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2016 : A Year in Design

2016 : A Year in design

If you've been following us over the past 12 months you'll be familiar with our Design Insider email series. Our monthly publication is sent out to our loyal subscriber database and includes the latest insights into interior trends, product releases and designer news. In this article we're taking a look back at the topics that have created a buzz in 2016, based on our open & click through rates throughout the year. Not currently on our database? If you sign up here you'll also receive 10% off your next order online at Utility.


From the runway to the high street and interiors across the UK & Europe, 2016 has been a year dominated by Scandi influences. Whether it was the Pantone elected colours of the year, Rose Quartz & Serenity, the green hues of Nordic Folk or the light tones of the Natural Home trend, we’ve watched as our favourite publications and instagrammers embraced the tastes of Scandinavia.

As we head into the final weeks of 2016, the inspiration from our Northern European neighbours keeps coming as the UK embraces arguably the biggest trend of the year – the Danish lifestyle trend, Hygge.

Interior Trends from 2016


Rowan & Erwan Bouroullec followed a busy 2015 with the launch of their Palissade range of outdoor furniture for Danish design favourites, Hay. The immensely popular designs proved a massive hit with Utility customers and have been popping up in gardens across the UK (including the Chelsea Flower Show).

Among the brothers’ other notable designs this year is the flat pack style Can range for Hay. Inspired by the internet shopping culture of today, “the sofa comes flat-packed and is assembled at home as we believe people are keen to get things in a quick and simple way, it is better for all resources, it is less transportation, less volume, less stock, it is just much easier to do”.

The Bouroullec Brothers Palissade & Can Collections for Hay Design

The first annual Dezeen Hot List for designers was announced this year and topping the list was the Toronto-born Oki Sato, commonly known as Nendo. Whether you agree with the “Kardashian design cup for being liked” (as one Dezeen reader put it) style of the list, it is sentiment to the designer’s popularity and a fitting end to a year that saw him produce 50 chairs “based on Japanese Manga comics”.

Our favourite Nendo release of the year though is the plastic H-Horse rocking horse for Kartell. Make sure to check it out here.

Dezeen Hotlist for Designers favourite, Nendo

Marcel Wanders has provided a brilliantly festive end to the year with the launch of his Circus collection from Alessi. The bold, geometric and colour kitchenware collection includes 5 limited edition pieces, all of which capture the spectacle only found under the big top.

Marcel Wanders wonderful Circus Collection for Alessi

For all the great designs produced this year, 2016 may well be remembered for the untimely death of world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid. With a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, the “Queen of Curve” was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today.

RIP Zaha Hadid. 1950 - 2016

Special Releases

One of the more exciting launches of the year (for chair lovers anyway) was the reproduction by Carl Hansen & Son of the Hans Wegner CH22 chair of the 1950’s. Bearing the first actual model number from the first Wegner collection for CH, the CH22 launch was accompanied by the previously unknown CH26 chair that until 2016 had never gone into production.

Carl Hansen & Son CH22 & CH26 by Hans Wegner

For fans of Charles & Ray Eames (that’s all of us right?) 2016 also saw the release of a limited edition version of the classic Eames Lounge Chair in Twill, made to celebrate the chair’s 60th anniversary. Complemented by a shell in Santos Palisander the fabric brings a soft, warm and cosy appeal to the chair. In addition each chair comes with a marked 'plate' and leaflet celebrating its 60 years in production.

Limited Edition 60th Anniversary Twill Eames Lounge Chair

Blog Posts

As part of each Design Insider edition we send out, we include a number of our favourite blog posts from the month. Below are a selection of our readers' favourite posts from 2016. Happy reading!


The Hygge Edit Blog Post Why watches still matter. By the people who wear them. Tips to help you declutter your home.
Trend Alert : On My Eames Office Interior Styling for the Harvey Specter Look Utility's Mid-century Modern California Road Trip

Have you any design highlights for 2016? We'd love to hear via Facebook or Twitter

Time for more Utility? How to Declutter your home Get Your Home Winter Ready | Top 10 Gifts for Christmas

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