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THE NEW MAXIMALISM (OAK: THE NORDIC JOURNAL)

This article was written 3 years ago.

All copy as provided to the publication.

“Katie’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm for design is infectious. She’s a pleasure to work with – always friendly, open to ideas, and reliable. I know that when I commission her, the result will be thorough and insightful.” – Anna Winston, Design Editor, Oak

Does the Italian-led trend for big, bold and busy spell an end for the international dominance of Scandi Style?

Every April, the design industry makes its annual pilgrimage to Milan to find out what’s hot and what’s not. This year saw the demise of the muted tones, organic forms and understated restraint that have been so overwhelmingly dominant for the last decade and a half. In their place: clashing colours, unlikely shapes and overstatement by the bucketload. Milan-based Dimorestudio showed their new collection against a mash-up of historical styles and colours and Corian’s Cabana Club presented “a multicultural and emotional journey into the world of maximalism.” It seems that the Italian love of colour and excess has swung back into favour, toppling the minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic. Or has it?

Contemporary designers like Luca Nichetto – originally from Italy and now running offices in Venice and Stockholm – travel more than their predecessors, and draw ideas from all over the world. The design industry is both global and local. “After I opened my Stockholm studio, my mindset changed,” says Nichetto. “In a new country, I experienced different things and of course this influenced me as a designer.” His aesthetic now combines the bold Italian colours of his upbringing with simple Swedish shapes.

The return of maximalism – or at least the new approach to maximalism – is not simply a case of one trend giving way to another, or one nation’s design identity asserting its dominance. The reality of design today is a messy, multifaceted spread of interlacing influences and ideas – and what could be more maximalist than that?