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Beyond pink hues, what is a ‘millennial aesthetic’ really about?

It’s more than just pink walls and Scandinavian hard-to-pronounce concepts.

In a recently published article, The Cut lamented about the seemingly omnipresent design that aims to appeal to millennials or members of Generation Y, that is to say people born in the 1980s and early 1990s, and wondered if and when something else would replace it. ETX Studio caught up with Vincent Grégoire of the trend forecasting agency NellyRodi to discuss the backlash to this widely adopted aesthetic.

This is not a great moment for millennials. At a time when the front page of Newsweek has struck back against the widespread adoption of “OK Boomer” with a very biting “OK Millennial,” The Cut has taken the design tastes of this generation to task in an article entitled “The tyranny of terrazzo: Will the millennial aesthetic ever end?” What does this vitriolic portrait say about the homes and interiors of this generation?

[Hero Image Credit: Amy Shamblen/Unsplash]

First up on the pillory is terrazzo, a floor material that interior design enthusiasts will certainly have taken note of over the last few years. In use since antiquity, terrazzo first emerged as a mixture of clay and crushed stone, which, by the time it came to feature in the floors of palaces and cathedrals in Venice, was mainly marble. Thereafter, it figured large in our grandparents’ kitchens in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was often known as “granito.” By the magic of fashion, around about 2010, it was rechristened terrazzo and went on to become as sought after as it ever had been in times past.

At its best, terrazzo can inspire creations like the Petit h Hermès tabletops and pendants that Nicolas Daul embedded with lapis lazuli, Sienna marble, jasper, bag jewelry and mother-of-pearl buttons from the famous French house’s collections. Swarovski has also created blocks of the material with chips of so-called “second-quality” crystals. However, the trend for terrazzo is such that it is no longer just a hard building material — it has also provided inspiration for endless speckled prints that have invaded floor coverings, walls, bags, and notebook covers.

So how did it become so successful? Is the rise of terrazzo solely driven by marketing magic? Perhaps not. “Terrazzo responds to a demand for new materials, and new mineralities,” explains Vincent Grégoire of Paris-based trend forecasting agency NellyRodi. “It is a heavy decorative element, but one that is reassuring. It also is kind of evocative of nougat.” The trend forecaster adds that this homemade upcycled aspect is one that is attractive to millennials: “it has a ‘crafty upcycling’ charm, you can make it yourself, and, a bit like a cake in that you can put whatever you want into it.” A homemade spirit combined with Italian splendor that is more than enough to win over young interior design fans.

As for colors, pink calls the tune. The venerable color-matching service Pantone named rose quartz as its color of the year in 2016, but it is important to remember that pink is no longer girly. “The color has become gender-fluid, and the boys have started to like it. Even rugby players have jumped on the bandwagon.” Along with its dominance in interior design, several brands, like Glossier, have seized on it to make it a trademark and signature.

The color is suggestive of well-being, serenity and kindliness, which millennials are sorely in need of. “It is a generation that is very subject to depression. They were born in a context of crisis and have no other point of comparison” explains the forecaster. No doubt, this also explains why millennial interiors are often marked by the presence of velvet, rugs and plump cushions and other cozy, reassuring elements.

In short, millennials need their comforts more than ever. And they need it most in their favorite room, which is the bedroom. “It is the center of their world. Even in small apartments, they tend to favor enormous beds” in which they watch their television series and eat their delivered take-out. A sense of crisis is also the point of departure for what often amounts to a profusion of house plants. “If they are there to suggest a jungle,” these leafy friends are also there to compensate for the state of the planet, which has fallen victim to global warming and other uncertainties.

As for furniture, Scandinavian design continues to reign eternal. Once again, the uncluttered lines of this furniture that came in from the cold offer an embodiment of kindliness, nature, and harmony, which as Vincent Grégoire points out is “the new neutrality.” This norm has been particularly well understood by UK-based made.com, which excels in all things neo-Scandinavian. Whereas there is still plenty of running left in Scandinavian design, it is worth noting that the trend is evolving and increasingly “bejeweled with marble, brass and other luxurious materials.”

Finally, one of the main concerns of millennials, and in particular at the outset of the new decade, is commitment to a cause. At a time when the hashtag #freethenipple, which demands equal exposure for male and female nipples, is making a splash on Instagram, boobs have become an increasingly common motif in our interiors.

However, for many, who may or may not support the movement, ownership of objects and prints with breast motifs is not representative of a deep conviction for the cause, but a simple desire to stay abreast of the times.

This article is published via AFP Relaxnews.

Beyond pink hues, what is a ‘millennial aesthetic’ really about?

Staff Writer

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