BY ANDRES ESCOBAR, PRINCIPAL
ANDRES ESCOBAR & ASSOCIATES
As with all forms of artistic expression, trends in design emerge when many artists work consecutively within a set point in time.
The product of the designer’s labor will potentially remain unaltered for many years, thereby reflecting the panache of its day long after its peak and remaining an influence over time.
The Art Deco period, for example, has long since passed, but the interiors of that period are celebrated, studied, carefully preserved and even mimicked in new construction.
Strong economic performance, particularly where real estate is concerned, often precedes a new period in architecture and design. Demand for new product results in both a “building boom” and a sharp increase in the number of commercial, industrial and institutional-to-residential conversion projects.
Suddenly there is a lot of space to be re-imagined, and new trends emerge.
New York is currently enjoying such a period of prolonged economic growth. Not surprisingly, a sharp increase in new construction and conversion projects has followed suit.
Whether or not a building is LEED certified, if it is newly constructed then it is bound to have elements that are green in both the functional and aesthetic senses. Designer fixtures with low-flow fittings and energy-efficient lighting have become highly prominent.
Popular finishes are often chosen because they contribute aesthetically in an environment which exalts the organic.
A good example is a generous use of stone, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Another is finishes made of wood–provided that wood is from a sustainable forest. Noble materials are abundant, including macassar ebony and other high-gloss finishes.
However, a picture already comes to mind when one considers which factors have come to define this as-yet unnamed period in architecture and interior design. It is a picture of New York itself in the first decade of a new millennium.
Its impact will be plain to see for generations to come.
Whatever the direction of the next period in design, it can only begin with the current period.
The city of the future will remember this moment in its history as one in which changing attitudes about sustainability dramatically redefined the environments in which New Yorkers live, and one which made those to come possible.
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