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The rise of patterns and the emergence of HDTV

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 by in design, furniture, interior design, Uncategorized

Over the past few years, pattern has grown more prevalent in interiors. I think this can be attributed this to several things:

  1. Pendulum swing. In the early part of this century design was dominated by simplicity, Real Simple Magazine and the basic upholstery covers in the Pottery Barn catalog. After all that plain-ness it’s only natural that we would crave something more interesting.
  2. Shifts in the textile industry. There are fewer US fabric mills these days and in the years leading to the decline, it’s only natural that the mills would stick to safe solids than risk their futures on an extreme pattern.
  3. The higher adoption rate of HD TVs. It may not seem immediately logical to attribute interior design trends to an entertainment technology, but I believe that the correlation is clear.

A few years ago Gene Gable (one of my favorite contributors to wrote a column on how printing technologies influenced interior design trends. Certain colors could be reproduced easier than others on an offset press (full-color printing). The featured examples all came from the mid-20th century (circa 1950 – 1975). Art directors at magazines would know what could be printed well and would select feature photos based on what would translate well to print. the public is influenced by and responds to the aesthetics presented to them in various media.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and images are clearer than ever. For the first time the television audience could see all the detail in the scenes presented to them. It’s easier to hide imperfections in patterns. When you photograph or film a solid field in high-resolution, every little speck shows up. Pattern disguises soil and imperfections. The clothing details of people filmed for HD TV shows up more clearly than it did on old tube TVs. The old rules of what you can wear on camera have started to evolve. The higher resolution of the technology has even allowed a few media creators to go wild with pattern. “Pushing Daisies,” a quirky show which aired on ABC from 2007 to 2009, incorporated pattern, often multiple patterns, in almost every scene. The phrase “pattern drunk” always came to mind when I watched the show.

I am really enjoy all the pattern that I’m seeing these days, whether it’s a lattice-like linear geometric designs, or a fun and funky flocked floral.

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