2020 put our flexibility and capacity for adaptability to the test. Many of us worked from home, spent more time with family, and learned to meld public and private life. And when life changes radically, design can’t help but follow suit.
In this sense, several design trends of 2020 seemed decidedly clear. One among them: between collections conceived before the pandemic and others during, the invisible red thread linking design objects and furnishings in 2020 is versatility, and the multitasking articulations that respond to a new flow of life.
It’s as if we were asking new furnishings to accommodate themselves to our personal lives, following our free-flowing modernity and supporting our need to break down pre-established confines. Functions then, were hybridized: sofas integrate tables, desks disappear in sideboards, bar stools enter the kitchen, and armchairs in the living room move to the dining table. Everything is more personalized and modularity reigns supreme.
As far as forms are concerned, they return to reassure and console, rediscovering the roots of domestic life and comfort, often opening up to a graceful, sculptural, and architectural decor.
With this in mind, we’ve gathered 24 pieces with all the new design additions and trends of 2020. We offer them to you in the hopes that, flipping through each one, they’re able to give you a more clear picture of the year in design.
VASES, THE COLLECTIONS PRESENTED IN 2020
Calligaris, Cappellini, and Fendi are just some of the brands that proposed new vases in 2020. The vase is an ancient and seemingly simple object, but its immediacy hides a complexity that requires great expertise from designers. They must both “contain” and bring an extract of nature inside. Other times, vases are used aesthetically without holding anything, offering the mere force of their design. In new catalogs, we find creative, scenic and artistic vases, and occasionally even a re-edition or two.
NEW MIRRORS OF 2020
The mirror is also an object with an ancient and immediate function, but the research of designers and companies never ends. In 2020, we discovered reflective surfaces that don’t limit themselves to reproducing an image, but offer new decorative functions. Here then, mirrors that unite and divide other pieces. Mirrors that, hung on a wall or resting on the ground, modify our perception of light and space. Among the new mirrors of 2020, we find that with seven sides signed for Cantori by the young designer Luca Roccadadria (“Medea”), or Sky mirrors (pictured above), designed by Monica Förster for Zanat: artistic sculptures carved by hand in solid wood.
NEW SOFAS WITH INTEGRATED TABLES OF 2020
The universe of sofas is evolving. So much so, that the word “sofa” risks being replaced by the term “system”. New upholstered pieces grow increasingly versatile, combining aesthetics with new functions and are, in most cases, modular and flanked by integrated tables or with other multitasking surfaces. Here then, appearing next to armrests or level with seats, are diverse extensions for support or storage (like the Horizontal Sofa ēdition by DePadova, pictured above). In 2020, we talked about these new sofas with tables that respond to an increasingly fluid and relaxed living or office space that perfectly adapts to smart working.
NEW TABLE LAMPS OF 2020
FontanaArte, Qeboo, Artemide, and Martinelli Luce are just a few of the brands that have presented new table lamps in 2020. The new trend sees small lamps explore an increasingly creative and sculptural decor, so we looked at models that could also play their part when turned off. Like sofas, these lights discover new vocations in the wake of a more fluid lifestyle. For this, we examine cordless variants and nomadic models that can move from space to space, from residential interiors to outdoor bars and restaurants.
NEW DINING CHAIRS OF 2020
We often say that the “zero movement” of the actor is to walk. The “zero” gesture of the designer, for us, is the chair. This year, among the many models, we talked about the trends of 2020 armchairs in the dining room. Fusing the softness of the bergère and the functionality of the wooden chair, these pieces flaunt a soft and welcoming backrest that tell of a relaxed comfort making its way into other areas of the home and office. Among those new this year, we saw additions from prestigious brands and designers like Patricia Urquiola for Moroso and Nendo Design for Minotti (pictured above).
NEW BAR CARTS OF 2020
It’s true that we should sit comfortably at the dining table, but it’s also true that we’re spending much more time at home, and discovering new spaces to grab to a bite to eat, whether at breakfast, teatime, or pizza in front of the tv. It’s with this that the bar cart has become a star in this domestic evolution: helpful and seemingly humble, in 2020 the trolley bar offered ingenious and interesting design solutions. Here then we find folding trays in wood and steel for all styles. And like many of the pieces we’ve covered so far, the cart on wheels is also multifunctional.
