From fashion to photography to furniture, recent years have seen a shift in the creative world's overarching palette from highly saturated primary colors to a soft range of light corals, sea foams, baby blues, pale yellows and pinks. Some tones lean toward a more shimmery, nacreous vibe that melds well with iridescent glass, while others are definitively matte pastels that serve as harmonious accents in a neutral setting. Whether designed to complement the ongoing copper inflation or in response to our apathetic high-tech world, below is an assortment of quietly colorful design wares that we spotted during Milan Design Week 2014.
With a set of steel sliding drawers sandwiching a pink marble top, Marco Guazzini's "Flamingo" console is a reflection of his research on movement. When the two drawers are pulled to opposite ends, Guazzini sees an "S" shape, reminding him of a flamingo's curved neck, which inspired both the name and color palette.
Modeled after a sine wave's regular tempo, the "Sine" clothing rack by young designers Kyuhyung Cho and Erik Olovsson keep clothes evenly spaced with its squiggly top rod and belts, scarves and small accessories organized thanks to three different styles of hangers.
Dutch couple Scholten & Baijings recreated their 2009 Tilt-Top Table (originally conceived with Mathieu Meijers) for Danish design shop Hay in the idiosyncratic colors the duo has become so known for—deep pastels and perfectly tinted neons. The top of the tri-legged table can be unlatched for easy storage.
For Wallpaper Handmade, two Prague studios teamed up for fantastic results. Designer Rony Plesl worked with Czech glassworks Verreum to create a range of silvered glass containers complete with a leather handle. Plesl is known for his talents designing with glass, and Verreum is equally recognized for their contemporary take on the traditional method of silvered glass-making, in which they use only high quality, pure silver to create the double-walled designs.
Czech designers Jan Plecháč and Henry Wielgus flawlessly married "the elegance of crystal with the rusticity of a wooden form clinched with iron nails" in "Moulds," a series of serene glass pendants with the LEDs inserted directly into the scorched oak mold. Designed for Lasvit, the display of overblown shapes in soft colors speak to the tradition of glassmaking in regard to the heat and energy involved in the process.
Dutch designer Roos Gomperts showcased an update on her "Foam & Glass" series, which she originally conceived in 2013 and exhibited during Dutch Design Week. She tells us the new series see an improvement in the design: the glass is now blown in molds instead of by hand and the coloring in the foam will last much longer. "For me it was important to show the structure of the foam, and the possibilities in shape with this material. And of course foam and glass fascinated me in combination because foam is often used to protect glass, and now it becomes part of it."
Arjan van Raadshooven and Anieke Branderhorst—the duo behind design label Vij5— worked with Mieke Meijer of NewspaperWood and designer Floris Hovers to create a new version of the Tabloid Table (part of a range of furniture and accessories they've been developing over the years). To achieve an element of color in their material created from newspapers, they used paper from variously hued dailies. The coffee table is made from Italy's pink La Gazetta dello Sport (and supported by Hovers' pink steel frame), while other pieces are made from Italia Oggi, Asharq Al-Awsat and the Financial Times.
Designed by Luca Nichetto in collaboration with Lera Moiseeva, Sucabaruca is a ceramic pour-over coffee set created for Canadian design shop Mjölk. The series of conical shapes includes a hand-engraved pot (or decanter) at the base, a large cone as the filter (which fits on top of the pot) and then three rounded cups. The set comes in a few colorways with the pastel set representing the characteristics of Japanese architecture.
Veteran designer Inga Sempé continues Hay's reign as leaders in subtly colorful home wares with Pinorama, a pinboard coming soon to the Danish design shop. The metal grid Pinorama comes in a range of colors, but the pastel rainbow turns this into what the Parisian designer calls "wall furniture" that is just as nice on its own or filled with keys, pictures, important papers or anything that needs pinning.
Textile designer Mae Engelgeer's "Yeah" rug integrates her signature aesthetic typically imbued in more traditional fabrics with Berber and Boucherouite style carpets. The multi-tone color-blocked rug is hand-knotted and produced in Nepal by Dutch rug manufacturer Marc Janssen, from 100% wool.
Les Volieres by Italian designer Cristina Celestino for Seletti brings an outdoor material inside. The grid wire storage units are crafted from iron rod and painted iron sheets, and feature adjustable glass shelves which reflect the objects resting on them.
Slovenian design students Dea Kaker and Eva Ferlan—who work under the label DeaEva—created "Pina," a collection of hand-turned wood vases and candleholders inspired by the dancer Pina Bausch. The pastels are balanced by strong geometry in the totem-like design for a contemporary take on an ancient form.
Studio WM, which is Design Academy Eindhoven grads Wendy Legro and Maarten Collignon, use their respective specializations to create ideal combinations of form an d function. Their lighting projects are as clever as they are visually pleasing, and their Lucent Mirrors are made with dichroic glass so that the translucence and appearance change depending on the source of illumination.
Product shots courtesy of respective studios, installation photos by Karen Day