Interested in Forecasting Design Trends for Interiors? Hurry they’re coming to an End …..

At this year’s Decor + Design Show the Scarlet Opus lead team provided several show features for visitors that centered around Trends. Future Design Trends for Interiors, a translation of Consumer desires into Retail outlet design, tours of 15 exhibiting companies with products that reflected elements of design trends for 2016 into 2017 and more.

As a part of our involvement with the show this year (which also incorporated the Australian International Furniture Fair) Victoria was invited by a ‘Business Journalist’ and DJ (Michael Williams) onto his show airing on national radio station ABC. In our experience, when a radio or TV show host asks for an interview to be pre-recorded, it’s usually so that they can edit it in such a way as to provide an entertainment factor, rather than a factual, fair or even interesting business report of a chosen subject.

During the interview Victoria was asked some great questions by Michael and yet he also made some ‘just for comic effect’ comments that could have been used to deride the subject of Trend Forecasting. To some, even me at times, it can be the butt of a few comical (some might say sarcastic) comments “where did you buy your crystal ball” hahahaha …… We have been expecting an edited version of this interview to follow the format of our previous experiences. Experiences I hasten to add that have been associated with ‘some’ instances where we have worked with the ‘consumer/public facing’ media. It is not something we have experienced when working with media in the ‘trade’.

Imagine our surprise and delight when discovering that in fact, Michael Williams & ABC Radio had aired a really good edition of the interview. One that allowed him to provide some of the humour that has made him so popular, and yet provide an interview for his listeners to tune into, on the subject of ‘Design Trends for Interiors’ that was informative and interesting. Anyone working in the field of Interior Design, Architecture or in the manufacture and retail of interior products that listened will have been not only entertained by a local DJ but encouraged to tune into his show again. We were!

Of course, you are justified in thinking that I am biased in my view; no-one looks forward to the prospect of colleagues, or their company being the subject of someone else’s humour or feeling their work is being ridiculed. But, this short posting is made with the sole intent of acknowledging the unbiased view and professionalism of one DJ/Journalist down in Melbourne, Australia called Michael Williams; he has somewhat restored our faith in the broadcasting media – Thank you Michael and ABC Radio of Australia.

It’s a 12 minute  covering stuff such as how do you get to be a Trend Forecaster; what’s the connection between fashion and interior trends; how does it help business and what does it give the consumer. It also touches on current trends perhaps leading to the ‘demise of Trend Forecasting’!

But as always the team at Scarlet Opus is most interested in what YOU think of the interview? I’d be delighted to hear your opinion and to answer any questions you may have after listening to it………………

Not clicked on a ‘Link’ to listen to Victoria’s interview yet? Do it here, do it now :-) …..


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Decor + Design Show 2015 Trend Tour

The Scarlet Opus team have travelled all the way to Melbourne Australia for the Decor + Design Show. We have been giving seminars and trend tours, providing visitors with information on the products we picked out that relate specifically to current and future trends. These products have specific relevance to our 2016 trends (outlined by Victoria in her seminar). For those of you who didn’t get chance to visit, here is a snap shot of some of the exhibitors included on the trend tour for our readers to enjoy.

Stephanie NG Design

Stephanie offers a range of lighting solutions for residential & commercial projects, as well as a custom design service. We love how Stephanie incorporates a sense of craft into her work, it has a very personal, handmade aesthetic whilst also retaining its functional edge. She uses a combination of color, form and texture to create her lights. These are named ‘Luna Lana’ and made from 100% Merino Wool. We see handcrafted knit products continue to strengthen internationally, even knitted ceramics! We feel that these light would look especially effective clustered together creating a striking feature in an interior setting.



Fiona McDonald created exquisite hand crafted porcelain bowls, vessels and lighting pieces which each are completely unique. These bowls are beautifully imperfect. No fuss, no frills, they are modest not boastful and visually quiet. Their uneven, hand-formed textured are pleasing to interact with, comforting to hold, and create a direct dialogue between the user and the maker.


