For at least the last decade or more, retail conversations have revolved around improving efficiencies and increasing convenience while maintaining—if not lowering—price. The focus has been on driving down costs and providing unique delivery models. Consider Amazon, Zappos, Stitch Fix, and—in the design world—Wayfair, as examples.
While valuable on some levels, this fixation on speed and price has left the consumer feeling less than satisfied with the overall experience and the commoditized product they receive, albeit quickly. Deb Barrett, founder of Soft Design Lab, observes that consumers have a renewed sense of value in craftsmanship and points to the latest trend of what is known as “next generation craft.”
She shares, “The millennials are growing up and finding value in the crafts and artisan trades of the past.” From textiles and artwork to furniture and furnishings, the consumer’s passion in pursuing one-offs and real one-of-a-kind pieces is on the rise.
She further explains that this generation is taking the trend to a new level by seeking to complement unique and rarely crafted products with an experience that is just as personal and exclusive. Barrett notes, “It falls in line with overall consumer behavior trends that highlight value creation through process as well as product.”
Next generation craft finds its way into design through statement and conversation pieces that set the tone for a room. They are most typically the focal piece from a design perspective as well as the center of conversation when groups convene. If you are looking to bring a piece of this trend into your space then check out the slideshow above to get the ideas flowing. Most importantly, make it yours—both in the design and the experience.
Create a conversation around the conversation piece with a one-of-a-kind dining table. Hand select everything for your woods, stains and inlays and then share the design details from your grandmother’s heirloom flatware with the artisan to inspire the carvings.
Make a statement with that piece of driftwood from the family farm or beach house and have it hand forged with iron to create a custom chandelier for the outdoor patio or kitchen island.
Meet the Maker
If the room calls for an area rug, consider an exclusively hand-knotted option from India that comes with the profile and history of the artisan who will spend six months making your personal rug.