NEW TV CONSOLES OF 2020
A pizza in front of the tv, we said. But what does the tv rest on? We certainly don’t want to limit ourselves to simple surfaces that fulfill only one function! It’s important to invest in these kinds of furnishings for a multitasking environment, especially as they come center stage in modern and technological living areas. The new tv stands for 2020 are as decorative as they are functional, capable of hiding cords and wires, adapting for height, but also storing objects inside drawers, cupboards and pockets. Wood is common, but we also see new explorations in opaque and brushed metals, marble, and ceramics.
NEW ROUND DINING TABLES OF 2020
King Arthur would be happy to find out that round dining tables are back in style in 2020. Having disappeared for a bit from showrooms, today their convivial and democratic circumferences return to populate homes and restaurants. And while the form is archetypical, it’s the detailed finishes that make a difference, with supporting structures providing an architectural touch, bringing attention back to materials. Among the key figures this year, we find Calligaris, Porro, Henge, Visionnaire and Minotti (pictured above).
NEW BEDS AND HEADBOARDS OF 2020
A designer’s research can never be stopped. Even the bed, and in particular the headboard, become territory for experimentation to uncover new forms and functions. In this case, our attention turns to the architectural and sculptural: in 2020, we fell for extra-large alcoves and linear or round headboards, resting on the ground or raised up, pushed against the wall or freestanding. As for materials, traditional textiles and upholstery are enriched by unique patterns and prized leathers. The moral of the story: the headboard is an increasingly important — if not fundamental — element for the structure and the bedding sector.
HOME OFFICE, ALL THE LATEST IN DESKS AND WORKSTATIONS
What has now come to an end was unmistakably the year of working from home and the home office. So there was no better time for a comeback of desks and workspaces — accessories that had fallen out of the spotlight and into countless digital devices. And yet, working from our own homes brought us to rediscover the multi-functionality of these special pieces. The design desks of 2020 offer numerous solutions, hiding in a sideboard or transforming a vanity with elegance and ease. Materials are increasingly resistant, while geometries are linear and airy, lined with soft textiles and, even here, leather.
NEW SPHERIC LAMPS OF 2020
2020 wasn’t only the year of round tables, but also spheric lamps. Behind this circular form, we found the need to return to a formal essentiality. Luminous diffusers were soft and round, and, like table lamps, don’t lose their ornamental value when turned off. Fluttering in mid-air, they decorate any space while sparking a dialogue with dining tables or armchairs as they seem to cascade in.
NEW DESIGN RUGS OF 2020
From more simple and regular forms to complex compositions that touch on art and great painters of the 20th century. We’re talking about 2020 rugs for the home, where extra-large formats found success, but especially the exploration of geometric patterns (like three colored circles that seem to overlap, in the Crystal rug for Gan, pictured above). Giving space to the irregular borders and unique three-dimensional effects, like those in Rugs Dots by Cecilie Manz.
NEW BOOKCASES OF 2020
The same goes for new bookcases of 2020, where functionality expands well beyond the specific requirements, like holding books and volumes in this case. Today, the bookcase plays an important role in defining any atmosphere, both spatially, as it often functions as a partition, and aesthetically, showcasing more decorative objects that aren’t books, like photos, lamps, and vases.
NEW BAR STOOLS OF 2020
Another Anglo-Saxon custom has arrived here in Italy: the bar stool around a kitchen table, whether an island or peninsula. Bar seats are destined to become stars of our living area, especially as our habits are changing. Lunch is increasingly similar to a fast snack, guests provide us company while preparing dinner, and happy hour at home is a great way to unplug after a day of work. Be sure to grab high legs, shells without armrests, and comfortable, foldable stools. We talked about a few indoor and outdoor versions that are perfect for both the home and contract spaces.
NEW DAYBEDS OF 2020
The daybed is an encounter between a bed and a sofa, which isn’t to be confused with the chaise longue (for loveseats, keep scrolling). One thing is certain: these pieces evoke a pure sense of relaxation, whether for a nap, a bit of relaxed reading, or simply kicking back. Since the era of Le Corbusier’s LC4 (it was 1928), daybeds have become more flat, padded, and slightly enlarged, with forms becoming rectangular, round, and even convex. Once again, we’ve listed the best offerings from 2020 for both indoors and outdoors.
