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Talking Trends: P/Kaufmann’s Mark Denecour

Next in our series Talking Trends, Kristen sat down with Mark Denecour, Director of Design, Wovens, at P/Kaufmann Contract. Mark has worked in the industry for over 30 years, most of those years in contract. He and Kristen spent some of those years working together back in their mill days. It was a treat to have Mark join us to talk trends.

We spoke to Mark while we were all still following our state’s stay-at-home orders. It was a strange experience to be talking about trends during a global pandemic. What trends were evolving before everything started? Does it even still matter? We can’t ignore that COVID-19 is impacting everyone’s daily life and will have a long-reaching impact on our lives and habits going forward. Right now, we’re not exactly sure what that will look like. Will these changes last? Which practices will we hold onto and what will we drop immediately? How long will we wear masks? What will normal look like on the other side of everything?

With all of this top of mind, we asked Mark Denecour, “What do you see right now for trends in contract?”

He answered by saying, “Well, pre-pandemic, I would have answered bright, happy colors and unexpected brights.” Also, a lot of peach, pink, coral, and a yellow/green pollen color. He added a lot of saturated reds, oranges, and terracotta, as well as an updated mauve. Mark described blues as the new neutral in the contract industry. “The equivalent of jeans, they go with everything.” Metallic is also seeing a big push, especially in small doses. A metallic element acts as a neutral, but gives the eyes a little visual stimulus when looking at a room.

As for pattern trends, Mark sees nature-inspired trends going strong. Stone and marble patterns with pleasing gradations, and spots of color. These types of patterns get color into a room without being overwhelming. They also add a level of comfort without sacrificing a decorative element.

Ikat inspired patterns continue to be a constant. They pop up in a wide range of different residential, healthcare, and hospitality interiors. Lately, in addition to ikat, shibori techniques are trending, especially the folded technique that creates a soft but precise geometric. Mark thinks handmade and cottage industry pieces always have a place, especially in hospitality markets. A handcrafted quality can elevate a look and bring sophistication to a project while staying at a lower price point.

Prints are continuing to grow in popularity, especially prints with a watercolor technique. The rise of digital textile printing has made it easier to print images with effects like watercolor. And from the viewpoint of production, manufacturers can print on demand and not hold inventory.

But it is hard to leave it all there, because we’re no longer in “pre-pandemic” life.

Like it or not, we’re in the middle of a massive shift. Throughout history, textiles always react to what the world is feeling. Crises ground people and stall trends, especially bright and happy ones. Yet, this is also a crisis that no one has experienced before. We have no frame of reference for how people will react.

Mark made an interesting observation. What’s unique about our current crisis is that it is forcing people to become nesters. And, when people nest, they tend to surround themselves with colors and items that comfort them. The residential side of the industry has been lagging in recent years, and Mark sees that begin to rebound. People will seek out comforts and look to invest in the spaces in which they’re spending so much time. It is also likely people will upgrade their home technology and their home offices.

In our shared spaces, this crisis is creating much change. In the office space, it is forcing companies to rethink how people share space and interact (or not) with each other. The recent trend of open flow offices could stall as companies focus on keeping people separate and distant. This sudden necessity could be an opportunity for textile companies as cubicles, office spaces, and room separators come back into the lexicon.

Hospitality spaces have been drawing from residential influences for many years, and Mark sees that continuing. He expects to see even more plush and soft seating in cool colors like aqua and mineral blue/green. Even in shared spaces, people seek comfortable, familiar interiors.  

Likewise, healthcare interiors are also heavily influenced by residential interiors. In recent years, facilities have been making their public spaces more hospitable and comforting for those receiving treatment. A comforting space also helps lower stress levels for family members, caregivers and hospital employees. Mark sees that trend continuing to grow. As frontline workers have become the heroes of this crisis, we’ve all been reminded of how vital their safety and mental health is.  

In all of these public spaces, Mark sees a focus on cleanability emerging. He can picture flat woven, easy to clean items making a resurgence, as well as new antimicrobial technology.  

Beyond trends, where does Mark get his inspiration?

Mark’s eye for design and keen sense of what is happening in the industry is inspiring, and so is the design work he creates. In large part, Marks looks to nature for inspiration Even though he lives and works in New York City, he seeks out nature whenever he can. Walking through Madison Square Park the day after it rains, he’s often snapping photos of small details. He’s created patterns from lichen on trees and the bark on elms. He also attends industry events and walks through “Trend Halls,” such as the one at Heimtex.

Thanks so much to Mark Denecour for taking the time to talk trends with us. As usual, his wealth of knowledge and experience is truly an inspiration.

Can’t get enough Talking Trends? Check out the full series.

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Kristin Crane

Kristin Crane has designed jacquard designs for the home furnishing and residential jobber market for many years, with mills in the US and in China. Today, she writes about pattern and design trends for Design Pool from her home in Providence, Rhode Island. When not writing about fabric, she can be found weaving in her home studio or hiking along the Rhode Island coast.


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