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Gentle Paradox

There is tremendous pressure to perform in today’s society, especially for young people. Combined with the many crises, it results in a sense of powerlessness. This causes some people to ‘freeze’; no longer able to take action. Taking good care of yourself and setting clear boundaries is therefore key, with quiet quitting as an excellent example. Besides this care for mental well-being, the difficult job market actually offers many possibilities, resulting in a Gentle Paradox.





Gentle Paradox in interiors
Contrast is what this trend is all about. In a calm interior, we find an abundance of round and soft shapes, with furniture that is sometimes made of unexpectedly hard materials. Hard, smooth materials alternate with soft structures, as if trying to soften the hard reality. Flowers often help to tone down the space and make it more ‘dreamy’. For example, by placing arrangements in corners or on the floor, against the wall. Arrangements are ‘cloudy’, often with transparent edges and also featuring dried flowers. Individual flowers add a sense of softness with their shape or subtly overflowing colours. A transparent character and soft leaves, in terms of colour and texture, are also important when it comes to plants.

Gentle Paradox in outdoor spaces
Outdoors, we also see a contrast between hard and soft. Round shapes are reflected in outdoor furniture, on terraces and in borders. The garden is dominated by circular shapes, kidney shapes and oval shapes that remind us of shingles or stones. Contrast is created by using rounded shapes and hard materials. In terms of plants, we also see an exciting interplay between compact, hard plants and soft, swaying grasses and cloud-like plants. Green plants are planted alongside flowering vegetation in pastel tints. The latter reinforces the dreamlike image that we also see in the interior. 

The trend’s product ingredients
As one would expect, the shapes in this trend are primarily round and spherical. Many of the products consist of a single compact shape without any individual details, with components appearing to have grown together or merged into one. There is an interchange between hard and soft materials. Marble, concrete, ceramics, plastic, fired tiles and natural stone are common elements, alternating with deep-pile carpet on floors and walls. Textiles also play a role, from pleated and ribbed to bouclé. In terms of patterns, the sky’s the limit, with everything from romantic floral patterns to abstract designs. But the colours are soft, with many gradient effects.

Gentle Paradox colour palette
The Gentle Paradox colour palette is soft and conveys a sense of tranquillity and harmony. Neutral colours and pastel tints alternate with a warm cognac colour. The shades of green are mostly found in flowers and plants.



Core values of this trend
Dreamy, soft and hard, full of contrast, surprising, endless, light, utopian and friendly.

Keen to find out more?
Read more about the other three Horticulture Sector Trends 2024: Meaningful Earth, Viva La Vida and Playful Construction. For more information, contact Monique Kemperman at mkemperman@bloemenbureauholland.nl.

May 2023