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Trends for New Millennium
Friday, July 23, 1999
By MAXINE GINSBERG, Home Editor
titans have decreed that stainless steel is the prime metal with which
to enter the new millennium. And previously inert home furnishings
will be on the move. There were other surprises on view at the Design
Center of the Americas (DCOTA), in Dania, when the twin-towered Mecca
for design industry professionals hosted a two-day glimpse into the
future called Design 2000 - Blueprint for the Future.
Two designers on hand for the event are taking the advent of the millennium
Mario Buatta, known as the Prince of Chintz, was in a melancholy mood
as he predicted the new millennium would bring the end of interior
design as it has been.
"The design schools are limiting their teaching to the twentieth century,"
said Buatta, who gave the keynote presentation on Saturday. "Design
students are no longer getting the exposure to and benefit of what
came before. They are producing bits-and-pieces, fleamarket decorating
with not much imagination."
New York-based Buatta recalled the trips to Europe that design students
used to take to study classic architecture. He noted how valuable
is the study of past masters and lamented the meager frame of reference
possessed by the current crop of designers and students. "They don't
even know who Billy Baldwin was," he said. He expressed sadness that
current society has provided few role models for people to emulate
in dress and interior design.
But Buatta is working on his third generation of design customers,
the youngest of whom do want to emulate the good taste of their parents
and grandparents, but with modern variations, he said.
Since furniture designer Jordi Estape's bread and butter is classic
design, adapting to new-age trends are not on his agenda. A graduate
of art school in Barcelona and business school in California, the
San Diego-based artist/entrepreneur specializes in large-scale, carved
furniture with original finishes.
Estape said he originated the four-column bed to counter the ubiquity
of canopies and four-posters. A staff of 250 artisans execute his
patented designs, done in birch and alder, which he manufactures in
Mexico, shows at High Point, N.C., and ships all over the United States,
Europe, Canada and the Mid-East.
High tech is not a factor in a manufacturing process that relies more
on Old World techniques than modern advances, he said.
"I look to Greek, Egyptian and other Mediterranean cultures for inspiration
for my designs," he said.
Yet there's one concession to the modern age. The large-scale headboards
and footboards have been engineered to disconnect from the hefty end
columns for easier delivery to condominiums.
Although DCOTA is primarily a trade-only merchandise facility, members
of the public can arrange to discuss their design projects with professional
designers in the Designer On Call program who will accompany them
to appropriate showrooms.