What is it in the pandemic that has ushered in nostalgia for the ’70s, sometimes referred to as “the decade that style forgot”?
After being confined for so long, maybe it’s that period’s sense of fun — the age of disco, boho and liberation — that we need now. There were economic struggles then, just as there are today, but there was a sense of optimism with the growth of travel and technology. There was also a sense of curiosity and willingness to experiment and play, making it a free-for-all when it comes to style and decorating.
So there was joy in mixing bold, graphic patterns and being open to ethnic cultures with their handcrafted curios, which also sparked a lot of DIY like macramé objects.
A need for connection to nature brought the outdoors in with lots of rattan furniture, potted plants, wood and stone paneling. It was actually a very eclectic era since nothing was off limits, from adopting historical styles to embracing the new technology available.
For Elizabeth Leriche, trend forecaster at Maison & Objet, “there is a nostalgia for those happy years when everything is allowed, but pushed forward in terms of values so that it is updated for our era.”
She observes that there is a quest for a less formal, more relaxed and friendlier way of life. In what she calls a “’70s Remix,” shapes are more generous and more enveloping to respond to our desire for comfort and the need for relaxation after all the stress from the outside world.
With furniture, there is a predilection for low seating and the desire to lounge just as cushions on floors and beanbags were popular in the ’70s,
After an era of pared-down neutrals, colors come back in a range of ecru, amber, orange, celadon, sky and electric blue. With furniture, there is a predilection for low seating and the desire to lounge just as cushions on floors and beanbags were popular in the ’70s, as was the sunken lounge, which was the center of the home where everyone would congregate in an open floor plan that seems to be catching on now with WFH and everything else done from home, from exercising to schooling.
Thus, Ligne Roset’s 1973 Togo sofa is popular again because it’s like a giant cushion that you just throw on the floor — so conducive to relaxing with the family.
The company’s reissued Asmara is also a hit because its concave shapes hug the contours of the body, while its modular nature caters to the home’s need for flexibility. Designed by the French architect Bernard Govin in 1966, he related how “even when we had seats, we lolled on the floor. It was a symbol of nonconformity and the primal urge to reconnect with the earth by rolling in the grass.”
Generous, rounded shapes of foam rubber seating from Cinna are another ultra-comfortable option upholstered in velvet, which is the fabric of the moment, just as it was in the ’70s. Their Pukka line has its roots with Gaetano Pesce, who paid homage to the sponge, which fascinated him because of the way it always sprang back into shape.
These soft shapes are counterbalanced by more graphic silhouettes like the cone and disc marble tables of La Chance from France or the solihiya and wood tables of Mejore, a Philippine exporter.
For a nice contrast, the geometric lighting of another exporter, Venzon Lighting, is also ideal, as is the collection from English studio Square in Circle. Cebu’s Vito Selma has a pendant light with hexagon pattern that has the ’70s vibe.
With many pieces, there is a sensuality of shapes, curves and counter curves that can be seen in the patterns of rugs at Covet House and the fabrics at Casamance. A nod to contemporary art and Op Art is also prevalent in ’70s Remix, as seen in “Pluto” of Rugs Society and in the abaca rugs of Weave Manila.
Tubular accessories are another feature of this theme, from the Anna Torfs glass creations that play on color with electric blues and oranges to the lacquered lights of Poland’s Pani Jurek in blues and grays.
For something more glitzy, there are stainless steel and gold metal light fixtures from Delightfull and Brabbu Design that transport you back to a ’70s dance club.
In a more inflated version like sausages, the tubular becomes more neotenic and childlike, almost eliciting a chuckle the way La Manufacture’s Soufflé mirror does.
It’s really a fun theme, after all, “a more colorful universe, more audacious and very young,” says Leriche. Qualities our homes could definitely use right now.