MRD Homes

MRD are award-winning designers and manufacturers of homewares, furniture and lighting, supplying many of Australia’s leading furniture retailers and designers. Their exclusive trend-focused interior ranged are careful co-ordinated so that the pieces complement each other. this makes is easier from a merchandising perspective if you’re a retailer, and makes it a one-stop shop for Interior Designers. This colour palette relates specifically to our privacy trend, the reduced pastels have a unisex appeal, they are slightly infected with a grey tone. There is an industrial influence communicated via the use of grey, with concrete lighting and grey felt upholstery with a concrete aesthetic. There is a tactile softeness of faux furs as well as the visuals of softness represented by the muted blush, diffused corals, warm cosmetic tones and crisp mint greens.


Take your seat

This is a family company run by Suzanne. Whether you have a separate office in your home or work within an open plan space, these chairs are a fantastic addition to your working environment. Sometimes it’s not ideal to have a big black leather swivel chair in a home office but options are generally quite limited. These chairs on the other hand introduce something stylish rather than ugly. It relates to the emerging trend seen in commercial workplaces about making the office more homely. Through choice of furniture, layout and styling, this trend aims to encourage employees to be relaxed and their ‘true self’ rather than work versions of themselves.


Artista Style

We loved Rebecca’s paintings and illustrations. Her work focuses on coastal illustrations inspired by the vastness of ocean realms. Her sumptuous, submerged style connects beautifully with our 2016 Fantastical Nature trend relating to underwater influences that we expect to emerge. We have been talking for some time about the developing interest in water effects and intense blues. Expect gradient ombres, colour effects that merge or bleed into each other as well as Japanese Shibori dye techniques with Indigo blue being an important colour for 2016.


UTE Design

‘UTE’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘utilitarian’ or ‘utility’, which captures the focus of the company on simple functionality and refined design. The products are honest, simple modern, clever and well made. The ‘Lanna Garden Screen’ is a unique screening device for both indoor and outdoor use. It can be fixed to a wall or floor and the mesh base is filled with polished river pebbles which helps to anchor it if used as a privacy space divider. The product relates to the ‘urban farming’ phenomenon where the ‘grow your own’ movement continues to strengthen. It is driving more product developments that enable people to grow your own produce indoors as well as outdoors, it is particularly good for people with limited outdoor space. We’re also seeing a trend emerging for introducing living green features into our interiors, particular kitchen and dining areas. It essentially relates to the popularity of Green Walls or Vertical Gardens and Biophillic design. Therefore this product is a great way to introduce lush nature into interior schemes.


Bisque Interiors

Bisque Interiors are a wholesale company catering to retail shops and interior decorators. Bisque import their hand-selected products from around the world, as well as offering products that are designed in-house by Kathy and Ralph. The product we have picked relates specifically to our forecast for spring/summer 2017 – ‘the unstructured sofa’. We begin to see slouchy, unstructured seating shapes emerge. It is made from Linen and is a wonderful warm neutral tone, it is all about casual, laid back comfort; an ultra-informal approach to form and a care-free attitude to styling. Unpretentious and honest.


Uniqwa Furniture Imports

And last but not least Uniqwa Furniture Imports. This whole booth in many ways fits perfects with out Nature Luxe trend. It is filled with products that represent a laid back luxury inspired by nature’s treasures. Across their product range there is a respect for natural materials, a raw, grounding earthiness, the skill of handmade products, soothing, calming, pure colors with a sumptuous, luxurious element introduced via soft accessories. Charl, who founded the company, is originally from Cape Town and studied furniture design in Melbourne. He is a firm believer that outdoor furniture should be equally stylish and of equal quality to interior furniture. We are forecasting a strong shift in outdoor living (over the next 5 years) towards outdoor spaces being treated much more as multi-functional outdoor rooms that have a greater sense of permanence. It’s all about bringing the inside outside.


