By Tine Mouritsen
I actually think that the old English proverb ‘A man’s home is his castle’ applies equally well to us here in Denmark. Much of the Danish way of life centers around the home, which, of course, may also be due to the cold weather outside! We create spaces – cozy spaces, personal spaces, functional spaces – where the home becomes part of our character and personal identity in a way. We invite people into our homes, so this private realm is part of the story we tell about ourselves and display to others. We spend a lot of money on our home as we spend so much time in it; whereas in Southern Europe, people tend to live life outdoors, because of the sun and warm climate, and instead of investing in the home, they prefer to invest in nice cars, expensive clothes and eating out.
Trends or tendencies in interior design change often – not as often as the fashion industry, but almost! – and seemingly at ever increasing speed each year. I actually take a lot of inspiration from fashion because they are always one-two years’ ahead when it comes to colour, tactility and courage. So when looking at the fashion trendsetters, you more or less know what is going to come regarding colours and materials in the next couple of seasons.
I believe in trends, mega trends and tendencies. I use trends and fashion directly in some of my projects – I believe each trend follows a circular motion and there is always a reaction or a backlash to the trends from the past. I keep myself updated on the latest trends through attending fairs, trend seminars and fashion catwalks; for instance, I can tell you that blue is and will be a great colour here in 2015 – blue in many tones, shades and tone on tone, including the dusty blue tones, clear and mixed shades.
I get my inspiration from many places: from sketching ideas over and over again, from moving around in nature, from magazines, by attending trend seminars, fairs, etc. but inspiration can also come at night or during a coffee break or even during playtime with my kid. It’s not something you can predict or force. Somebody once told me that ‘it’s in the break you get good’. I think that’s true in some ways, because you can really get stuck on an idea or a project if you don’t remember to take a break and empty your brain – do other stuff, take two steps back and then when you return to it, you can see it with fresh eyes or from another angle.
Trends change, as reflected also in furniture and interiors, but they also tend to circle, so my estimation is that we will soon see a counter re-action to the financial crisis and the ultra ascetic and withdrawn lifestyle it has induced. I hope that we will soon see more experimentation and new materials unfolding; indeed, I can already sense these new trends with some of my colleagues in the business.
Also, we always have mega trends that run for longer periods of time, e.g. ’less is more’ or the Scandinavian ’Danish Modern’ trend, in which function and the simple, natural material choice is clearly shown. And then we have the less quick and more changeable trends, such as seasonal colours and material trends, for instance copper, brass and marble that have been running for a few seasons now.
It’s no secret that I love colour and think that we can or should dare to use more colour in Denmark – as Verner Panton once said, ‘one sits more comfortably on a colour that one likes’. The same is true about a room – you feel better, you feel more secure, creative, industrious and you act more in a space where the colours, materials, contrasts and tactility help define the space. It is important to make rooms that are not blurred, which are defined and which embrace the people in them. A room doesn’t come to life unless it is inhabited.
In my own work, I often have clients that need help finding out which colour, mood or material they like or need. Therefore, I make mood boards for my clients at the beginning of a project. This can be simple mood boards, e.g. on a word they said, a colour – because white is not just white –, to me it might be white in a minimalistic way and to you it can be ‘white and worn’ (‘hvidt og slidt’). And to make the dialogue easier, mood boards are good. The mood boards may also be based on a feeling, or a combination for a colour together with the look and feel in both print and real time fabrics and materials. For instance, I had a project where blue tones were important, as was the word cave, with cracks of light as our keyword – so to make sure that we were ‘talking the same language, about the same color and ‘cave’’ so to say, I found inspirational photos and made a mood board – in effect, a collage.
In closing, I would like to talk a bit about my next big project, where design, colour and trends play a big part, namely, the design of Danish Livingroom 2015. Here, the Embassy and twenty Danish Design Brands join together. Through our stand design, I want to show the whole way of Danish living – not only our living room, as in our sitting room, but the entire Danish lifestyle. The kitchen dining area is a substantial factor for us, and in many households, the most important focal point for our family and home life, and it has been for almost twenty years now. So I wrote out ideas in words and made mood boards, colour schemes, and 2D and 3D sketches, and these made the dialogue better and faster, and easier to say yes or no to. The DNA of the project and the story then became much clearer.