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Seminar reveals latest trends in houseware design

The concept of wellness will increasingly be incorporated into houseware and home designs, a leading trend analyst from WGSN, the global authority in the consumer market analytics, told the audience at a seminar on 20 April (Saturday). The talk was organised as part of the 34th HKTDC Hong Kong Houseware Fair and 10th HKTDC Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, both organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

Charlie Clark, WGSN Mindset Trends Specialist and the seminar's guest speaker, looked at the design concepts, colours and macro directions that will define homeware collections for spring/summer 2020. She explained how "sensorial wellness" - embracing wellness in living as well as mental and physical health - is increasingly at the forefront of consumers' minds and will become a theme in upcoming houseware designs. There will be a greater emphasis on the way textures and colours are used to affect our mood, and how the arrangements of spaces and products can make us feel energised or calm.

Ms Clark highlighted four design trends - "Primitive Future," "Hyper Room," "Playful Plush" and "Harmony Lab" - that have emerged out of this wellness theme. Corresponding zones were set up at this year's Houseware Fair so that visitors could experience how these concepts can be applied to product designs.

Primitive Future
Ms Clark said the Primitive Future trend looks for "sensorial simplicity" in a blend of high-tech and organic lifestyles. These products embrace a back-to-basic minimalist aesthetic with strong textures such as rough and porous surfaces that emphasise integration, imperfection and balance. Presented in warm and earthy shades and soft and perhaps dusty textures, these products show a primitive tactility that invite them to be touched, or stacked like piled stones.

Hyper Room
This trend underscores the sense of future, with a touch of mystery and even moodiness. Ms Clark said that light and the use of colour are essential here to have an impact on users' emotions. The design will present a delicate balance between high-tech and retro, using metallic and lighter colour tones such as light blue along with synthetic textures. Moreover, the design emphasis is on light, transparency and reflection; materials that can produce vibrant colours like coloured see-through panels will be sought after.

Playful Plush
This is a design direction that blends culture with global influences; a playful combination of colours and everyday objects. The result is a decorative style resembling a modern version of Art Deco. Designs in this category are a happy but sophisticated cultural mesh, using warm and rich colours that bring a natural feel such as an inky deep blue or blurry orange, with textures of natural fibres, wood and a touch of metal, and frequent use of colour patches and graphic or colour blocks. Playful Push space arrangements and products express brightness and vibrancy.

Harmony Lab
This trend puts the emphasis on wellness to explore a new relationship between humans and technology. Harmony Lab products highlight experience and quality, helping people to find calmness, restore balance and reconnect with nature. Products of this type mix new technologies with botanicals, suggesting a trust in science and love for nature at the same time. They focus on soft, clean colours - very soft pink or zingy lemon yellow - with a hint of green to bring out the nature motif. Textures that combine strength and softness such as frosted glass reflect this concept.

The Hong Kong Houseware Fair and the Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair ran from 20 to 23 April at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Some 2,500 exhibitors from 28 countries and regions were featured at the fairs to showcase the latest houseware and home textiles collections to global buyers. The two four-day fairs welcomed close to 47,000 buyers from 121 countries and regions.

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