Looking to the past: The RETRO trend.

Accelerating from the 50’s, industry has been in a race to find more economical ways to produce higher volumes of goods, leading up to where we are now which is seeing most items coming off huge production lines in China. This has given the world well priced items readily available with a variety of choices; it has however created negative and far reaching circumstances on the environment as well as other countries’ economies and sustainable manufacture. 


Countries which once took global pride in their hand carved furniture, beautiful fine fabrics and intricate marquetry have seen these industries, which in many cases have been handed down for generations diminish in size if in existance at all. The east has perfected cheap replication and the masses have lapped this up due to the affordabillity. The unfortunate truth is that this has had a dramatic effct on design and craftsmanship as a whole, but like everything, for every action there is a reaction, and although we have come to realise (thanks to the recession) that we need to look after our own industry and heritage, we have also come to see what true quality is and the grattitude this brings. 


Globally we have seen this take shape in the food industry, with the focus on organically grown produce as well fair trade practices, we see this in music too as vinyl makes an international comeback with even the youth appreciating the tactile and sound quality this has over MP3 downloads. This medium will never replace CD or digital downloads, but it will continue to grow offering a true choice for the more discerning audiophile. In recent years we have seen revivals of the Mini, the beetle and the Vespa with Paul Smith revisting the Mod styling of the 60’s in his clothing. Even kids toys are taking on a retro feel, with parents realizing that video games do not provide all the necessary stimulation. It is only natural that this would start to take shape within the furniture and interior design industries too.


Interior trends for the next couple of years show a strong retro influence, but it seems that this goes a little deeper than us merely appreciating the styling. We seem to have a deeper nostalgic appreciation of these articles that were often crafted and what they stood for. We begin to once again start seeing the home as a retreat from our over busy techno-driven lives. Consumers will however not suddenly give up the latest technology but continue to embrace it as this is the way forward, we will not be productive in this fast paced world without our new mobile devices and our all in one smart phones, but we will see this combined with a newly adopted “old school” philosophy; a breakaway from mass production.


Consumers have become wiser to what they are buying on the furniture front and now realise the differences between solid wood, veneers and the foil veneers which flooded the market over the past 10 years. Having bought these items we have seen how they were merely short lived fashion statements with no real longevity or true aesthetic appeal. The appreciation of having the real article as opposed to the faux option is alive and well, manufactured perfection is being replaced by the imperfections of natural materials. Craftsmanship tells its own story, with every piece having its own uniqueness creating a sense of value that no product coming off a production line can. Designers too are looking to the past for inspiration and we see age old techniques being introduced into furniture, product and even ceramic designs. 


No one specific style rules supreme in the years to come but rather an eclectic personalized style, that becomes the leading trend. We will see a mixture of styles within a single interior, combining both hi-tech elements with antique and crafted pieces. We will see the state of the art touch screen TV sitting on an antique armoire against earthy coloured walls with a combination of sofas of different styles. Wall art too will vary, with combinations of photographs and prints and paintings, retro posters and prints are also seeing a re-emergence with a new appreciation for typography and the process in which this prints were made.


Object D’Art also reflects a sense of the hand crafted and everything from old leather rugby balls to deco inspired figurines, combined with Alessi contemporary design will find their way into our homes, it’s all about the the bond we share with these artifacts more than just their design aspects but the memories or feelings they evoke create the importance. In this fast paced globalised village that we live in, we are losing our identities as individuals, communities and cultures and with all the positives that technology has created by connecting us in real time the downfalls are immense. More than ever we appreciate and long for the products and activities of the past and the effects of these in everything around us will become more and more prevalent in the years ahead. This trend will continue to evolve and will see the bringing together of fast paced technology and the simplicity of the past.


DesignMind is an on-line market place for South Africans to find inspiring home building and decorating ideas and the suppliers best able to make home improvement dreams a reality.

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