Over our travels in the past year, one of our favorite emerging design trends is the graphic pattern trend. These angular prints are slowly overtaking more organic and natural patterns, and there’s good reason for it! Despite the seeming simplicity of using geometric shapes in design, these prints add a statement to a room. They also add texture, depth, and rhythm, making interiors more captivating. Besides, there are near-infinite different shape combinations that can be put together. This level of flexibility means that these simple shapes can evoke all different kinds of emotional responses.
As such, it’s no surprise that we saw these graphic patterns used in design worldwide. In this article, we look at some of the environments that sparked this trend. We also delve into examples of interiors using graphic geometric patterns. To finish, we showcase some custom carpet designs that jump on board this trend. You’ll also find a selection of mood boards that act as inspiration for your next project focusing on graphic patterns.
Inspiration from Architecture Across the Globe
If you want to design a geometric interior, one of the best places to gain design inspiration is from the world itself. On our travels, we passed many energizing spaces in line with this movement. For example, the Cité Radieuse in Marseille by Le Corbusier is a blocky housing development. The repeated pattern of square windows and balconies can easily be incorporated into an interior. Its parallel lines and different-sized rectangular blocks have a tiled effect that is straightforward to replicate. The use of color in the Cite Radieuse is also important to note. The architect put panels of blue, green, red, and yellow against the mainly white building. This gives inspiration as to how color can also be incorporated into a geometric design for greater impact.
Another example of this is the beach huts of Muizenberg in Cape Town. They rely on color and repetition for a graphic element. The huts repeat continuously along the beach, creating an alternating pattern. The sloping roofs, angled steps, and square doors in bold colors are eclectic and playful against the white sand.
The City of Arts & Sciences in Valencia also showcases graphic architecture. The planetarium of the building is a half-sphere domed concrete structure. Large angular “wings ” extend from this,” showing how curved and straight shapes and lines can harmonize. Many repeated elements are used in this design, too. Recurring white triangles make up a structure that sits aside the Palau De Les Arts. Similarly, duplicated white arches standing nearly 50 feet tall make up the Umbracle entrance to the garden. You can read more about this contemporary space here.
Graphic Art and Design in Streets and Galleries
Art and design is another great place to draw inspiration from. On our street art tour in Johannesburg, graphic design is everywhere. Many different artists have contributed to the urban landscape, so it showcases the many unique takes on this trend. The city’s streets are lined with impressive, bold, and vibrant murals, offering a huge amount of originality and creative vision. Many of the artists have used graphic shapes in their work. Several use conventional African patterns in bright, vibrant colors for a contemporary twist on tradition. Triangles, in particular, are used frequently in many pieces. Some are used in rhythmic and repetitive ways, whereas other artists have abstractly used shapes.
The Valerie Traan Gallery in Belgium is another great place to look. The gallery features furniture designed by Muller Van Severen. Her work has a distinct graphic element, from the perfectly circular table to the simple angular chairs. These pieces work great by themselves, but when put together, they are even more effective. The use of soft and harsh edges together creates an aesthetically pleasing combination. You can read more about this space and a few of our other favorite galleries in Belgium here.
Vibrant & Lively Restaurant Interiors
Many interior designers have used this graphic pattern trend in their projects. In particular, geometric patterning and shapes are seen in restaurant interiors across the globe. One example is the Nando’s restaurant in Johannesburg – the first-ever venue for this popular chain. The interior features several elements of African design, which traditionally calls on geometric tribal patterning. As the design holds cultural significance, the space is visually pleasing and emotionally connects to diners.
Our next stop is in Spain, another culture that uses bold patterns and colors frequently. Masquespacio is the creative brains behind two vibrant restaurants in Valencia: Kento and Kaikaya Sushi. For both of these interiors, they have incorporated distinctive graphic elements within this pattern trend. In Kento, wooden panels line one wall while the pillars are covered in glossy repeating tiles. Juxtaposing these parallel lines, Masquespacio introduced circular stalls and round light fittings. In Kiakaya Sushi, mosaic square tiles that line the bar are combined with circular raffia circles. The interior also houses rounded booths for dining that are edged in square tiling and repetitive rectangular wall paneling. Masquespacio’s work at both these venues shows how soft and harsh lines work together in harmony.
Heading over to Brussels, Buddy Buddy Café offers another example of how the graphic pattern trend can be introduced into interiors. This time, the designers have cleverly split the space into two using color rather than having several repeating elements or shapes. The division runs from the floor, walls, and ceiling – one half is white and the other terracotta. All pieces of furniture on either side are in the same tone. This distinct two-tone separation is offset with rounded stalls, tables, and arched windows.
Custom Carpet Designs Featuring Graphic Patterns
We took inspiration from our travels to make stunning custom carpets that feature graphic patterns. For our modern graphic carpet, our inspiration came from the tomb of Ramses III in Egypt. Echoing the columns found in the temple, the base of our carpet features vertical stripes and circles. We selected pinks, blues, and orange tones inspired by the tomb for its main colors for our design. Despite our inspiration coming from an artifact from the ancient world, the result is a modern, contemporary, and fun carpet pattern.
Our wavy carpet pattern offers a more abstract take on this design movement, inspired by the Soviet architecture in Yerevan. The wavy pattern has a more hand-drawn and raw finish rather than having clean edges and a clear rhythmic feel. Counterbalancing these wavy loops are harsh angular lines for added interest. We continued with creating more abstract graphic patterns for our 80s linear carpet. Inspired by the Muizenberg beach huts already mentioned, this carpet takes on similar colors and angles of the rooves and stairs. However, instead of using fixed shapes, the entire design is made from straight lines. It has a distinct retro and nostalgic element to it.
Graphic Pattern Mood Boards for Interior Inspiration
We created several mood boards using our graphic carpet patterns as the base to offer inspiration for your next design project. Our Edfu Temple-inspired mood board has a clear geometric influence. As the backdrop, we use the Morocco carpet featuring a repetitive zig-zag pattern. We layered mainly blue and brown materials in varying textures to give this bold carpet its rightful glory. Additionally, we added a few patterned pieces. Clashing different patterns in this way can create a design statement that you can use for your interiors. When done right, it can work extremely well, especially if relying on the same color palette.
Pairing our funky carpet with neutral materials for this Gyumri-inspired mood board also works for graphic interiors. In this instance, we stuck with green and yellow for the pattern. Yellow tiling nicely juxtaposes the curved carpet design, while the combination of textures adds depth. This mood board could easily be recolored to use entirely different tones, highlighting the versatility of graphic patterns in design. Using these as inspiration for your next project is bound to create a modern and memorable environment that can be as playful or quiet as you wish.