5 Top Trends From Denfair 2019, Melbourne's Modern Design Fair
Viva visits Denfair in Melbourne to uncover the latest interior design trends, including those from a customised furniture leader new to the New Zealand market
Smart sofas that recline at the touch of a hand, desks that have built-in lights and invisible charging capacity and outdoor furniture made from high-tech recycled plastic materials were some of the insightful design developments on show at this winter’s Denfair in Melbourne.
This modern design fair, now in its fifth year, draws interior designers, architects, stylists and interior buffs, to see hundreds of well chosen local and international design brands.
Today, the show is bustling with the cool crowd. Its vibe is colourful and engaging, and at the centre of the vast show space, in the South Wharf district sits the stand of King Living — stalwarts of Australian modular sofa design in durable form and customised formats, upholstered in fine leathers and natural textured linens.
The Sydney-based business, formed 40 years ago by David and Gwendoline King, has since transformed into an internationally renowned brand with showrooms all over the world, including its first New Zealand branch in Parnell. As pioneers in touch technology, to ensure seating easily “fits” both short and tall people, the King team’s insights are a good guide to what discerning customers are looking for.
“Demands for comfort have heightened, as well as design-savvy concerns,” says their long-time and award-winning designer Charles Wilson. “Twenty years ago there were no comfy sofas that were also designer luxe,” he says.
Among the fair’s key themes were:
1. Natural materials, particularly wood, rich in grain and in hues from honey to darker tones, while ash and whitewash finishes were conspicuously absent.
2. Curvaceous lines reminiscent of 1960s designs popped up everywhere, in sofas, chairs and sculptural outdoor seating.
3. Recycled materials proved popular, especially recycled plastics that were reincarnated in marbled-looking, multi-hued hooks and pulls.
4. Rattan reigned in terms of texture and appeared on bed frames, consoles, dressing tables and side tables.
5. Multi-tasking items — like a lamp, bookshelf and side table combined into one refined product — are destined to be hits with space-saving apartment dwellers. Another example is a genius outdoor 1960s-style mushroom light that also serves as a heater and a Bluetooth speaker.
From the King team, attention-getting designs included Charles’ Luna chair — a mod scoop chair with fine steel legs with a form suited to fit into any style space. An outdoor fabrication option is backed by a 10-year outdoor steel frame.
Tom Fereday’s ETO desk is another drawcard, with this youthful designer responding to the needs of those living and working at home. His oval-profile desk with an aluminium frame and black oak veneer top is said to be the first in the world to offer interchangeable lighting and wireless charging accessories.
The fine adjustable light arm can be plugged into any leg junction, and concealed power and cable management get rid of cord clutter. Balancing this with a sleek design was challenging says Tom, who collaborated with King Living’s team of product designers for many months to get the desk working and looking slick.
Product designer Alinta Lim worked with renowned landscape designer Jamie Drury before joining the King Living team to spearhead the company’s new outdoor furniture range. Featured at the fair was the new Quay Dining Chair, a lightweight scoop chair with what appear to be rope-like sides and back.
“It’s actually made from recycled plastic materials,” says Alinta, “and that makes the chair very water resistant and it also has mould-resistant properties,” she adds.
With its steel frame, it can be used indoors and out.
Beautiful forms, functionality and fabulousness were all evident at the fair, with sustainability much talked about.
As Charles Wilson puts it: “If we design products that get better with age, we are doing our part.”