Misty forest clearings, stormy skies, bare winter trees and rough-hewn wood are inspiring the latest trend in interiors – the natural world in all its guises.
We live increasingly urban and digital lives, the average Briton spending almost nine hours each day in front of a screen. By 2017, more than half the world’s population will live in cities, and true wilderness, land untouched by man, will have almost disappeared. So it’s perhaps not surprising that we’re looking to reconnect with the outdoors in our homes.
This new natural is not about recreating a country look of domesticated gardens and breezy florals; it’s raw, hand-worked and earthy, referencing darker and more primal elements such as bark, moss, mushrooms and moths. It’s about moodier colours, too: muddy greens and browns.
The trend has its roots in Scandinavian design, but think Nordic noir rather than pale wood and white walls. The brooding, windswept images of Wallander’s wintery Swedish countryside, or the thunder-filled skies and wet grasslands of The Killing evoke the mood. Swedish textile company Sandberg’s latest wallpaper is called Skog – the Swedish for forest.
For young designers Superfolk, the natural world is the foundation of their business. Based in Mayo on the west coast of Ireland, the group’s products reflect the world on their doorstep: simple wooden trivets in minimal natural forms; tea towels featuring dry wall patterns; a folding stool of waxed leather and oiled oak, for use indoors or out. “After 12 years living in Dublin, we moved back here last year,” co-founder Gearoid Muldowney says. “Western Ireland is very isolated, and its biggest resource is the natural world, so we decided to use this as our strength. We walk a lot, and are starting to look at the natural world more closely. We hope we can help others reconnect with it, too.”