Past and Future Perfect: The AD100 Weigh in on 2016’s Hottest Design Trends


Does the craze for all things mid-century modern show any sign of slowing down in 2016? According to Architectural Digest’s annual panel of experts—better known as the AD100—it’s time to temper our mid-century mania with a more eclectic approach. Elissa Cullman of Cullman & Kravis Inc., in New York is one of the AD100 who currently sees and hopes for more initiatives that embrace a wide variety of styles. As her fellow AD100 experts add—and they are among the design industry’s most reliable arbiters of trends and taste—that variety ranges from classic antiques from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries to a greater awareness of what 3D printing and digital printing are bringing to design.

Shawn Henderson, of Shawn Henderson Interior Design in New York predicts more intriguing pieces for home decorating will be constructed via 3D printing techniques. Locally, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design hosted an intriguing exhibition of digitally fabricated and 3D printed artwork last year that was at once whimsical and futuristic. At the University of Minnesota, the College of Design and the Digital Fabrication Lab (DigiFabLab) are graduating designers eager to take their innovations to market, from cake stands to toys to kitchen implements. We’re eager to see what they bring to market next.

Digital innovators and designers also fall into another camp: the local makers and DIY producers of home furnishings. Alexa Hampton of Mark Hampton LLC in New York looks forward to a greater array of digitally printed fabrics and other products innovated by digital innovators, makers and artisans. Greater collaboration among these creatives is the hope of Deborah Berke of Deborah Berke Partners in New York, especially involving “technologically advanced materials and assembly process.”

Conversely, Leroy Street Studio in New York sees a turn toward more “elemental materials and forms” in rebellion against technology. Sensuous, playful and irreverent are the studio’s watchwords. Local artisans Dutton Brown, with their retro-minimalist lighting designs, and Tom Oliphant’s sleek contemporary custom furniture fall into this camp.

Buying local is also a way to reflect your commitment to sustainability, as is ensuring the building products you order are sourced from local and/or sustainable producers—a perennial pursuit that Markham Robert of Markham Roberts, Inc., in New York reiterates. In other words, in the year ahead, according to the AD100, we’ll see a turn toward both the past and the future, with an emphasis on eclecticism that encompasses the artisan, sustainable and the repurposed.

When heeding the enthusiastic advice of Isabel López-Quesada of Isabel López-Quesada in Madrid—“Mix, mix, and mix!”—don’t forget shopping with a purpose, by haunting the plethora of antique and vintage shops for singular finds instead of buying new. As for displaying your finds, advises Jan Showers of Jan Showers & Associates Inc., in Dallas, with a background of creamy neutrals you can’t miss.

By Camille LeFevre
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