If you’re shopping for a contemporary new home in 2019, you’ve probably already noticed three significant trends: eco-conscious materials, soft matte finishes and multi-functional spaces. Whether you’re a down-sizer, young professional or first home owner, the same design trends are appealing to buyers across the board. “No one wants anything that’s too fussy,” says Antoinetta Sofia, Director at Sofiaa Interior Design. “Minimal detailing, clean lines, natural matte finishes, adding texture – people don’t want things that look manmade.”
They don’t want materials that aren’t consciously sourced, either. “It’s already occurring with our food – if you’re a beef eater, you want to know exactly where your beef came from and how it was fed,” says Francesco Bonato, Director at Tectvs Architects. Likewise, “The community expects sustainable design elements. They’re conscious of their energy costs and wellbeing and they want to live in safe, clean, energy-efficient environments.”
Sofia and Bonato’s design philosophies, which incorporate national and international trends, can be clearly seen in their work for Buildtec’s Norwood Green development. “It’s been designed with very high environmental standards,” Bonato says, referring to the apartments’ locally sourced, sustainable materials, low energy and water usage. Sofia’s design team introduced engineered timber flooring and 100% wool carpet. “Environmental people don’t want laminate flooring or plastic carpet,” she explains.
Vogue magazine recently predicted more concrete and terrazzo in the near future, and Norwood Green’s Caesarstone bench tops in Cloudburst are right on trend, with their natural concrete look. “They’ve attempted to make it look like it’s not manmade; it’s got a matte finish and is not perfectly smooth,” Sofia says. In addition, “The smoky mirror splash-back in the kitchen reflects what’s going on but gives the illusion of more space.”
The kitchens also feature v-jointed cupboards for texture, and customisable areas that homeowners can personalise with trailing greenery, herb pots or candles. Soft furnishings feature modish neutrals and soothing pastels, such as forest greens, blush pinks, corals and deep royal blues. Similar style elements have been used at 354 Bowden, another sophisticated development by Buildtec, which showcases visually soft matte finishes, reconstituted stone bench tops and timber-feel kitchen joinery.
As the world becomes more ‘multi’ – multi-cultural, multi-coloured, multi-layered – homeowners increasingly desire multi-use spaces. Norwood Green’s floor lay-outs, says Bonato, promote community interaction by “adopting concepts that break away from the conventional apartment model, such as treating corridors more like lanes than enclosed corridors, with access to light and air. You’re trying to blur the boundaries so people feel like they’re living in a community where there’s a degree of interaction and sharing, but not at the cost of privacy or individuality.”
Although trends come and go, Sofia insists minimalism is here to stay. “Gone are the days of gloss! It’s about trying to give a sense of space by keeping the finishes light and airy, nothing cumbersome or too heavy.” Eco-consciousness has also proved to be much more than simply a popular fad. “I think as life goes on, expectations will become higher in terms of everything that goes into our built environment,” Bonato says. “People are becoming more educated and their expectations are far higher. Good design is exploring better ways of doing things. It’s a constant process and evolution of improvement.”