Exclusive: Ambiente 2020 sets the trend in luxury home décor 
By : | March 11, 2020


It was that time of the year when the entire design firmament, particularly designers of luxury home décor, dining, lighting et al accessories and products, were wearing the Ambiente badge and heading to the maze of pavilions. Our report on the trends that will dominate the year.


 Ambiente 2020 had sustainability and green living stamped all over it. While it displayed contemporary flair, timeless elegance was the thread that tied it together. Diverse yet unified in the uncompromising quest for quality was the link that distinguished the recently concluded Ambiente 2020.

 Our trends 2020 report from Ambiente 


Image credit : Messe Frankfurt Gmbh/Petra Welzel for image(superglas)


All eyes were trained on the research curated by design studio Stilburo bora.herke.palmisano for Messe Frankfurt. The studio created an individualistic identification, among over 4500 exhibitors. This year the three themes selected by them included shaped+softened, precise+architectural and artistically+diverse. 

 Soft shapes and emphatic contours render a sculptural quality to functional furniture. The effect is enhanced with a neutral palette of colors such as grays and whites. The surfaces are smooth or textured with glass in various hues. 

 The precise+architectural is in the domain of high-quality materials. The color tones are inspired rusts, tones of brick and cement, float glass green and the blue of the evening sky. Terrazzo, polished or blackened wood, glass, steel, bronze and surfaces with a matt or a subtle finish go with leather, cord, tweed and velour in geometric patterns.

 The third, namely the artistically+diverse style transforms the living space as an extension of the individual, a personal collage with artistic character. The palette uses vibrant colors—bright orange, fruity raspberry, milky colors, honey and sky-blue. The look is paradoxically playful in a controlled manner. While the hallmark is the unconventional use of multidisciplinary mediums, the take away is the unique imprint of the person.

 Brazil, take a bow!


Image Credit : Messe Frankfurt Gmbh Pietro Sutera

 Brazil was the chosen one to display its design narrative. Focus on Design featured stunning products from five designers. The emphasis was on quirky aesthetics that livened the story. Chairs that capture color, creativity and fun elements by Sergio J. Matos, Rain, Brunno Sahara and Bianca Barbato. The center tables shaped in a small puddle like pool tables with a reflective glass surface were one of the exhibits. The playful spin-off for the tables is a tiny ladder, in metal, to match the rim and legs of the table.

Rodrigo Almeida’s Constructivist armchair formed part of his Peltogyne Purpurea Wood Collection. The modernist design still has a massive impact in Brazil. Almeida turned his eye to the Russian Constructivism and Bauhaus, which influenced the emergence of modernism. Also on display was The Naus (ships) armchair rooted deeply in Brazilian culture. The Macacos stool is his interpretation of Brazilian traditional indigenous stools. Forest animals are rendered in zoomorphic shapes. The high-quality wood which is sourced from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts has a natural purple shade.

 Horeca Hall

 The burgeoning latency of the dining section for Hotels, Restaurants and Catering at Ambiente 2020 saw a dedicated HoReCa-focussed Hall. Said Nicolette Naumann, VP Ambiente, “We are seeing a worldwide hospitality boom right now. As trade-fair organizers, we realized its potential some years ago and the opening of the HoReCa Hall makes Ambiente more than ever a leading international front of the house platform.” This saw an increase this year to around 650 from 23 nations. 

Image credit : Messe Frankfurt GmbhPetra Welzel for image(100% recyclable)


The HoReCa Hall zeroes in on the need to address specialised offerings in the hospitality segment globally. The decision-makers received their booster not just in the overlap of table and kitchenware, but the trends in the lifestyle collection that the immense ‘Giving and Living’ options held. Fueled with ongoing interactive sessions at the HoReCa academy, the insights of say the community way of bonding and human touch by Asma Khan (Darjeeling Express in London) were refreshing. 

Her unprecedented experience of perfect strangers bonding food and insisting on picking the tab for the other’s food or her advice on how to complement the dishes, as you would at home, and her curating of the food with love were the takeaways. The restaurant now manages luggage for their patrons who indulge in a repast before heading for work-related travel.

Sustainability was center-stage at Ambiente, as demonstrated by Steelite. They presented a teak buffet using a material with natural properties that offer resistance to harmful substances. This has increased the life of the product were their solution.

 To tattoo is the trend 

Image credit: Messe Frankfurt Gmbh

 It’s all about digital branding in Dining and Living for 2020. Tattoos are a style statement today. It has become de rigour to admire and discuss the nuances of the design aesthetics and techniques of the art of tattoo. Tattoo designs on tableware and dining/livingware have been a huge influence at Ambiente 2020. It is a spin-off that began with Gucci endorsing tattoos as the next chic extension of a fashion high. 

Image credit : Messe Frankfurt Gmbh/Pietro Sutera  for image (trends decor area)

The big brands Ritzenhoff and Royal Delft have caught on. No longer are tattoos stereotyped with a fashion association; they have been elevated as art embraced by Haute Maisons celebrating craftsmanship, symbolism and tradition.


