The Global Lens – Materials and Surface Design

By Patti Carpenter, AmericasMart Global Trend Ambassador

Patti CarpenterProducts draw me in. Each exerts a power and pull over me. This innate power is one of the ways I determine the quality of the things I am regarding. I enjoy touching and engaging with all manner of products. I often have to restrain myself, even in galleries and museums from reaching out to touch that powerful energy. Perhaps this strong instinct comes from my years in product development, so with this caveat, let’s now focus on the concepts and trends influencing the categories of materials, print, pattern and surface design.

As members of the global community we grasp the importance of our collective impact as we focus on our connectedness to the earth and to each other. This focus means that round forms and circular inspirations bubble to the fore and figure prominently for the season, showing themselves as dots, circles and perforations. We honor the ability and artistry applied to the fragile quality of fine porcelain. We see ourselves reflected in the high shine and polished surfaces of metals mirroring carefree times gone by, and maybe even, dare I say it, those decadent disco days!

Exaggerations in texture, in conjunction with interesting and intricate tactile compositions, create new constructions and fabrications. These new materials embody our desire to interface and beckon us to engage with products in a more intimate way. The artisans’ hands or the creative use of technology inspires me, and I want to reach out and touch or be touched by supple, structured surfaces.

Here are some teasing touches calling for my caress this season.

Materials: Whether touched by the hands of master craftspeople or forged by technology, the newest textiles and substrates encourage a new kind of product interaction.

  • Textures – Structured, substantial surfaces engage us to touch, as they are tactile and  tangibleTactile Textures
  • Metallics – Gold, Silver and newest Copper or Rose Gold, mine these metals, retro and reflective, and cast them in major rolesGolden MomentsSilver ShinesCoper Tones
  • Porcelain – Fine, fragile and white by design, the delicacy and artistry spark new interest in this age-old mediumPrecious Porcelain

Print/Pattern/Surface Design: Surface design exploration creates a contemporary visual
conversation and offers up engaging new intricacies and aesthetics

  • Small Graphic Geos and Repeats – small-scale prints and jacquards are big on styleTip The Scale
  • Perforations, Circles and Dots – the circle is the shape of the season, punched, printed or woven Circle Back
  • Organic Edging – whether created by the hand of the artist, skilled technical craftsmanship, or the whim of nature, each is uniqueOrganic Rims

Till the next time, let’s continue the creative conversation and let me know what’s touching you.


See these trends and more at the Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings & Holiday Market®, March 2-4, 2016.


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