Other companies included Havwoods (Herringbone and Parquet collection) Adobe Furniture & Homewares (Chicago Range) Boyd Blue (Travertine Table) Sounds like Home (Roadie Mini bar) Deziner Panels (Reclaimed wooden panels) Globe West (Beehive Lights)

We would like to thank all of the exhibitors who were part of the tour and all of the visitors who gave up their time to come along. We hope you enjoyed it! If you need any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch –

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Decor + Design Melbourne 2015

The Scarlet Opus team have travelled all the way to Melbourne in Australia for the Decor + Design Show. This show is Australia’s premier Interior event, showcasing the latest interior products and furnishings from leading companies. We have an action packed week giving seminars and trend tours, providing visitors with information on products we picked that relate specifically to current and future trends. If you are attending the show over the next couple of days here is the seminar schedule, make sure you arrive early to get a seat.


Victoria had a stacked out audience for her seminar with many individuals eager to learn about future trends for 2016 and beyond. The trend boards are available to view and take pictures of in the champagne bar at the beginning of each trend tour. The retail and designer trend tour includes 15 products displayed around the exhibition that relate to the key 2016 trends. For those of you who didn’t manage to make the event, we will be posting a virtual trend tour of the exhibition on our blog next week!

IMG_0192Here is Victoria presenting the Trend Tour…


VIVID (Vibrant Visions in Design) is Australia’s longest running design competition which showcases some of the most dynamic emerging Australian designers. Our very own Victoria was asked to be part of the judging panel for the furniture category of the competition. The standard was exceptionally high and it was great to see some creative and innovative design concepts emerging in the world of interiors.


We would like to congratulate all of the winners and in particular Richard Greenacre for his Credenza furniture piece. Richard chose to look beyond traditional veneers and considered how a system of 3D tiles could conceal a surface. The Credenza is constructed from solid European Beech and fronts a textural armoured facade of hand cast acrylic tiles.


Here are five of my personal highlights from the show so far…

Bambambu Homewares

Bambambu is a 100% Australian eco cushion company based in Brisbane. Their cushions are designed, printed and manufactured locally using cutting edge technology onto ancient fibres. They are digitally printed using water based inks on the finest quality organic cotton and hemp fabric. These bright, bold shades and wonderful patterns take inspiration from many different areas including cultural influences as well as Japanese Shibori which also relates to our 2016 trends.


Rika Herbst Bohlokoa Studio

Bohlokoa Studio opened in September 2003 as a ceramic studio teaching ceramics to adults and children. It has work available at various galleries in South Africa and now proudly exhibits the wonderful pieces here at Decor + Design in Melbourne. I love the intricate detail of each porcelain art piece by Rika Herbst. Each has a crafted and handmade, dripping textural aesthetic but with an element of luxury displayed in the gold rim. The contrast between the back, white and gold porcelain bowl proved a popular favourite at the show.



Milk and Sugar

Milk and Sugar are a Melbourne based brand that aims to provide well designed, simple yet beautiful things for the home without the hefty price tag. I love the simplicity of shape and form within this collection. The muted pastels are injected with a grey tone making them unisex colors rather than feminine. The contrast between these block colors and the mono chrome prints create a modern and contemporary aesthetic that I would especially love to incorporate into a bedroom space.


Alexander Brown

I loved this amazing beaded sculptural piece by Alexander Brown. In addition to utilising discarded construction material, he has introduced semi-precious stones into current sculpture works. The Amethyst Textile sculpture blends precious stones and metals to create a jewelled textile which is a development of other sculptural textiles he has made using beads. This is a luxurious piece that works especially nice with our Nature Luxe trend.



Kirsten Jackson

Kirsten is a passionate Melbourne based professional artist who concentrates predominantly on abstraction. Her main motivation is to portray the inherent beauty and harmony that exists in the inter-relationship of color, composition and form. The process of her work involves building up layers of materials and textures. The initial layers are thin and fluid, inks and water-colors, as the paintings progress further she moves into thicker paints, acrylics, varnishes and glazes to achieve the end finalised piece. I chose to showcase Kirsten as I admire her use of color. It is dynamic, energetic but with a sense of harmony. The layering of color in relation to each other creates a visual delight for everyone to enjoy. Imagine this piece in a residential room scheme or hospitality project, it is a great way to introduce these daring brights into interior spaces.



