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Betsy Nathan’s 2020 Design Forecast

Every year, we turn to PAGODA RED founder Betsy Nathan for her interior design forecast. As always, she avoids trends in favor of timeless ideas that are nonetheless relevant to the moment we’re living in. Working closely with many different designers, she has both a broad view of the landscape and a specific knowledge of art and antiques. Here’s what’s inspiring her for the year ahead.

Natural Stone Landscapes

Houseplants and indoor gardens continue to appear everywhere, but we’re seeing more designers incorporate natural stone to create a layered indoor landscape. In the gallery, we planted steel boxes with ferns, moss and Taihu stones. These naturally eroded limestone rocks are frequently used in Asian gardens to represent mountains. Indoors, they evoke a grand sense of scale, even in a fairly small space.

Meditation stones are also popular with designers right now, since they ground a room and provide a calming natural focal point. For those who require more multi-purpose function, stone tables and drums work indoors or out.

A meditation garden with Taihu stones in the PAGODA RED gallery.

Deep Blues & Blacks

When Pantone announced Classic Blue as their 2020 color of the year, we immediately thought of blue and white. The combination is timeless, as masterful designers like Mark D. Sikes illustrate in their work. Yet lately, we’re also seeing dramatic uses of blue and black, like this gorgeous ombre living room by New York designer Tina Ramchandani.

“When it comes to color,” she says, “I typically introduce it in an all-encompassing way, using it as a tool to create a feeling, set the mood, or enhance a specific environment.”

Together, blue and black envelope the room in shadow, creating a smoky backdrop that makes white feel like a welcome palette cleanser.

Soho home designed by Tina Ramchandani. Photography by Jacob Snavely.

Gilded, Repaired & Repurposed Objects

Last year, we identified Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi) as a relevant design concept:

“This Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using lacquer mixed with precious metals feels so appropriate to our current time and place. Repair is celebrated, rather than thought of as something to disguise.”

This year, we’re expanding on those ideas to include studding and gilding. We released a collection of 19th-century objects adorned with brass tacks by Chicago artist Brian Stanziale of the bms. Brian explains:

“I love the idea of a piece being so important to you, that if it were to break, you would go through the trouble of repairing it. It’s not that far from what I do.”

Like kintsugi, Brian’s art embellishes everyday life. Studs adorn a shoemaker’s stool or a reclaimed joist table, transforming them into luxury objects.

A selection of objects by the bms.

Embracing Age

One of our favorite quotes this year came from Chicago designer Nora Schneider:

“People might worry that antiques are too fragile or precious to put in their home, but if something has lasted 100 years or more, it’s probably going to outlast all of your other things.”

The drastic changes currently happening in the world require us all to change the way we think about designing for the future. By embracing aged materials and antiques, we minimize waste while sustaining things that will last beyond our lifetime. Respecting the past, we help to preserve the future.

Antique blue and white bowls on a reclaimed wood table from PAGODA RED’s Provincial Collection.

Multipurpose Pieces

Our rooms no longer serve just one purpose. People who live, work and eat in the same space require furniture that can serve more than one role. As architect and designer Julie Fisher says:

It’s important to create “spaces that have lots of layers and discoveries to keep things fresh, even when you see it every day.”

Choose a dining table that can double as a desk, repurpose a stool as a side table, use a trunk as both storage and a surface, or strategically position dishes and containers wherever you need a catchall. With imagination, you don’t need to buy trendy new pieces with multiple functions. The simplicity of an antique might be endlessly versatile, while shiny new tech-friendly furniture can quickly become outdated.

This multi-purpose office is made from a PAGODA RED stone table, inkstone, bowl and bamboo brush pot.

Past Forecasts

Images courtesy of PAGODA RED unless otherwise noted.

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