When designing events in 2022, it will be all about comfort and hominess.
“We’re really focused on environments that feel like home. We want comfortable environments, and our attendees want to be comfortable now that they’re venturing back out into events and shows and meetings,” says Kevin Dana, Executive Director of Merchandising and Product Development for CORT Events.
Dana discussed the biggest event design trends we can expect to see in 2022 during a recent webinar, hosted by Special Events magazine.
“ trends are going to make an impact,” Dana said. “They’re going to reflect what’s happening in our society, in our culture, and in our economy.”
The macro trends
2022 will be defined by a trio of design styles that evoke a sense of calm through eclectic use of color, layers, patterns, and fabrics.
“It’ll be about mixing all sorts of elements together to create a new look that is a little more refined,” Dana says.
First up is modern bohemian, which will leave behind the stark, modern looks that have become so popular in recent years, and instead will be embracing a reimagined traditional design sensibility.
By utilizing traditional craftsmanship and materials, inspired by natural elements, modern bohemian, including the Danish modern style, creates a contemporary design through its emphasis on mixed materials including wood, metal, and marble.
Art deco utilizes classic simple forms in seating, with curvy, elegant shapes that are romantic and luxurious when upholstered with lush fabric and velvet that complement natural woods. More, eclectic layering of geometric patterns and shapes helps to create a dramatic and sophisticated aesthetic.
The final trend for 2022 is retro modernism, which incorporates bold patterns and vibrant colors reminiscent of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Additionally, rich textured fabrics are juxtaposed with masculine elements, such as black metal, marble and granite, wood and metallics. Prints and patterns are also a defining element of retro modernism.
Let’s talk color
There’s no denying the role color plays in evoking the mood and tone of a space.
“Colors have power,” Dana says. “They make you feel things, they make your attendees feel things.”
There will be a sense of dichotomy when talking color as we move into 2022 since the trending colors will sit on two different sides of the spectrum: warm and comforting on one end and bold and vibrant on the other.
“It’s just how people are feeling right now,” says Dana. “On the one end you have those calming colors that really help put us in a place where we’re feeling more comfortable, but on the other you have the bright colors that add energy to a space. It just depends on how people want to experience an event.”
Varying shades of green are poised to be the top colors of 2022 since they pair so well with just about anything.
“Green is a color that plays with most other hues,” Dana says.
On the cozy side, expect to see basil, moss, olive, sage and avocado; whereas on the more vibrant end you’ll see chartreuse, kelly, moody forests, and emeralds.
Cool and warm blue tones continue to be a design staple; providing a sense of much needed serenity, with such shades as midnight and navy. Expect blue-gray to also make a prominent play.
Warm neutrals & comforting earth tones
Additional colors that help bring in the sense of calm include warm neutrals (ivory, cream, beige, and taupe), as well as rustic reds and soft orange tones (adobe, terracotta, mocha, salmon, and coral).
Bright & bold
On the other end of the color spectrum will be dramatic and colorful jewel tones and bright hues that will add energy and vibrancy.
2022 will be all about cozy and comfortable fabrics (boucle, faux sheep fur, chenille, shaggy upholstery, and velvet) on furnishings that embrace their curves, including large sectionals.
“The biggest story in fabrics right now is textures,” Dana says. “These are the fabrics that feel like they’re giving you a warm hug. And they work well with curvilinear furnishings since it’s a softer look. It marries well with the fabrics.”
Modular seating in curvy configurations allow guests to spread out or sit near other attendees, depending on their comfort levels.
The biggest design concepts in 2022 for meetings and events will be sanctuary seating, outdoor spaces, charging stations and accessories. Here we take a look at a few of them.
Ottomans & side tables
2022 will see a lot of designers embracing the power of small furnishings within event and meeting spaces, specifically ottomans and side tables since they allow for plenty of flexibility in terms of colors and shapes.
Most importantly, they put the power of the event in the hands of guests.
“It’s really a great piece of furniture to have in a design because guests and attendees can move them around,” Dana says. “That’s even more important now as guests decide how they want to be in a space, and this allows them to bring a table or ottoman with them.
“You can allow your guests to experience the event the way they want to, they can create impromptu moments for networking, for collaborating and connecting.”
Personalization will be a defining feature in meetings and events in 2022. For starters, sanctuary (or owned) seating will be increasingly in demand as attendees look to have a space that is theirs for the duration of the event. Cabaret-style seating will replace the traditional classroom and theater style seating of years past during conferences.
Another way to give attendees a more personalized experience is to invest in furnishings with charging stations built right in given that our increasingly technological society isn’t going anywhere.
“Our devices aren’t going anywhere, so it’s more important than ever to stay connected,” Dana says. “So why not incorporate it into the furniture?”
Accessories will also play a key role in personalizing a space, examples could include adding branded pillows and rugs, or installing greenery to bring a bit of the outside in.
“These can help get the theme of your event out there, while setting the mood,” says Dana.
“As we design, we need to think about that because that’s what’s really driving the industry now. Creating these environments that really feel like home.”