Welcome to the first post in our new 'Trend Watch' series. Let me preface by saying I'm not a huge fan of the word trend. While trends have merit in our culture as they relate to art, music, consumer goods, and just about everything else, we can all attest to their fleeting capabilities. I prefer to think of trends, not as something we need to embrace immediately and then discard, but rather as evidence of larger shifts in our collective thinking and preferences.
One of these shifts we have been moving toward in recent years is a preference for more natural, hand-made, and renewable products and materials. Whether locally-produced vegetables in the farmer's market or hand-made jewelry from Etsy, I believe we are craving increased human connection in the products + materials we purchase as we live in an overly tech-weighted world (but that's another post entirely).
A trend material I think we'll be seeing a lot more of soon is terracotta. Terracotta is often made by hand, has been around for centuries, and is a great example of a renewable material that stands the test of time. We're seeing terracotta used in a variety of installations beyond the typical garden pot including, interior + exteriors floors, intricate patterned-tiles, and other custom-made design elements, such as the terracotta sink below.
Made using fired earthenware clay, it's varying levels of iron oxidization in the clay that gives terracotta it's scrumptious red color. Nonetheless, it can be produced in a variety of colors, shapes, and textures, either glazed or un-glazed.
Of course, terracotta has been used in product design before we called even called it that (think of ancient Roman pottery and the amazing emperor Qin's Terra-cotta Army of 221 BC!). Now we're seeing this classic material taking a turn for the modern through jewelry, pottery, and lighting design - just take the stunning Sula Vase or the NANO Voltasol rolling flowerpot for example. And you don't see us complaining, either!
For more innovative products using terracotta, check out CrowdyHouse, an online marketplace for emerging European product designers.
At Farmer's Daughter Interiors, we recently incorporated hand-painted terracotta tile into one of our project installations and are thrilled with the results (post coming soon)! Thoughts? Have you used terracotta in your home or design projects recently?