A snap shot of our trend tour will be available to view on our blog after the show. For those of you who have attended our seminars and tours we hope you found them inspiring and enjoy the rest of your time at the Decor + Design Show!

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Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 Highlights

Last week I spent some time visiting Clerkenwell Design Week in London. This is a design festival where all creative business showrooms open their doors; with exhibitions and pop up events taking place throughout the area. The atmosphere is always buzzing with world wide creatives celebrating design. I have put together some of my ‘best bits’ for those of you who didn’t get chance to visit this year. From the Design Factory in the Farmiloe Building, Platform, Detail and Additions exhibitions.


1. Not Another Bill “The Gift that keeps on giving” – Not-Another-Bill aims to make your letter box a more magical place by introducing you to exclusive items from artists, designers and brands through a subscription each month. I love this concept and all of the unique gifts available, what a great way to collect ‘surprise’ designer products!

2. The Urban Botanist –  A stylish and contemporary way of displaying plants in your home living environment. This design concept allows you see house plants in a different way. Designer plants for the inspired city dweller wanting to enhance all aspects of living.

3. Helena Ambrósio – The pleated #02 series of the Porcelain Vase caught my eye. The beautiful petrol grey colour is subtle, modern and has a real fresh, contemporary feel.

4. Trend presentation by Sally Angharad sponsored by Tarkett – Our very own Sally presented Scarlet Opus Trends for 2016 and beyond at the Desso Studio. She explained what the driving forces are behind key colours, materials and interior styles.

5. Dome Studio –  I loved the playful colour contrast with geometric backdrop presented by Dome Studio. The A clock is a delicate form which takes inspiration from nature where the divisions serve a functional purpose whilst also highlighting the changing light conditions found throughout the day.

6. IIII – Unusual sculpured handmade chandeliers by Sarah Dehandschutter display a natural elegance that have a unique soft and streamlined character

7. Mutina tiles designed by Patricia Urquiola  ‘Tierras‘ at Domus – The new collection of geometric colour contrast tiles have a dual personality, combining the newest technological innovation with the concept of traditional, handmade productions. The warm earthy colour palette, with contemporary bright accents compliment as well as create striking contrast to suit individual styles.

8. Aleksandrina Rizova and Victoria Umansky – This collaboration of designers combine architecture with textiles. They create high quality products with an emphasis on surface texture, unusual design and luxurious materials.

This design festival gets better each year, we are already looking forward to 2016!

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Garden Trends: Bringing the indoors outdoors

Back in March I was asked for an interview by a journalist putting together a feature on domestic gardens for the Sainsbury’s Bank/Guardian co-hub.  They wanted a glimpse of possible changes 10 years into the future, specifically how the way we use our gardens in the UK might change.  I’d like to share that interview and our predictions with you here.  If you are a UK Home Builder; Interior Designer; Garden Landscaper; Outdoor Product Retailer, Manufacturer or Designer the following insights are essential reading.

ABOVE: Grid modular outdoor teak furniture from Gloster

Q1. As we shift increasingly towards thinking of our gardens as an ‘extra room’, are there shifts in the way we might think about them as a space – more or less decorative, for instance?

Victoria: Over the next decade we forecast a strong shift towards using our gardens in the UK much more as multi-functional outdoor rooms.  The trend for bringing the outside inside is well established, but for the future we advocate the concept of bringing the inside outside!

