For those in the interior design game, the trade-only Las Vegas Market is like the Super Bowl. The twice-yearly furniture and home décor event boasts visitors from all 50 states and dozens of countries. And it’s the only time that the more than 5 million square feet of showroom space in buildings A, B, and C is open, and that doesn’t include the big white tents of the Pavilion with shops and exhibits.
After braving the crowds—and the heat—on the event’s opening day, July 31, here’s what I discovered at Las Vegas Market Summer 2016.
Bold color continues to be a major trend—especially orange and blue, with teal and aqua favored. Even the most neutral showrooms featured at least a few pops of color. If you’ve ever been tempted to buy a rainbow-colored chandelier, I spotted at least two spaces—Loloi and Modway Furniture—featuring them prominently.
Piggybacking on bold color is sculptural glass used for accessories and lighting fixtures. If you’ve daydreamed about having a Chihuly-style installation, check out Viz Glass for that as well as unique wall sconces that interplay blown glass with steam-punk-inspired exposed light bulbs.
Mid-century is more popular than ever with many designers leaning heavily on retro-inspired patterns and pop-art themes. The clean lines of the Eames era were everywhere with many showrooms featuring takes on the molded plywood chair in either natural wood tones or bright primary colors. Lighting reminiscent of the Space Age starburst and Sputnik designs of the 1960s abound, especially at the Safavieh showroom.
Designers are using acrylic furniture as both a reference to Art Deco of the 1930s (Home Elegance) or pop art of the 1960s (Linon and Modway Furniture). It is also found in more traditional forms, like the transitional lines of the Nakasa clear coffee table in Imax’s showroom.
Embrace natural elements used in unexpected ways, such as agate stone melted into or applied to wall decor, trays, and tabletop accessories made of other materials (think metals and plastics). The blue agate and metal trays at Imax are a beautiful example. The emphasis now is more on stone or stone-like creations, such as the grey agate dining table at Lievo.
I saw a lot of accessories done in metals that depicted sea motifs, coral and ocean life. Think more sea vegetation, less nautical and fish, in non-traditional colorways. A particular standout in this category was the limited edition Thomas Paul rugs at nuLoom, which featured octopi, whales, lobsters, coral, and nautical themes (as well as elephants) on all-natural cotton weaves.
Animal motifs are now diversifying past the avian set. There were a lot of four-legged creatures making appearances on accessories and rugs. The fake antlers and animal taxidermy made of plasters or metals were still around, but fading out compared to past years. Perhaps most surprising here was a relative lack of animal prints of any kind.
A bonus: While there wasn’t much in the way of eco-inspired designs or décor, the Greenington showroom is a must-see for anyone who wants classic form to meet environmentally conscious function. This all-bamboo furniture company from Washington State uses sustainable practices to create mid-century and modern-influenced furniture including dining, desks and bedroom sets. One of their lines uses a caramelizing process to cure the bamboo into a substance 100-percent stronger than oak and finished without traditional lacquers.