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Trends for 2003 showcased at The Canadian Home Furnishings Market

Furniture World Magazine


The Canadian Home Furnishings Market, at the International Centre in Mississauga, near Toronto, Ontario, from January 11 to 14, 2003, will profile all the latest trends and new collections, consumers can catch at their local furniture stores next spring. Manufacturers are finding inspiration in the latest North American and European trends, creating a lifestyle that's deeply rooted in the way we live today, as major sociological shifts mould our needs and our definition of comfort. The trends seem to be clustered around three major themes in our society: the urban way of life, openness to the world, and the "armoured" cocoon, a term coined by marketing guru and futurologist Faith Popcorn. The inventor of the term "cocooning," Popcorn has added the loaded adjective "armoured" to reflect the disruptions of the turn of the millennium, which are causing many people to feel more comfortable at home, safely wrapped in their cocoons. Urban lifestyle trends: Working at home, from time to time or full-time; owning a compact condo, where massive pieces of furniture would look out of place; having smaller families, and giving your children their own space, in effect their own private world - these are the trends of the urban lifestyle. Hallmarks include a return to austere contemporary style, wood furniture with pared-down lines, slender proportions, and natural or spicy stains. The smooth wood vein and grain appear to great effect, embellished by metal accents, rods, fine tubes, plaques, and geometric cut-outs. Storage is more important than ever: tables and armoires provide hidden storage spaces, while beds come with a bookcase headboard. Home-office desks are designed with many storage features to make it easy to work on a smaller surface. The high-tech influence is strong. Dining room furniture is compact and convivial - here again, metal is popular. Legs are tapered, fluted, or asymmetrical, and seat covers provide a welcome shot of colour.Upholstered furniture is markedly contemporary in mood, and when it comes to colour, look for reds, oranges, blues, pinks, even fuchsia - colours that light up our living spaces. Plain fabrics are in the forefront this season, with few if any patterns, but texture is everywhere. Sofas and loveseats in white or cream come with decorative pillows in vivid, luminous hues for an intriguing contrast. Openness to the world: The influence of exotic Asia and South-east Asia is ubiquitous this year as the trend to mix-and-match- styles, shapes, and materials continues. Wood furniture features decorative accents or panels, drawers made of finely worked rattan, wicker, or straw, adorned with delicate, subtle, and original patterns that add an exotic touch and texture to otherwise straightforward styles. There are even some braided, criss-cross, cabled synthetic materials that heighten the illusion of exotic wood. Some new collections are impregnated with the Zen influence, perfect minimalism. Eternal Italy remains the reference point in design, and that influence still holds sway in North America. The trend to colour, the return of plain upholstery fabrics and contemporary profiles all come courtesy of Italian design. The armoured cocoon: This trend takes a gentle look back at the reassuring charm of times gone by - to wit, Art déco, New England style, the West Indies look, and so on. The home theatre is more popular than ever, with seating in the form of flexible, multipurpose sectionals. Sofas and sectionals feature a très trendy chaise longue section - the ultimate in rest and relaxation. The bedroom is the ultimate refuge, and an entertainment centre, too. Electronic gear, books, even paperwork brought home from the office is hidden in attractive armoires or consoles, or even stashed away in an under-the-bed- storage space. Decorative consoles provide a perfect perch for healthy houseplants. Over in the comer stands a comfy armchair with room to stretch out your legs. Lighting is discreet, with chandeliers much in evidence, and coloured glass lamps enhance the décor. Savvy retailers know it's crucial to fire consumers' imaginations with original, fully accessorized in-store displays. And that's exactly why Trends Display was created at the Toronto show three years ago. This year, design experts André Caron and Pierre D'Anjou have devised 18 new windows to showcase furniture made by exhibitors. The name of the game is to attract attention to the furniture by showing it in an imaginative, inexpensive setting through a subtle balance of colour, textures, and accessories. The Trends Display 2003 will be unveiled at 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 11, in Hall 5. The cocktail party and the Trends Display are sponsored by InFurniture magazine (U.S.).

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.