Trendspotting: Urban styling brings grit and grey to the fore

City skylines, iconic landmarks, street signs and public transport maps are inspiring patterns, colours and textures.

A handout photo of Mind the Gap Digitally Printed Designer Wallpaper Panel by Adrienne Chinn Design and ATADesigns (Courtesy: Adrienne Chinn Design and ATADesigns)
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A few weeks ago I wrote about a wave of trends that has a strong urban appeal, with elements of concrete, graffiti and erosion appearing in product and interior design, and grey being established as a new neutral.

In an intensely urbanised world, this trend takes inspiration from contemporary youth culture, the latest in digital technology and the fast pace of change that has become the norm. The future cityscape is dynamic, diverse and in constant development, with change, transformation and flexibility emerging as key themes.

The new city environment is continually evolving, with architects, designers and even retailers striving to create unique environments that engage the end user and create feelings of relevance and interactivity. With the world's first pop-up mall set to open in London's Shoreditch later this year and brands from Marmite to Stella McCartney regularly creating temporary spaces, pop-up, or flash retail, continues to grow, becoming an established form of sales and marketing - the embodiment of our high-speed, regenerative culture.

For interiors this means a fabulous period of urban styling during which we will see city street textures such as concrete, tarmac and brick that are uneven and worn away. Meanwhile, the high-shine surfaces of mirrored and metal furniture are becoming tarnished and lightly corroded. Banksy's work continues to influence with a strong graffiti presence; it is seen scrawled across furniture (think Jimmie Martin), lighting and wall coverings, making a bold statement.

City skylines, iconic landmarks, street signs, and even Underground and Metro maps also provide inspiration for surface pattern design, applied across product areas from textiles and lighting to ceramics.

The designer Adrienne Chinn's work epitomises this trend. Adrienne launched Urban London, her exclusive range of wallpapers, rugs and fabrics, earlier this year, and the collection will make its public debut at London's 100% Design show next month.

Adrienne says she was inspired by "the things we walk by every day but ignore or discount - the grilles, graffiti, manhole covers and pavement marks. The more I looked, the more I saw: patterns, textures, colours. I went looking for beauty in unlikely places and I'm happy to say I found it. So many of us live in urban environments of buildings and concrete and we dream of escape to the country. But I say, 'Look around you'. The beauty may not be as obvious but it is there, and it's all the more appealing for its hidden quality."

Adrienne's work takes on a far more gritty street style than we've seen in the past, which sits well within our forecasts for a look that is "real" and packed with attitude. Her next print collections, Zoo and Kew, are in development and are a softer, but still edgy mix of the urban and the natural, inspired by London's flora and fauna.

Shelley Pond is the creative director of the trend forecasting company Scarlet Opus. For more information, visit or To contact Adrienne Chinn call 0044 208 516 7783 or email For further information on 100% Design visit