Of talent and knowledge

 Young talents have honed their skills on the Ambiente platform to interpret the melange of products. Be it urban or rustic, they were all suggestively displayed. The Conzoom.Solutions took Ambiente from a ‘war for talents’ to a content provider for skilled labour and facilitated staffing for the multi-faceted consumer goods industry. The knowledge-based platform’s service has been associated with a wide range of studies on products, trends, workshops and guidelines for point of sale which are a boon for retailers.

Image credit: Messe Frankfurt Gmbh/Pietro Sutera  for image (lights)

 Whether it is Wabi-Sabi or Japandi, the expansive Ambiente roof had interactive sharing for the latest design ideas. The focus was on the socio-cultural identity in design. The offshoots were solutions, such as the one for those who watch TV in not perhaps the ideal posture. Whether it was the tactile quality of premium textiles or the warmth of wood, the experience is sensory. Herein the spotlight was on authenticity, origin, sustainability with lifestyle gurus, artisan studios and young labels at their innovative best. Exhibitors such Tafelstren stood out for using a material imitating slate or even tree bark. The Portuguese Vista Alegre declared their hallmark “Pantone” as the color of the year. The classic blue was trailed throughout Ambiente 2020’s top-notch exhibits. 

 Let there be light

 Ambiente had Blomus, Guaxs, Scholtissek and the sturdy Serax with their latest offerings. The trade fair brought out the best in all exhibitors, yet the Scandinavian design sophistication continued to be the alpha and omega. Be it pioneer Normann Copenhagen or the outdoor Swedish carpet brand Pappelia or EO from Denmark with their products for kids, it was all there.

 Lighting is serious business. The Living section had the Swarovski Home collection sparkle vying alongside rows of visual delights from Turkey and Europe. This was a Universe that could be explored for hours on end. 

 Tech, trend and human need

 The underlining factor identified for 2020 was ‘Technology, Trend and Human Need’. The coconut fibre scourers by Green Pioneer, for one, indicated practicality and eco-friendly products ruling the roost. Straws, by Halm, that is dishwasher safe made their way to the trade fair’s Ethical Style Guide. Only those with socially responsible credentials made the cut.


 The spotlight was on the aesthetics being used in an intelligent manner. Brands such as Tramark displayed their products in versatile pushcarts. The carts showed off food or merchandise to advantage instead of static displays. From lightweight cutlery that was easy to fold, the innovations were there for the asking. 

 Ambiente 2020 had it all. From path-breaking innovations of the highest standards to installations that defined creative execution to the refreshing insights of young students from Fonty’s University of applied sciences, Netherlands. 

 Trend research and concept creation in lifestyle

 Offbeat trends dominated—Eschew baggage for a single-piece jacket that had pockets to contain all you might need on your trip. Sustainable material such as bamboo was used in an edgy manner for a stool and other furniture. The oscillating Matryoshka paper-mache designed by Ichino in Japan or quirky, colourful simple chairs which playfully highlighted functionality—furniture completely redone!

 Made 51 and World Fair Trade

 Made 51 UNHCR home decor and fashion items had many new lines handcrafted by refugee artisans. Intricately beaded covers for bottles and jewelry were displayed among the minimalists embroidered garments that highlight the handwork of refugees who are able to support themselves thanks to Made 51.


World Fair Trade spells its message in its products. The home of fair trade enterprises, its objective is to provide opportunities for disadvantaged producers, transparency fair payment equally for genders, no child labor and good working conditions. The foundation is driven to be respectful to the environment while ensuring the inclusion of the community and perpetuating the tradition of its crafts. 

 Young entrepreneur Selyn from Sri Lanka fulfills these parameters as part of her DNA. Her home products are all part of the narrative, but it is her storybooks that indicate the effort. Not just are they laboriously sewn but they have helped revived home hand-loom traditions. The appliques and beehive pop-ups challenge the participation of the child. Fairtrade could be about chocolate of crocheted finger puppets or the embroidery unique to the artisans essential for their survival but marketed on their merit. My takeaway was the tart delectable pink ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate. If this is what healthy and Fair Trade is about, it’s time to make the world a better place.




Nextrade, the order and data platform did brisk business at Ambiente 2020. With the shadow of the Coronavirus and Storm Ciara looming large, the rollout of the international platform provided 800 leads from across the world. The Chinese are the most notable buyers and participants at the fair and at major international fairs. Nextrade’s networking access to the top brands has the advantage of carrying forward through the year. Further, the global biggies have evinced interest in using the B2B gateway on a permanent basis to showcasing their offerings. 

 The five-days of Ambiente enabled conversations with hundreds of visitors, strengthening the digital narrative ahead. The platform that is free for retailers. With a few weeks of the soft launch in 2019, the platform saw 60 suppliers with over 120,000 products on a timeline that cuts across global time zones.


Joanne Pereira, based in Mumbai, India, began as a writer for over three decades ago. She brings to the table her understanding of the hospitality industry having looked after Public Relations for leading Hotels like The Leela and Oberoi Hotels Mumbai. She also carries with her an insight into corporate functioning having been the Corporate Communications Manager for Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., one of India's leading automobile conglomerates. Joanne has over the last decade been writing in the luxury lifestyle space, destinations, travel and food.