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SURTEX 2017 May 21-23 at Javits Ctr.: Designers Talk Influence of Int’l Trends on New Products

Artists and designers from around the world will present their new collections for every surface, in every category imaginable at SURTEX in New York City, May 21-23 at the Jacob K. Javits Center. Just how much do international design trends influence their work? Exhibiting designers from Arizona, England and Finland share their thoughts.

“Only ‘international trends’ influence art and designs,” states Tristan Goodfellow, Diane Harrison Designs, Ltd., Cheadle, United Kingdom. He cites “the extension of Southwest and tribal into everything ‘global,’” along with “strong, joyful colors – influences from India and the Middle East.” From Japan and China, Goodfellow sees “a more sophisticated influence” with pastel colors. Current techniques include everything from multi-layering to organic textures, and watercolor is still very important, he adds.

Do such influences affect Diane Harrison Designs, for three decades a major international player in designs for the home? “All trends affect our design work, but they have to be contained within the boundaries of our customers’ needs and their customers’ needs. Getting that balance right is the trick to success,” Goodfellow maintains.

While inspired by her original photography and art work, Esther Shavon, E’flomae Lifestyle & Interior, Tucson, Ariz., integrates trend research into her daily workflow process. She says, “I review and analyze themes and patterns from a multitude of sources…and then decide on specific or intriguing aspects of noticed sub-thematic areas.”

For example, Shavon’s Reflections collection pays homage to slowing down and simply enjoying the beauty of experiencing a moment. “I was intrigued by the idea, using pink and pastel colors to create a globally chic vibe with a slight bohemian persuasion,” she says. The design combines hand-drawn motifs from wind-blown foliage, connecting with nature and trend-forward color palettes.” Still, Shavon notes, “Pink and pastels aren’t just for soft dreamy prints anymore…(they) are edgy with a fresh intermingling with darker hues.”

Linda Svarfvar, Studio Kelkka, Turku, Finland, which provides design services for the textile, wallpaper, apparel and paper good industries, says its 10 designers do follow trends – to some extent. “It helps to be served design directions when trying to make order out of the constant chaos of ideas. Every designer makes her own interpretation of the trends so the outcome is very different,” she says. “Trend forecasts keep our visual look somewhat coordinated when marketing our extensive collection with different handwritings.”

Svarfvar cites strong influences from past decades, alongside an appreciation for traditional craft techniques from different cultures. These trends, together with visuals from the digital age and an extreme minimalism, create an interesting playground for a surface designer, she says. “The table is set with palettes of chalky natural tones, some retro colors from the ’60s and ’70s, and a set of woody browns, grays, and whites accentuated with some blacks for a rough, Nordic look.”

What’s new for Surtex 2017? Building on the “great response” to the launch of their fabric printed collection last year, Diane Harrison is extending the collection for 2017. “Diane is working on some very special new textural techniques,” Goodfellow reports. “We have also grown our daughter company, Rogue, which will be exhibiting on a separate stand and specializing in ‘funky, young and super trendy designs.’”

In its SURTEX debut, E’flomae, named for Shavon’s two grandmothers (Florence and Mae) with a cap E for Esther, will launch an interior design collection entitled Sonoran Oasis, which includes three thematic scenes, Bloom, Monsoon and Cove.

Returning for its second showing at SURTEX, Studio Kelkka has turned the latest trend forecasts into what Svarfvar calls “expressive yet homey designs” in three themes: Botanicals, Abstract, and Conversational. “The look of our pattern artwork is proudly Nordic, joyful and expressive, yet relaxed (with a) natural feel,” she says.

More upcoming design trends can be seen at the SURTEX Trend Theatre, which is open to all SURTEX participants, exhibitors and attendees. At Trend Theatre, three different daily presentations will focus on the newest trends impacting industries as diverse as home and accessories, textiles, tabletop, fashion, paper, stationery, packaging and gifts, through fabulous imagery and insider commentary from world-renowned trend forecasting companies. Some of the topics include: consumer insights and trends for Generation Z, top color palettes, themes and materials, and home interiors 2017/2018. There is always something new at SURTEX.

SURTEX is the annual trade show for the surface design industry, bringing together owners and creators of surface design (artists/designers/studios/agents/brands/licensors) with manufacturers, retailers, licensees and marketers utilizing surface design for product development needs. Since 1986, SURTEX has been the single event and global resource offering the full scope of art selling and licensing under one roof. The show, slated for May 21-23, 2017, will connect nearly 200 exhibitors featuring thousands of creative works by artists and designers from around the world, with some 4,500 total attendees, with crossover attendance from the co-located National Stationery Show and ICFF. For information and registration, visit www.surtex.com.

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