BY SUSAN KELLY
A forward-looking nostalgia prevails as 2016 nears, with bed designers selecting the best of the past and taking it in a new direction. Bold strokes are called for: eclectic explorations, reinterpretations of classic styles, and fresh twists on existing trends. All in the name of creating a bed that’s a tour de force, a masterpiece of the master suite.
Playing it safe design-wise has become a big a snore for some, it seems. Fresh and colourful options are trending at Roche Bobois, which specializes in luxury furniture with French flair. “We find our customers want something truly different,” says Guy Philippe Bélanger, who manages the Paris-based retailer’s downtown Montreal store, “and to inject some colour, and not just on the bedding.” Take the Mah Jong bed, a twist on the iconic free-form modular sofa designed in 1971. The bed frame is padded and upholstered by hand to resemble a mattress holding a mattress, for a look both quirky and ultra-comfortable. To mix and match: fabric colours and divine prints by designers from the world of couture, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Sonia Rykiel or Missoni Home.
Another forward-looking design, the Fantasq bed, also “started off with the idea of a large cushion…” according to its designer, Samuel Accoceberry. The curvy modern shape manages to look both aerodynamic and organic at the same time. Covered in Roche Bobois’ exclusive Omega fabric, the bed’s entire surface can be upholstered with few seams. It comes in four colours besides neutral gray and taupe, including a soft blue teal, as well as many other fabrics from the Roche Bobois collection.
Bélanger agrees with the trendcasters who predict shades of blue from deep indigo to eggshell. “There’s no doubt they’re becoming important,especially warmer shades like turquoise,” he says.
New designers are putting their distinctive stamps on bedding collections as well, says Dino Bonomo, owner of Avenue Design in Ville St. Laurent. “People like Thom Felicia, a familiar face from television, or California superstar decorators Barclay Butera and Barbara Barry have curated new collections,” he says. “It’s a very exciting time in design now.” Many people still prefer to inject the latest trends through bedding, which is less expensive and easier to change than the bed itself.
However, when it comes to a new bed, many designers are updating the classics. A thinner profile and fewer embellishments can make a classic bed shape such as the sleigh, spindle or four-poster seem quite modern. As well, in 2016 a wood bed frame likely will be treated to a coat of paint in a shade of gray or white. Ontrend are antiqued finishes with a touch of silver or gold leaf, or panels of shagreen. Or perhaps a metallic wash on the wood or linens for an effect both retro and modern at the same time.Bonomo expects to continue doing a brisk business in custom upholstered headboards with transitional style. “Because it combines classic and contemporary in such a timeless way,” he says. “Transitional is becoming the new traditional.”
And then there are those who prefer a more linear, but definitely chic, approach to bed design. “The look today is very sleek and grand hotel, with a statement-making upholstered headboard,” says Suzanne Poulin, marketing manager for JC Perreault stores. It’s as if after all those years of buying hotel-collection linens, we want the rest of the bed to reflect that luxury aesthetic. Since five-star hotels usually have top designers, getting the look will mean laying out for luxe fabrics and paying attention to such details as tufted upholstery, metal nail heads or covered buttons.
With the bed as the focal point, the rest of the bedroom will be kept on the minimal side in terms of design, Poulin says, which means as much clear, uncluttered space as possible and a contemporary look. The bed will have a slim, discreet profile, serving to showcase the mattress and bedding. To make it the centrepiece, storage is minimalized or banished to the walk-in closet. Having all that negative space also brings much-needed calm to bedrooms. “People are thinking carefully about what they live with,” saysPoulin, who also sees a strong call for beds made of recycled wood.
That impulse carries over into the choice of mattress. More than size or style, when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, it’s the mattress that reigns supreme. Quebec-based Essentia makes natural memory foam versions that are completely non-allergenic, says founder and CEO Jack Dell’Accio. “Choosing to live with organic and responsibly sourced materials is a growing trend,” he says. “And our mattresses also help make for a healthy bedroom environment.”
Most mattresses are made with synthetic fibres or foam, which may emit harmful compounds over time. Same goes for natural cotton or wool stuffing processed with pesticides and other chemicals. Organic mattresses such as those made by Essentia will not.
The right mattress is not just about comfort, Dell’Accio says. It can be engineered to offer posture support, improve blood circulation or extend REM sleep. Essentia specializes in manufacturing mattresses designed for optimal rest and recovery, making them a popular choice with professional athletes. “Approximately 20 per cent of National Hockey League players are currently sleeping on Essentia, and such teams as the Montreal Canadiens are exploring implementing the use of Essentia mattresses for the entire team,” he says. Made in Canada, they also have the stamp of approval from such prestigious organizations as Johns Hopkins University and the Hippocrates Health Institute.
Natural fibres rule in bedding as well. Even in cold weather, linen is hot, says Stan Leibner, co-owner of the Linen Chest stores in Canada. “It’s a natural luxury fabric, but also has a casual, almost homespun quality,” he says. Linen bedding is ecologically friendly, can last a lifetime, and the look and feel improve with age. It is also anti-static and, like down, insulates in the winter and cools in the summer. From heavyweight burlap to fine handkerchief weight, linen provides a wide range of textures to mix and layer. The palette will be soft and natural in 2016, in natural shades of white, cream, gray or taupe.
Fashion designers such as Jason Wu and Michael Kors adorned runway models with fur stoles, and beds will get the same treatment this winter. The newest bed accessory is the fur bed runner, a stole for the bed that drapes across the foot. “A big look is to have the natural linen duvet cover with a fur runner layered over it,” saysLeibner. His stores carry an expanded array of runners, throws and throw pillows, with faux versions of Russian sable, Bengal tiger, and Siberian wolf added to more usual ones such as ocelot or mink.
Many more trends will crossover from the world of fashion to bedding in 2016. “There’s a big movement towards a classically romantic look with a soft colour palette,” says BozenaBortkiewicz, head of product development for Fabricville stores, which sell both custom and ready-made bedding. Look for runway-inspired and nostalgic watercolour or chintz-like floral prints, or solid colours on the pale and pastel side. All-over floral patterns are back in bedding vogue, but not like your grandma’s. The newest twist places the print in a band along the bottom of the duvet cover or pillow sham, shading up to a solid colour on the top.
This would also be a good time to turn over a new motif. Birds and butterflies might be included in a floral pattern, or one of the new botanical prints. The very trendy Greek key motif will be interpreted on a large scale in duvet or pillow covers, or as a discreet embroidered border for sheets and pillowcases. Also in vogue: accent pillows with script depicting a single word such as “love” or “believe,” or longer quotes or sayings. This trend also extends to floral or botanical prints, which might have words worked into the background. “As in fashion, there’s a lot more personal expression going on in bedding design,” says Bortkiewicz.