Ambiente, one of the world’s most important consumer goods trade fairs, takes place every February in Frankfurt. The fair boasts a globally unrivalled range of products in the Dining, Giving and Living areas. Discern visited the fair this year to learn more about the market’s newest products, inspiring ideas and the latest trends.
A key trend this year was that of artisanal gardening – bringing the best of nature indoors while extending specific décor elements from the home to outdoor spaces like gardens, balconies and patios. The trend seemed to speak specifically to city dwellers, urging them to reconnect with nature and as a result, motivate them to think green. This trend was seen through floral motifs and natural materials in gorgeous colour palettes, inspired by late summer gardens in Europe.
Trend Watch: A revival of patchwork, macramé and applique are expected.
Futuristic ‘Home’ Couture
We live in a digital world in which technology is inspiring all aspects of our lives, from the runways to now the home. The use of hypermodern materials in couture that creates sci-fi-esque looks is now impacting interior design. The advent of 3D printing is making unusual products accessible. To quote Ambiente Trends 2016, “a discerning flirtation with the artificial, fake and stylistic…. leads to a world of surreal valuables (products).”
Trend Watch: A greater use of materials such as neoprene, plexiglas and rhinestone which make products decorative but recyclable at the same time.
The essence of this theme seemed to be: utilitarianism can be beautiful. The focus of this trend was on simplicity, functional forms and master workmanship. The durability and efficiency of materials such as glass, stainless steel, marble, concrete and rubber used in sports and architecture, referenced usability and desirability at the same time. The focus was on only what is essential, and a departure from clutter.
Trend Watch: Products for the home that are useful and durable while being desirable at the same time.
An emerging trend for 2016 was that of individual expression. Younger generations today are hell-bent on expressing their own personalities in every way – be it their clothing, their culinary choices, or their homes. This is leading to a movement of “Street Style,” characterised by powerful colours from the ‘80s with opposing elements melding together to create eclectic trends from unconventional combinations. Examples included textiles with artificial fur and gleaming metal; reptile embossing; animal prints and fuzzy jacquards – all design elements that we will surely be seeing a lot more of.
Trend Watch: Design is at its creative pinnacle with extraordinary textiles and utterly unique combinations best representing personal tastes.
Cool Products that we Loved
La Dolce Vita- Spotlight on Italy
Curated by celebrity designer Paola Navone, La Dolce Vita showcased a wide range of products from Italy’s rich artisanal tradition, realised in a contemporary setting. Showcased below are some glimpses from this exhibit at Ambiente 2016.
World’s Most Viral Pillow- Aviva’s Mermaid Sequin Pillow
A fascinating collaboration between Eightmood, a Swedish brand making modern interior design available to everyone, and Aviva, a home lifestyle brand from the United States, resulted in the Mermaid Sequin Pillow. Exciting for both adults and children alike, the pillow allows you to draw anything you like on it with your fingers, wipe it off and redo it!
Yohann– The Different iPad Stand
Founder & CEO of Sillber Ltd,.Berend Frenzel, became a big fan of the iPad’s minimalist design and its mobility but missed having a comfortable stand to prop it on when using the device in fixed locations like at home or in his office. Being an architect, Frenzel was inspired to build a stand that felt like a piece of furniture, but still had a high aesthetic value, while achieving the functionality required for a versatile iPad stand.
After a series of structural computations and prototypes, Frenzel decided to use fine materials in a sustainable way. He collaborated with specialised manufacturers, mixing new technologies and traditional craftsmanship, to create this unique product.
Yohann is manufactured in Europe: more specifically, the lacquer version is made in Germany and the wood version comes from Italy. The name ‘Yohann’ makes reference to the district in Basel called St. Johann, where Frenzel’s company is located, and where Yohann was developed. Also in Switzerland, the name Yohann traditionally stands for an appreciated and modest butler who is always at someone’s service, which is the objective of this product.
Frenzel used Crowdfunding to finance parts of the tooling and setup of the production processes.His crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter.com in the Autumn of 2014 helped to raise the amount he needed in less than five days, with an oversubscription of 275%! As a result, more than 1100 products were shipped to backers from all over the world.
We love the functionality of the product that can even lay on soft surfaces such as your bed or sofa without tipping over, as well as its impeccable finish, with every detail well thought out. Though not inexpensive, we highly recommend you try either the lacquer-finished polymer version or the pure wood version, depending on your personal style and budget.
Available at Yohann.com
RCR Cristalleria Italiana
RCR is a brand known for its functional, practical and trendy collections of glassware for everyday use. The brand's designs are a combination of tradition and trendiness. The collection’s products are made from LUXION®, an innovative, transparent, brilliant and durable internationally-patented material created in their own laboratories. At Ambiente, the company suggested using special glasses before viewing their collection of glassware since Luxion is so incredibly bright that it could cause permanent damage to your eyes!
Hmisoptits are all about smiles and a surplus of energy! The design company Hoptimist has a long tradition of creating joyful and beautifully created Danish design products. The Hoptimist figurines, originally created by Gustav Ehrenreich in 1968, are all about making people smile, infusing life, and giving people the urge to do something new. Popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Hoptimists are now enjoying a rebirth and are being embraced even by the younger generations who were not previously familiar with the history of the brand. Hoptmists have a spring mechanism that allows them to be still but also to come to life with movement; this is what people find to generate fun and joy. All the production is done in Denmark, staying true to the Danish design and quality behind the product.
An interesting find in the Talents Showcase section at Ambiente 2016 was upcoming Scottish product designer, Kathleen Reilly. Her range of innovative products explored expectations of the contemporary dining practice in which she designed a line of intriguing and conceptually subversive tableware.
As Kathleen puts it, “my designs are playful and conceptual; the focus of this line was on enhancing the users’ experiences.” Reilly currently works as Artist in Residence at Kolding Design School in Denmark.
Here are some of her innovative takes on quotidian products, that will help update the everyday dining experience: