WAPD In The News: WSJ Top Design Trends for 2021

In the Wall Street Journal’s round-up of the hottest design trends for 2021, Workshop/APD design director and senior associate Andrew Kline called out a profusion of fashion-forward fabrics. Why is bouclé finally getting its due?  Read on for Andrew’s takes on this and other trends shaping design in 2021.

Fashion Fabric– In fabrics, texture is in. Bouclé is everywhere- we have nowhere to go in our Chanel blazers, so now we’re translating that look to armchairs and sofas. It’s a versatile choice with great depth even in neutral colorways. Other fashion fabrics also bring a sense of glamour and fashion in a timeless way- think worsted wool, merino, and cashmere.

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Light metal

“For the past 5 years it’s felt like black metal was synonymous with ‘modern’ – but we’re seeing and using more white metal and satin nickel, a finish that I think has been overdue for a comeback,” Kline says.

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Textured Glass– Plain frosted glass feels like another material that has had its day- there are so many beautiful new textured glass options from fluted and rippled to bubbled and etched. These are things that feel less machined and more human- in these times we seem to be craving handmade things that have a level of care that brings warmth to spaces where we’re a bit isolated. In our own product development we’ve been playing with modernizing traditional decorative techniques in glass, too. Arteriors has some great examples in their lighting collections, and we’re excited to feature a modern take on a traditional glass technique with them in our upcoming collection.

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Warm Woods– Until recently, cerused and light oak were go-tos, but we’re looking at warmer, richer woods like teak and walnut now too. We’re definitely incorporating warmer woods in our hospitality projects to create a sense of being enveloped by the space- people want to feel cozy and cocooned.

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Color & Light– In color, some surprising color combinations have emerged- there’s a lot of dark forest green and rich Bordeaux red, but paired with more neutral, fleshy tones. I think this speaks to that same need to create a cocoon at home, so that when you shut down your laptop, and dim the lights, you’re no longer in your “office”. So many of the emerging trends speak to that duality – the home is a home but also your workplace.

To that end, we’re also seeing trends in light level and light temperature – where everything was light and bright before, there’s now a trend toward dimmer, warmer amber tones. This feels like a natural reaction to being blasted by screens, as an antidote to blue light.