Vintage Meets Modern Design at the 2013 Dwell on Design Show*

The 2013 Dwell on Design show returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center this summer. Over 30,000 vendors, designers, architects, realtors, news agencies and home buyers gathered to determine what’s hot in home design for the upcoming year and what they found was surprising…

Unlike years passed, the 2013 expo wasn’t as focused on sustainable living or a green initiative. If the last couple years saw a heavy focus on energy-efficiency, with very little attention to luxury and class, this year luxury played a large part in the designs, with a heavy focus on technology-driven lighting and luxury décor, like beautiful hand-blown stained glass.

Technology in Design
Although looks for this year are decidedly dated, modern technology plays a huge role in their functionality. 1970s coloring could be seen from vendor to vendor, with clean lines and natural materials being used to make furniture pieces. There were shaggy rug art pieces, as well as bright fabrics and prints. These pieces became luxurious and modern when the designers showed how the vintage-looking furniture worked in an entirely new and contemporary way.

For instance, eco-friendly designers Brave Space Design unveiled their Planar 2Fold chest, a small unit made of Amber Bamboo with unique technology-driven drawers that are devoid of handles or knobs and are open with just a simple push.

Luxury Shapes and Décor
High-end glass pieces, lighting and furniture made a big statement at the event. Luxury is back, so get ready for your home to flourish in large lighting displays and art pieces. These eye-catching centrepieces draw on the designers’ obvious inspiration from the 1970s.

Seth Parks is a Los Angeles based artist known for his custom hand-blown glass art sculptures and lighting that hang in the homes of celebrities as well as galleries and high-end offices. His new line of pieces shown at the Dwell on Design show and the news that they can be ordered through his website and sent worldwide were met with extremely positive reactions.

Glass, mirrors and a bold color palette of gold and silver are on-trend for this year. That doesn’t mean going out and grabbing yourself a silver shag rug or a mirrored ceiling. It simply means purchasing your luxury accent pieces in these colors and displaying them on modern surfaces.

Prefab is Still On-Trend
In recent years, prefabricated homes, studios and trailers have been on display. This year, there were more prefabricated designs than have ever dominated the space before. For luxury buyers, looking for a new vacation home, land and home packages were being sold together.

Some realtors, sellers and buyers are disappointed with the long-running trend of prefabricated homes. Real homes hold higher value, like Riven Rock Ranch in Texas. This incredible estate home (and others like it) features a design just begging for vintage-inspired modern decor and, because they’re sold in concierge auctions with low or no reserves, they’re offered at a much lower cost than a pre-fab home.

What We Learned
If Dwell on Design taught us anything this year, it would be that luxury and technology can meet in an entirely new way. Vintage design and detailing was met with simple automated controls. It’s the modern ease we’ve come to expect from our home décor, but with the soft, pleasing look of something dated.

This year, vintage is defined by its push-button technology, voice-activated controls or heat-sensitive functioning. If this is the case, can we really call these designs vintage-inspired? With a high amount of natural colors, color blocking and the natural materials used to make much of what was shown, we certainly can.

And one thing is for sure: the trend to combine vintage with modern will no doubt add a great deal of luxury to many homes.