A recent report by Mordor Intelligence estimated that the world’s luxury furniture market is likely to grow by 4.7 percent between 2018 and 2023. The report says that innovations in manufacturing technology, as well as a growing appreciation for the potential of local design, are helping global market leaders to meet the needs of an increasingly demanding luxury furniture market.
As major manufacturers expand their offering by acquiring local designers and manufacturers, premium materials such as leather, glass, metal and woods— including mahogany and alder—are all being pressed into service. In the European region, tropical timber recorded the highest market share in the furniture market. But the role of tropical timber may decline significantly as more versatile materials become widely available.
As reservations about the aesthetic and recycling potential of plastics increase, wood and metal furniture solutions become more attractive. In woods, hardwoods remain the popular choice for their quality and durability, while in metals, a wide range of finishing techniques such as powder coating, anodizing and chrome finishing are opening up novel aesthetic options.
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Bespoke concealment solutions, by which technology products or storage systems are hidden inside luxury furniture pieces, are increasingly popular. Other notable trends are on the move towards online retailing, which makes it more possible to offer product personalisation, and the development of the outdoor luxury furniture market.
Part of the growth of the market is driven by the hospitality industry, as hotels and restaurants demand more luxurious bespoke furniture solutions. But by far the largest growth area is the domestic one, where the increase in urban populations and the demands of developing economies are both supporting the global luxury furniture market.
Italy and Luxury Furniture Market
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Italy is one of the prominent countries in the global luxury furniture market—it has 29 of the top 100 global luxury furniture companies and a market share of approximately 27 percent in 2017. Notable fashion brand names such as Versace are expanding into the luxury furniture area, with a particular eye on developing markets.
Though Europe remains the largest market for designer furniture, China and India are the fastest growing countries in the luxury goods market generally and there’s a particular demand from theme based and garden/pool-side restaurants.
In soft furnishings, the pendulum is swinging away from the softly textural Scandinavian look, back towards high contrast patterns and big statement mixings of materials and scale. Designer Emilie Munroe of San Francisco merges lively prints and cheeky accessories in carefully-measured designs and goes for daring designs such as chunky Lancaster armchairs and retro ceiling trims.
Demand for handcrafted authenticity, rather than mass-produced pieces, will rise, according to furniture and accessories guru Andria Mitsakos. Interior designer Joy Moyler says that the use of metals in interesting ways will trend, though colours will turn away from rose gold towards gold, brass or blackened metals, used in sculptural or massed ways, in what she describes as “a strong push towards art as function.”
Moyler also sees a trend in the bedroom towards womb-like, cozy beds with upholstered headboards and footboards sheathed in comfortable textiles. But perhaps an unexpected furniture trend is back towards the antique, with interior designer CeCe Barfield Thompson claiming that “Ubiquitous design is now a thing of the past, while antiques are an exciting nod to the design future.” CeCe, whose interiors combine old, new, inherited and designed pieces, says that “People want their rooms to have soul, a personality, and tell a story”, and that with auction and shopping sites picking up on the trend, “antiques are having a major comeback.”
This feature was originally published in the spring edition of Arts and Collections, which you can also read here.