Where Did That Come From Anyway? 6 Design Trends Explained
With so many stunning products and ever-changing interior trends, it can be easy to overlook the fascinating history behind them. Many of today’s popular trends have some seriously intriguing origins that go back thousands of years. What some might see as a fun, textured wall hanging is actually a ceremonial hat worn by royalty in Cameroon, and what you might write off as ‘70s-era tie-dye could actually have roots in 8th century Japan.
Keep scrolling for the brief backstory on some of today’s most popular trends.
The Juju hat, also known as a Bamiléké feather headdress or Tyn Hat, is a symbol of prosperity in Cameroon, and is thought to possess the positive qualities of birds, while representing the beauty of life. These headdresses are traditionally worn by tribal chiefs, royal families, and dignitaries during important ceremonies. Still used in Cameroon today, these headdresses have gained massive popularity in the interior décor world thanks to the unique texture they add to any wall.
Live edge furniture showcases the natural form of wood slabs and slices by maintaining the wood’s organic shape and edges. American woodworker George Nakashima—who is a father of the American craft movement—is credited with starting the live edge trend thanks to a series of tables he designed for Knoll in 1946. Today, pieces with this organic, rustic detail include not just tables, but beds, bookshelves, and even countertops.
Also known as bògòlanfini, mud cloth is a traditional handmade Malian cotton fabric that is dyed using fermented mud. The textile’s origins date back to the 12th century, when the tradition was for men to weave the cloth and women to dye the fabric and paint the repeated motifs. In Malian culture, bògòlanfini is worn by hunters as camouflage and by women after their initiation into adulthood. Today, the graphic textiles are adorning all sorts of interior pieces, from chairs and sofas to throw pillows and framed works.
Ceramic garden stools have been used for centuries in China as sturdy outdoor seating that could withstand the elements. Because Chinese homes were typically built around a central courtyard, these barrels and drums were developed to offer all-weather seating. Though originally plain in design and construction, over time these pieces came to be designed with more elaborate motifs, latticework, and raised shapes. Today, they make ideal end tables as well as the easily portable seating for which they were originally designed.
This Japanese tie-dying technique has been around since the 8th century, but has recently undergone a resurgence in popularity for interior use, thanks to its organic look and saturated colors. Different dying techniques can result in tight, geometric patterns or more loose and natural shapes and forms. Today, we’re seeing shibori motifs used everywhere from wallpaper to bedding and upholstery.
Kilim is a textile of Middle Eastern origins whose heritage can be found in Turkey, North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Kilims are flat woven, meaning they do not have a pile and are not hand knotted, but instead are woven on a loom. Motifs in kilims are attributed to the symbolism of different tribes and regions and were typically made in muted, natural colors, though today’s versions include vibrant hues like purple and bright pink.