Foresight Analysis: The Birds

Print and Pattern Trends

First seen in MIX Magazine, issue 40, we reference one of the key inspirations for our trend Candy with birds once again gracing prints.

Farrow and Ball

There are some themes that are revisited time and time again, motifs that continue to inspire. As Graham & Brown’s Designer Manager, Nina Tarnowski explains: “Birds have proved to be the most enduringly fashionable and universal form of imagery used on wallpapers.”  Tarnowski cites a long love affair with birds throughout wallpaper history, from Chinese papers and artifacts through to trends for feminine, chinoiserie floral trails with pretty British birds.

Along with botanical style prints, often taken from 18th century prints, designers are also embracing a more abstract approach, inspired by among other birds, the magpie. Wallpaper and fabric designer Louise Body explains the appeal: “Birds in flight represent a freedom that we all probably crave, artists in particular,” she says.

Birds in motion, reduced to an almost abstract print shape also have a strong appeal. Farrow & Ball and Mini Moderns both have strong examples along these lines already. The palette with these more abstracted birds is gentler, as if they are attempting to disguise themselves, revealing only a flash of colour.

These are subtle birds, with the images abstracted in a predominately neutral palette. And, perhaps more than anything there is a gentle hint of nostalgia here. “Birds bring back happy memories from my childhood, and I think they evoke happy memories in other people too,” says Katherine Morris, designer, Hubbard and Reenie Wallcoverings.

And at Milan this year, birds were also spotted in the courtyard at Rossana Orlandi with Ray, a pendant light which attracts a flock of marble birds, designed by Marble atelier on·entropy. In their weightless dance, Birds, together with Ray find balance in light.