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Black is More: A Dramatically Dark Design Trend

Trend Report

The creative world is embracing black as never before — making it strikingly clear that, when it comes to modern design, a dark mood can be a beautiful thing.


Modern design has always had a soft corner for black, but can anyone remember black taking center stage so emphatically? From elegant dinnerware (like iittala's Teema collection, above) to brooding interior schemes, the design world is trending dramatically dark. Less is more, to be sure, but, at the moment, all signs are pointing towards more—and more—black.

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Black lighting may seem like a contradiction in terms, but don't tell that to Philippe Starck, whose Bourgie Lamp for Kartell is dressed to kill in all-black. David Trubridge's iconic Coral Pendant Light may be better known in its natural bamboo state, but looks no less striking in basic black, while the Notch Sconce by Rich Brilliant Willing, above, is a piece of black gold.

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A silhouette is best rendered in pure black, and Kartell's Masters Chair illustrates the point handsomely. Anyone who thinks Scandinavian design is all light wood and neutral tones should see MENU's Turning Table and Artek's iconic Stool 60, ever Nordic cool in coal-black. And the Gus* x Pendleton Elk Chair cuts a downright majestic figure, thanks to its dark monochromatic profile.

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Dare to go all-black with Piet Hein Eek's Burnt Wood Wallpaper for NLXL, dark contemporary wallpaper at its most sophisticated. Abstract motifs by Flavor Paper and Tempaper inject a retro vibe, but keep things sober with predominantly dark tones. And Graham & Brown offers a brooding twist on traditional flock with subtle black-on-black patterns.

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Given their graphic presence, black decorative objects seduce the eye—and designers are taking note. Nanimarquina makes a case for inky black with the ravishing Tres Rug, above, guaranteed to make the floor a focal point. Tom Dixon's Bump Cone Vase , MENU's black marble Norm Wall Clock and W&P Design's Pineapple Cocktail Shaker prove that black in small doses holds plenty of allure.

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