times for cheap furniture that’s only intended to last a few years, it also boosts the market for high-end furniture that satisfies a growing need for differentiation as compared to classic luxury. Whilst top-quality product lines with traditional, norm-oriented design concepts are increasingly having to fight for the market shares that once seemed so safe, there is a boom in furniture and home accessories for an exclusive lifestyle that expresses itself in unusual design, sophistication and exceptionally high-quality materials and workmanship.
Classic luxury brands are expanding their portfolios accordingly – and that even goes for brands that have had little or nothing to do with the interiors sector up until now. They come from the worlds of fashion, jewellery or automobiles. Bentley is one such brand that is offering a Home Collection, and Fendi and Trussardi have launched Casa lines as well. At the next international interiors show imm cologne in January 2015, the Pure segment will be expanding into Hall 10.1 so as to create more space for the growing luxury and comfort segment. The trend is clear: in future, a little bit more is absolutely fine.
Whereas the sector’s classic luxury brands like Italy’s Cassina and Minotti or Switzerland’s De Sede tend to count on minimalistic or at least clear-cut and timeless design, prestige brands exhibit a penchant for the unusual, for the special. And not just at visual level.
For these brands, elaborate, artisanal-quality workmanship is a USP. Hand-sewn backstitched seams, sometimes even signed by the seamstress, unusual finishing techniques for upholstery and leather or veneer work that bears all the hallmarks of true craftsmanship are details that connoisseurs are happy to pay for if it means getting a piece of furniture with the character of a one-off. The details also demonstrate the quality of materials such as fine paints and woods, exquisite fabrics and premium leather.
Aesthetically, this style does not pin itself down to a classic design tradition. Instead, it seeks its own, eclectic form of expression. Accordingly, the forms, materials and colours used are both sumptuous and allusive. It is the sum of flamboyant shapes, elegant materials and richly detailed workmanship that constitutes the real opulence of these luxury product lines.