2007 Product Trends

The Metropolis staff points out noteworthy themes occurring in today’s product design.

Against the Grain
By Belinda Lanks
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No longer just decoration for station wagons and rec-room walls, the distinctive patterns of wood grain are now being applied in increasingly imaginative ways to an ever greater variety of objects and furnishings. Whether it’s a calculator tastefully encased in Japanese cedar, carpeting printed with the swirls of dark elm, or a restaurant ­seemingly saturated in cherrywood, the effect is unmistakable: the evocation of nature in a world of man-made design.

White on White
By Kristi Cameron
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The flood of texture and pattern that has suffused the design scene over the past few years has begun to recede. In its place we are seeing not the austere minimalism that preceded it, but a rich restraint. The color white is being layered to luxurious effect: snowy furniture fills pale spaces, alabaster motifs decorate creamy backgrounds, and products are assembled entirely from one bleached shade.

Multicolored Translucency
By Michael Silverberg
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From buildings to bookcases, designers are using translucent kaleidoscopic shades to create a new strain of decorative exuberance that is also ­surprisingly minimalist. The vivid tints can be separated into uncluttered blocks or allowed to blend and bleed—either way they provide a playful yet restrained mix of light and color.

Garden Laboratory
By Mason Currey
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Green design is increasingly becoming mainstream practice for workplace and residential interiors, with energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and natural light all key considerations. But a few designers are taking this approach to unorthodox new extremes, greening the home and office with products suggestive of science fiction, including biophilic pods, a domestic breathing machine, and a “kitchen of terrestrial mechanics” that contains real live worms. It’s a brave new world indeed.

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