Design Trends: the playful living

LivingScapes - Salone del Mobile.Milano Trend Lab

The pop and playful inclination cyclically involves design, in planning and aesthetic. In the current sociocultural situation, it is especially good to interpret the informal and hybrid spirit that living is assuming. The playful relationship with furniture, objects and spaces is not only an expressive trend but also a new way of living home.

In Kiev, for example, the architecture studio KI Design redeveloped a home of the early 1900s by introducing a "diversion": a slide is an alternative to the "canonical "scale; it descends from the top floor, crossing the kitchen and arriving in the living room. The element - resembling a work by the artist Carsten Höller - is meant to make the interaction with the spaces less dull and predictable and make home more than a place for rest, but also for fun.

This shows that people want to be always surprised and stimulated even in the familiar environment, with the more or less conscious aim of rediscovering the "lost" wonder of childhood. Architects and designers meet this need with ironic and funny proposals.

Furniture and accessories become games for adults, which bring joy and manage to get a smile with the adoption of soft and sinuous shapes and an unconventional use of color. Qeeboo, the brand created by Stefano Giovannoni, is an example of this trend. Its first collection involved the collaboration of designers such as Andrea Branzi, Front, Richard Hutten, Marcel Wanders and Nika Zupanc, as they are all committed to this unconventional design, with emotional and figurative creations. The symbol product of the collection is the Rabbit Chair, a rabbit-shaped seat. It is available for both adults and children and for different uses, to let fantasy run wild.

In this field, the range of child-friendly furnishings stands out too. For brands and businesses, in fact, this new segment is considered to be rich in design and expressive opportunities. This macro-trend has two major micro-trends: the Funny Living and the KiDesign.

Funny Living

At the center of this trend, which is synonymous with expressive research on the playful interaction with the home and the objects within it, there is a tendency to look at home routine with self-mockery and fun.

For example, Degré is not just an air conditioner but also a chair and a piece of furniture that resembles a playful trolley. Created by the designers Tim Defleur and Benjamin Helle, by the Belgian collective Accent, this multi-faceted object is an auxiliary heating/cooling system able to create a thermal bubble around who uses it and that, thanks to a leather handle, can be easily moved from one room to another, just like a domestic animal.

Nest, by the designer Paul Ketz, is a wall box to insert and “squeeze” the objects not only to store them but to expose them and having fun doing it. It is not only a wall unit; inside it, you can fit everything in a perfectly organized disorder.

Modern Family is the line of suspended lamps created by Plumen to add fun and color to children's rooms and their play spaces. The collection is the result of the collaboration with the Croatian designer Jagoda Jurisic. In her Berry Bright Factory, in Zagreb, she covers the lamp socket cables with sparkling handmade felt bunting. The decorated cables can also be twisted at will, to create different combination and meet space and style requirements. Moreover, the version Color Me Happy has an educational function because the flags in the secondary colors are arranged among those in the primary colors from which they are originated.

Uuio is a recently founded German design studio: they focus on the design of contemporary furnishings for children, characterized by high quality materials and craftsmanship. The design philosophy of the studio aims at showing that the design furniture for kids is not necessarily marked by playful details, but that it can become an integral part of family life, to meet the needs of adults too.

The most representative product of the collection is the bed VII, which is made of solid oak wood with contrasted wood slats that give headboard and footboard a slightly irregular appearance. Instead of slats, for the frame customizable and colored supporting elements can be used, so that the size of the bed can grow with the baby.