Spring Market 2015: Blinding me with Science

The predominant trends at High Point Market this spring?  It’s element-ary, my dear design sleuths. Now that geeks are cool again, the furniture market is embracing a new scientific slant when it comes to design. The buzzword was “Deconstructed Geometry,” and it showed up in the form of molecular structures, faceted shapes, and a bevy of metal, stone, and nature-inspired finishes. 

Let’s start with FINISHES: Mixed metals were in high gear.  High Point Market is always a treasure trove, but it hasn’t been this rich with GOLD in decades. That embarrassing brass crap you finally dragged out of your attic and threw in the trash?  Yeah, I saw it at Market.  Chrome –usually mixed with reclaimed woods– made a strong showing, while copper made a more timid debut.  Wood finishes continue to shift lighter, grayer, and grainier, with raw, waxed, and reclaimed woods in nearly every showroom. Midcentury modern’s warm walnut tones were a notable exception. Exotic accents of shagreen (faux sharkskin), acrylic, marble, bright and bold lacquers, animal skins, and even humble concrete and rope are all mingling in the spotlight. Remember, using a combination of “high” and “low” textures will keep spaces interesting.

COLOR and PATTERN were generally less impactful than texture and finishes this market. Gray is holding strong as the reigning neutral (and it wears its gold crown beautifully!); showrooms embraced deeper background colors of gray, black, and navy to let the lighter tones of linen, taupe, and metals shine. Blue is still the ‘winning’ hue of the day, but blue and teal tones grew a little deeper and murkier in anticipation of the overall color forecast. Need more spring in your step? Never fear, there were still plenty of accents in saturated jewel tones and soft florals (yep, peach, rose, and mauve will be wooing you before you know it!).  By fall we’ll be stewing in natural spice tones. Global Views– always a favorite indicator of color trends–showcased its new celadon green and cinnabar scheme, kept in check with plenty of ivory. Black and white works with everything, and zebra was everywhere to prove it. Asian influences and “deconstructed” geometric and organic forms like animal-inspired dots, fish scales, retro angular graphics, and clover motifs sprouted up in accessories, pillows, wallpaper, and rugs. Tufting, leather, and nailhead details jazzed up the otherwise neutral standard for upholstery.  

While incredible lighting was everywhere at High Point, I was also a bit star-struck on this visit.  I was lucky enough to attend two seminars that brought together some of the hottest, brightest design and fashion icons. Southern Living editor Zoe Gowen hosted a “Gracious Panel” with Barry Dixon, Meg Braff, Paige Sumblin Schnell, and Angie Hranowsky (who I’ve been stalking ever since I wrangled her as a guest speaker for my students at The Art Institute in Charleston). Sunday morning’s WithIt event presented an opportunity to meet with the talented Kelly Wearstler.  Monday, friend and fellow Charlotte designer Melissa Lee of New South Design and I spotted Carson Kressley at Bernhardt…just before he got swarmed by this gaggle of fans.  Here’s a glimpse…  

By the way, most of these pieces won’t be available for a few months, but if there’s anything you need to pull off your own ‘science experiment’ at home, let me know!  Cheers,


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