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Where interior design trends predictions meet FT analysis

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Metal console table and mirror
I’m not one to prognosticate future trends and what each of you would want to see in your homes. But with cheap Chinese steel flooding into the global market, I can guarantee that designers in all industries will zealously focus on new opportunities to use steel in their products. The scale of applications in the interior design sphere is astonishing.
By default, most of us would think of a plush, deep pile texture when we are asked to describe a luxurious carpet. Not any more. Spanish manufacturer, Naturtex, has produced a range which incorporates a combination of polished stainless steel and paper in the weave. The result is both breathtaking and wholly unpredictable. At first sight you see a metallic sheen that has a life of its own, moving with you and reflecting playfully the lights around it. The inclusion of steel makes the carpet practically indestructible, while the paper adds bounce and softness underfoot. If you just want a statement piece, you can make it into a rug by binding it with leather borders. I have used a similar approach to create a stunning bespoke stair carpet.
The strength and resilience of metals does not restrict their use solely to products with high performance requirements. High tech engineering has brought together different worlds resulting in a transformation of fabrics for soft furnishings. The latest designs coruscate like diamonds in candlelight.
Zoffany has created this effect, not by covering a surface print with sliver of paints, but by interweaving real metal with fabric, launching a new generation of soft furnishings. The Italian company “So near so far” has gone further by weaving together copper thread and wool, producing an abstract and fluid interaction between shiny copper and matt wool in organic forms. These intriguing coverings are best suited to upholstery and have launched a new era in the interior design.
The abundance of steel and its relatively low cost have also increased its attractiveness to furniture designers. We are moving away from its use as an occasional embellishment and now find complete console tables manufactured exclusively in metal. More than simply a substitution of construction materials, some of these new pieces can be considered works of art. British furniture maker, Jake Phipps, creates magnificent pieces with intricate patterns making the metal resemble delicate lace.
As Confucius once said, “Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it”. Thanks to our cutting edge designers, we can enjoy ordinary materials used in extraordinary ways.