It is the largest of the big fairs on interior design. Ambiente came back in February – and with a bang. Here is my report from Ambiente.
The pandemic is over and fairs are back. As mentioned before, most fairs go smaller deliberately. One way or another. Fewer days, fewer halls. In a way, so did Ambiente. A handful of halls were given to Christmasworld (see my previous report) and Creativeworld, so in that sense, not all halls in Frankfurt were filled with Ambiente players.
But it was packed. I have to say it again. It was packed.
There were traffic jams on the highway with people trying to get in. And with officially 154 000 visitors – this is the largest of the fairs. Also with exhibitors at a number of 4 561.
It is difficult to see how the future of fairs will be. Many talk about how you need to change the format. Personally I think we will see the two dominant players Maison&Objet and Ambiente as a base or foundation. If you work with interior design you will HAVE to pass by.
Then all smaller players will have to think about their position. Formland could be the “nice” fair. Homi could be the Mediterranean fair. Etc, etc. Smaller fairs need to have a stronger identity and also something that differs from the others.
But the large ones will survive. Apparently.
I am not sure everyone will agree with me but there seems to be a slow evolution where Maison&Objet and Ambiente move at different directions. Both are extremely international but there is a small difference in content. M&O would be more interior design. Perhaps semi-large pieces like a daybed and a pouff. Ambiente have all the players in tableware and kitchen. Some brands do both M&O and Ambiente but normally you would identify as an “interior design brand” or a “tableware brand”. There are of course crossovers, but you see where I am going. And of course a multibrand like Serax would do both.
Picture above is from when I arrived at Ambiente on my first day. Were all halls equally busy? No absolutely not. But there were lots of people in the house.
Is Ambiente only about cooking pans and plates? Absolutely not. I spend three days at this fair and always find interesting food for thought. At section Solutions one look at new and innovative solutions for the kitchen. And not everything is high tech. I for instance liked this fruit and vegetable stand. I know, from before, that hiding vegetables in your fridge makes you forget what you have. And then it goes to waste. Be keeping it in a thing like this it will stay fresher than in a bowl – and will most likely be used.
At a fair like this I find young talents. Here a Japanese designer who is working with veneer. From That-d.net
You can look at usage of materials. Here reuse of cork. Our design industry is not really having a lot of new things so this year I had to really look among the exhibitors.
One of the brands people were talking about was French Revol. They have a full scale commercial production of zero waste table ware. Normally when you do plates, you loose some clay. This is now gathered and reused. They glaze is not all the way out to the rim so you don’t pour too much. Efficient use of materials – on a commercial level.
Another “talk of the fair” was Koziol. It is interesting to see how they have changed from being a plastic-y producer to a sustainable one. In a project with Disneyland Paris they made fastfood tableware out of recycled materials. And an interesting aspect is how they made this “non-designish” so that people WOULDN’T take it with them home. Instead it stayed at Disneyland. Imagine if it would have added a Mickey Mouse logo to it, then people would take it home. Non-design is also design. Super interesting.
But Ambiente is of course not only about “good” taste. It has everything. I don’t hate this, but it is absolutely over the top and non-sustainable.
But my job is to look at and report on trends. What is happening in kitchen and for tableware? With a fair like Ambiente you find everything. We have a diverse world right now. Not a lot of themes for me to report on. I have a few. Don’t worry. But I had to take out a lot of “nice” things in this story to make it clear. For instance I really like the glassware with leaves.
Or the stackable waste bins at Zone.
Or this dandelion in a jar to make a wish. From Die Stadt Gärtner. Yes, it is from my Instagram… I forgot to take a picture. There are so many things happening at the same time.
So, with thousands of products and a huge diversity. It is very difficult to talk about trends. But I will try.
Trend 1 – folk art
One clear thing I saw at Ambiente was the use of black-and-white prints on plates. Also with what I would call “folk art”. It has a rustic feeling to it.
Look at the rabbit on the plate. The actual motif is folk art.
Black and white with more or less straight lines. You can sense it is almost hand-drawn.
And even just plain strokes like this.
Of course floral.
I think it is interesting to see the stripes both on the outside and the inside.
Stripes on vases.
Rememeber the Revol tableware I talked about above?? Here is the same concept by a Portuguese brand. Also super sustainable.
And I would say that the raw, rough and beige tableware we have seen everywhere (from restaurants to homes) are really out. Noone wants that any more.
In this folk art I want to add these out of shape vases and candle holders we see everywhere.
I think that the next step of these will be to add colour. Like here from Villa Collection.
Trend 2 – multi colour
Everything looked a bit black, white and grey above. But there are colours. I think it was a bit fascinating to see how we use tableware and colours differently. Sort of play with colours and food.
The outline of the plates here is fun.
Same plates but with gradient. And notice the colour in the inside of the bowl as well as on the outside.
Tablesetting with different colours.
Playing with colours in the “wrong” places.
Trend 3 – green, blue, grey
I think you can kind of sense it, but the main colour scheme for tableware is this grey, blue, green. It is a bit misty.
And it is kind of funny. In this picture there isn’t any blue. You just expect it to be.
Same here. There isn’t any green, but it looks like green should be here.
But expect green for your kitchen.
At the trend exhibition at the fair you could see this green but with apricot, pink and burgundy. Not so much yet. But perhaps coming.
Green and apricot.
Green and burgundy.
Trend 4 – red and yellow
For a lot of the other fairs, I have come back to the colour red. And yes. Here too. Of course, perhaps not so usual for tableware and kitchen – but there are examples.
Red tableware with blue. Super nice!!
Red and blue ceramics from Portugal.
Red glass amoung the young designers.
And red on the verge of being kitsch. Or folk art.
Not so much yellow. And I am not really sure I like this 80s yellow. But I did a poll on Instagram and apparently a lot of people like this plastic-y yellow.