NEW OUTDOOR KITCHENS OF 2020
Those who are fortunate enough to have a space to cook outside will surely be interested in the latest additions of outdoor kitchens in 2020. New models speak a mimetic language integrating with balanced proportions, airy lines, and terraces and gardens. Technology allows them to increase functionality, now almost even with their indoor counterparts, and materials have grown more resistant, including concrete, steel and other metals. Final finishes are often special and conceived to last over time.
NEW CREDENZAS AND SIDEBOARDS OF 2020
If there’s a credenza that will never fade, it’s the much-adored sideboard. Design sideboards in 2020 favor horizontal solutions over vertical ones, where we find cubic and rounded pieces to adorn an entryway, living space, or bedroom. But there is one thing we can’t argue about: wood is still the reigning favorite. Modularity is once again a prime focus, as new sideboards fill additional roles beyond your standard buffet as tried and true materialistic treasure chests.
NEW OUTDOOR CHAIRS OF 2020
We already spoke about dining chairs for the indoors, but new outdoor seats in 2020 were just as important: the trend is always that to combine robustness of materials with comfort and pleasant aesthetics. The goal is an elegant continuity between furnishings both indoors and outdoors. To this, we see the addition of synthetic materials like polypropylene rope, the practical weightlessness of aluminum, and waterproof textiles and cushions. As Rodolfo Dordoni recalls, “today, outdoor furnishings are not only performative, but they also have an aesthetic requirement.”
THE RE-EDITIONS OF 2020
Updating cult design pieces from the 20th century in a contemporary key, these re-editions have engaged numerous companies moving between a meticulous respect for the original details and a renewal of production techniques or sustainable materials. Occasionally, new finishes or claddings even appeared. Among those revisited, we saw maestros like Ico Parisi, Carlo Mollino, Gianfranco Frattini and Mario Bellini.
NEW AND ARCHITECTURAL TABLES OF 2020
Along with the return of the round table, 2020 also saw the appearance of new rectangular tables for the living area — architectural models flaunting precise geometric lines. Within this category, we found a predilection for extra-large dimensions, and while it’s true that we’re increasingly eating quick meals on the go, we still need a sweeping space to welcome guests and celebrate important moments (postponed for now, due to the pandemic). Between the latest additions of 2020, we see elongated and flexible dining tables that transform into desks, not to mention prized finishes on materials like wood and glass. There’s really something for every style.
NEW LOVESEATS OF 2020
The perfect piece for any couple is a loveseat: a sofa for two that protects and provides intimacy. This type of sofa is derived from several armchairs in the halls of Louis XV, but reaches us in a more contemporary form. Here then, the new two-seater sofas from 2020, with high backrests and welcoming seats. They’re ideal not only for the home, but also hotels and relaxation areas in the office. Design, meanwhile, ranges between linearity and sinuosity.
COLORED SINKS IN 2020, A NEW TREND FOR THE BATHROOM
Colored sinks were among the 2020 trends for the bathroom. Total white, for many, became a synonym for monotony and an absence of creativity, so here we see ceramics with bright and original palettes: soft pastel nuances alternate with glossy glazes and more brilliant colors. Even the bathroom becomes a “stylish” space to personalize, showcasing your own personal style. As for the forms of 2020 sinks, both round and square models were most common.
NEW SMALL ROUND DESIGN TABLES OF 2020
Coherent with the general trend of multitasking, we saw small round tables make a splash in numerous 2020 design collections. Whether a coffee table (30 cm high) or side tables (between 40-70 cm), these fulfill a versatile function, furnishing, supporting and dividing the space around them. In the past year, we talked about their all-around beauty and use to place reading lights, laptops, notebooks, and even prized objects.
NEW MODULAR SOFAS OF 2020
We close out this list of the most important design trends of 2020 with the sofa, true royalty in any living room or lounge. We already mentioned some of these models with integrated tables, but modular sofas of 2020 were also a major trend to arrive this year. Because the sofa never lies, and its changes will always speak to our own changing lifestyles, which this year opt for versatility and multi-functionality. For this, we saw the creation of new models adapted for both conviviality and working from home, a snack in front of the tv, or even a video call. The sofa to give ourselves and others as we close out 2020, is modular, expressive in its volumes, and elegantly finished in its details. But most importantly, it’s a sofa adapted to special moments, like those we wish for you and yours at the end of this challenging year.