As we embark on a new year of superlative design, the famous “New Year, New Me” resolution presents a perfect opportunity for designers to try something unexpected, bold, and daring in their 2019 designs. For designers bursting with creative exuberance, they will find much inspiration and encouragement in this new maximalist design age where “more is more” is the guiding mantra. Conventional design rules and limits can be pushed aside in favor of unfettered creative expression. The ebb and flow of design trends have brought the “anything goes” approach to the forefront so why not give into the freedom and indulgence that maximalism affords.
The clean lines of minimalism will always have its place in interior design but the time is ripe for the design world to swing the other way. The lush layers and beguiling details of maximalism have been embraced by the greater design community after years in exile. On the “Last Look” page of their January issue, VOGUE magazine declared that the rise of maximalism in interior design is “spilling out…onto the runways” by featuring an intricate and brightly colored velvet Gucci bag they called “wearable décor” for its resemblance to a Persian rug.
Maximalism is a wide-ranging design sensibility rooted in creativity, decadence, passionate feelings, as well as fantasy. According to a British style blog called Fads, it is “a movement that’s typified by its richness, its abundance of embellishment and its excess of decoration…often punctuated with bright colours.“ Maximalist styles vary widely can include English country house, French Rococo, Tropical, African, Indian Moroccan, and every style in between that allows for “artistic clutter.” You can even regard the popularity of gallery walls to be a form of carefully organized maximalism.
Back in July, House Beautiful published a fascinating article about Maximalism and declared that “glamour and luxury are making their mainstream comeback.” The article also advises on the steps to take in order to start designing maximalist interiors: starting small, connecting the dots by linking pieces with colors or patterns, juxtaposing contrasting items, establishing a design theme, and staying true to your own design instincts.
START WITH WALLPAPER
Designers who want to embark on the maximalist journey will often struggle with where to start. A great way to begin throwing caution to the wind in your design work is to choose a bold, bright, or richly patterned wallpaper that will set the maximalist standards for the rest of the room. Floral, geometric, and even metallic patterns can be a stimulating backdrop to the layers of items, lighting, and even plants you can throw in. Lately oversized floral wallpaper, as seen in the image above, are very au courant in the interior design world
Design world luminaries who have had continued success in the realm of maximalism year after year include Kelly Wearstler with her unique and vibrant spin on luxury; Miles Redd with his signature flash and stylish gloss; Ken Fulk with his decadent and edgy glamour; and Patrick Mele with his vibrant and hip blend of modern and classic styles. Design legend Richard Keith Langham, who is considered a master of the English country house style, designs exquisite interiors that are “grounded in tradition but are enlivened with his fresh and imaginative approach.”
THE RETURN OF CHINTZ
The recent passing of the beloved “Prince of Chintz” Mario Buatta had many reflecting on his outsize influence on décor and how his signature fabric is now more popular than ever. No longer relegated to the English country style, chintz is chic again and style mavens and socialites such as Tory Burch, India Hicks, and Marjorie Gubelmann have notably incorporated chintz into their own luxury homes.
Mario Buatta would certainly bless the incredible chintz offerings in the Kravet family of brands. As seen in the images above, the Hollyhock pattern by Lee Jofa and the Les Faisans pattern by Brunschwig and Fils are so popular that Kravet has trouble keeping up with the demand.
DESIGN WITH YOUR HEART
On her blog, designer Jill Schwartz declared the maximalism is 2019’s prevailing force and shared, “This is your chance to fill your home with items and styles you love.” With this in mind, design with your heart and embrace the joie de vivre of throwing the design rules out the window. Take pleasure in mixing styles, patterns, texture, lighting, and bold color and maybe throw some classic European styles into the mix. Use your time-tested interior design skills to organize and manage the eclectic assortment of you just may gather into one space. Maximalism may not be for every designer or client but those who dare might find themselves on a path of creative abundance that will pay off for years to come.
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