Contemporary style channels trends and design aesthetics that are popular at a given time. Contemporary can, therefore, be hard to define because it is, by nature, transient. It’s a temporary holding place for particular looks which made way for new styles as and when they arrive. As such, contemporary style is constantly evolving.
Current contemporary style is a combination of modern and transitional styles – it’s nonchalant and stylish with a luxe twist. Fabrics are similar to those used in transitional spaces – lustrous, predominantly neutral (barring soft, muted colours) like in this Casamilano living room and are typically plain. Contemporary differs from transitional in the use of more casual materials (such as concrete and cerused woods) and less formal techniques which are nonetheless used with much skill.
Contemporary style takes many of its shapes and lines from cutting edge modern design. Upholstery is clean-lined and simplified but carefully constructed and comfortable; coffee tables are monolithic, chicly understated and uncomplicated in design, harking to Minimalism for style inspiration.
Wall coverings, drapes and flooring are not often patterned but they tend to be visually or physically textural; specialist surface effects such as polished plaster, concrete or modern trompe-l’œil (Jean-Louis Deniot’s Nolinski Hotel lobby design is a fine example) may be used although they’re usually immersive and holistic to the overall scheme – not often used as feature walls. Collectable art furniture is also most relevant in a contemporary space as well as artwork which is key and often becomes the main focus of a space. Contemporary interior designers include Staffan Tollgard, Christian Liaigre and India Mahdavi; contemporary product designers include Lindsey Adelman, Lee Broom and Samuel Amoia.
Our Favourite Contemporary Brands
Restraint and composure are Casamilano's calling cards. The results are beautifully thought out, unpretentious collections with a tailored edge.
Informed by historic design with a modern twist, Opera Contemporary's aesthetic is a perfect blend of classic and new.
Kelly Wearstler's lighting collection introduces game-changing statement pieces and brings a luxurious twist to any interior space.
Header Image Credit: Casamilano