Interior Designs: Conceptual trends in design

Filed under: Focus |

By Vanessa Crumley

Special to the Business Journal

“Design” is perhaps the biggest concept communicated in six letters. Design is an enigma given definition by the trained professional and the layperson alike. It shifts with the sands of time, the global environment, and even with technology as it advances and enhances our cultural personality. This cause and effect relationship is the broadband energy that forces the evolution of design.

As a technologically advanced but racially mixed culture, standing as global visionaries we are faced with new challenges, new uncertainties, and have adopted a break-neck lifestyle. Changes in our global perspective (especially after September 11, the war on terrorism and Operation Iraqi Freedom) have forced a new appreciation for our personal and social interior environments.

As a result, we are much more in tune with how our environments as a whole can perform for us physically, psychologically and emotionally in a global society quaking with shock and awe.

Americans, both residentially and commercially, have taken captive the thought of making an interior what they truly desire. Perhaps even more importantly we have taken interior design as a new medium for a message of strength, stability, and inspiration.

Interior design has been reborn with a renewed desire for the purity of design, and the longevity of products used in design applications. Products that speak to our love of water, land and sky, like granite, travertine, and slate are being married with manmade metal accents in copper, bronze and silver. Manmade and man-forced “establishment products” of the past few years have given way to products more natural and spiritual in personality. Our field of vision has taken an interest in the play of light and shadow, the motion of liquid color, and we’ve found a voice in design reflective of our introspective mood.

New commercial interiors will define and motivate our continued survival by pairing sophisticated dark natural products with luminous and chameleon colors on interior surfaces. We will seek our message of integrity and stability with use of texture, pattern, and exotic colored mid-tones and yet we’ll communicate our message of hope and inspiration in light, airy, and ever-changing plays of metals, glass and color.

Interiors have truly become the possession and expression of our culture and our way of life. Colors and textures taken in their purest and most saturated forms in past years are now becoming more natural and are being integrated with other colors and textures to provide new focal points. Commercial trends toward movement in design, color and texture will replace more stationary design trends seen as recently as two years ago. Likewise, “more is more” as an overbearing design trend has been sacrificed for the pursuit of highest quality. Technological advances have given us a new palette of products, furnishings and accessories making the definition of modern design truly personal and long-lasting. The result of our natural environment, the technological advances that puts information at our fingertips, and the desire for a truly safe place in the world to call “home” drives the industry to the tactile treasures that make an interior an expression of our selves.

The evolution and revolution of design is like that of other forces in that it is simply the past reshaped with today’s global perspective. We are creating our daily rebirth by making our personal environments perform with us and as an extension of our societal personality. With our ever deepening awareness of the psychological effects of color, texture, light and shadow we become great communicators of history and of the future. If, in the world, we lack peace and stability, we will fashion it from nature and create our own nirvana. Perhaps then, design can be best defined as the purist expression of humanity.

Vanessa Crumley is an interior designer with Arlun, Inc. She can be reached via e-mail at