What will this mean?  Well firstly it will mean really comfortable, quality furniture and accessories, more usually associated with living room and dining area styles, being incorporated into outdoor room schemes.  And overall the look becomes more decorative, from lighting and outdoor rugs to stylish outdoor storage pieces akin to sideboards, it has a less temporary feel about it and a much more considered decorative style … the same level of decorative consideration we would give to our living rooms or bedrooms.  Of course adaptable covered areas that allow us to stay outside when the inevitable UK rain comes will also need to be incorporated into designs (climate change in the UK could simply mean hotter, wetter weather).  It’s about creating a sense of home in our gardens no matter where we live or how small the outdoor space is.

montage 2 gardens UK

ABOVE: 1. Stylish Frame chaise longue from Paola Lenti with a braided rope fixed cover, deep seat pad & cushions.  2. Outdoor Blue Hydrangeas Pillow by London-based Etsy seller Amanda Jane Dalby.  Amanda’s stunning photos are printed onto weather-resistant & fade-resistant polyester poplin fabric, which is then individually cut & sewn by hand to make the final double-sided cushions.  They are such a clever and simple way to add extra floral colour to an outdoor seating area (I have her White Hydrangea Pillows on my terrace!).  3. Alison Iroko Outdoor Furniture from Minotti’s new 2015 collection.  The squared-off, architectural lines and bold use of exotic Iroko Heartwood make this a quality outdoor furniture statement.

Victoria: We will also need to incorporate fast, effective heating solutions that enable us to relax, cook, eat, entertain and work in our gardens during any season, even when the weather is cooler.  Plus we predict a move away from ‘drag it out/store it away again’ barbeques and instead an investment in modular outdoor kitchen solutions, which allow the preparation of food to take place outdoors, as well as the actually cooking.


ABOVE: 1. The WWOO Outdoor Kitchen, created by designer Piet-Jan van den Kommer, is a virtually maintenance-free prep’ & cook area made up of personalised components, which are set along a modular wall, and can include a Big Green Egg, stainless steel sink, integrated steel fireplace, South African braai, rugged wood storage crates and olive-wood cutting boards. 2.This stunning outdoor kitchen was built by Australian-based company Brick and Stone Construction (contracted by Harrison Landscaping for a project in Mosman, on Sydney’s North Shore).  The kitchen includes a wood fired pizza oven, BBQ grill and sink. The splashback & bench top are hand cut & polished Bluestone, and the doors are made of Cedar.  3. This cleverly concealed outdoor kitchen was created for a home in Brighton (the one in Melbourne!) by Interior & Landscape Designer MR.MITCHELL.  The reclaimed Australian hardwood adds visual warmth and softens this otherwise minimalist, grey outdoor area.  4. This super stylish prep’ & cook area includes a Belgium-made traditional wood-burning open fireplace by metalfire.

Q2. What about using gardens as playspace, especially for children: do you think that is going to change (and if so, will that affect the look or feel, or indeed the equipment we keep in them)?

Victoria: Creating garden spaces that allow free, unstructured play for children is an increasingly important focus for many parents, as is enabling fun opportunities to exercise.  Purpose built, recreation park quality outdoor play features, from climbing walls to mini skatepark ramps, will provide children with secure spaces at home to play, practice skills and exercise.  This could lead to an increased demand for all-weather safety flooring, better outdoor lighting solutions and even products as simple as outdoor drinks dispensers.

An emphasis on discovery and learning associated with environmental awareness and food origin also drives a trend for dedicating space to mini allotments for children within the garden.  And therefore practical problem solving associated with this, like having outdoor hand washing facilities available for children to use, will also begin to be addressed.  


ABOVE: 1. An amazing home skate circuit in the garden that still looks great because it incorporates planting.  2. A home rock climbing wall out on the patio by Elevated Climbing Walls 3. Vegetables, salad & herbs grown in small, raised, colourful boxed beds/patches that are manageable for children to maintain and inexpensive to make.  4. A brilliantly simple, inexpensive but effective vertical garden solution for small children.

Q3. Will we have, overall, just less room in gardens?

Victoria: Population boom projections and mass migration to cities mean that smaller homes, and therefore smaller gardens, are very likely in the future for many places around the world.  Often in the UK we make the mistake of thinking about an outdoor area as a flat space, and that limits its potential.  We will need to be smarter about how we use the space in our gardens by creating multi-levels, buying multi-functional furniture or furniture that also incorporates storage space, as well as utilising wall space in creative ways, for example using wall space to create vertical gardens to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit or fold down desks that create a work desk outdoors in the sunshine!

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