Trends 2019: Pumping up the Volumes

Trends 2019: Pumping up the Volumes
Designed by Álvaro Siza, the Capela do Monte chapel in Portugal’s Algarve region is a clean-lined ode to monumentalism.

From furnishings with heft to beautifully blocky buildings, oversized forms and inflated geometry are driving a major movement.

The directive to “go big or go home” is usually followed by an impetuous leap of faith, an act involving risk and even failure. But the design world’s budding embrace of monumentalism is nothing if not thoughtful, reflecting a desire to re-explore pure volumes (cylinders, cubes, pyramids) to maximum effect and in ways that meet the needs of today.

Spanish architecture firm MAIO’s 22 Dwellings residential project in Barcelona features a ground level composed of solid volumes in a variety of geometric shapes.

Take the 22 Dwellings Housing Block designed in Barcelona not long ago by MAIO Architects, a homegrown firm. The ground floor is made up of massive, multi-hued forms whose role is more than ceremonial. Each outsized slab, cylinder and circle has a function – sheltering a doorway, framing a staircase – that its voluminousness addresses both boldly and effectively. With 22 Dwellings, a project that combines artistry and domesticity with rare skill, the architects seem to be telling the world: “Go big and go home.”

Robust columns in a selection of marbles (including the white Carrara pictured) anchor Agapecasa’s Loico shelf by Angelo Mangiarotti.

Egg Collective’s Nutty magazine rack and Isla coffee table are part of the New York studio’s latest furniture explorations.

It’s a message that’s resonating. Among this year’s new furniture releases, Agapecasa’s Loico shelving (anchored by sturdy marble columns) and Egg Collective’s Isla coffee table (as chunky as it is charming) are chips off the new blockiness. GRT Architects’ Flutes & Reeds tile collection for Hungary’s Kaza Concrete, meanwhile, plays with trompe l’oeil effects by inflating and repeating lozenge motifs to create wild cross-sectional mash-ups.

Evoking Greek columns, the Flutes & Reeds tile collection was designed by GRT Architects for Budapest’s Kaza Concrete.

Fernando Mastrangelo’s Drum comes in a number of materials, including copper or silver B.B. pellets (silver is shown).

The increasing experimentation with overgrown forms speaks, well, volumes about where design is headed: The attention to shape and scale goes hand in hand with a return to honest material palettes – stone, concrete, steel – and with a refreshing aesthetic idealism. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Instagram account of Cape Town digital artist Alexis Christodoulou, who creates imaginary spaces composed of neoclassical shapes in pastel hues. The tableaux feel timeless and dreamy yet utterly convincing, like de Chirico paintings for our modern moment. When a trend goes meta in this way, it has captured the zeitgeist as well as hearts and minds. This one will only grow larger.


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This story was taken from the October 2018 issue of Azure. Buy a copy of the issue here, or subscribe here.

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