Shoppe Object Co-Founders Minya Quirk and Deirdre Maloney on the Home Trends That Will Dominate in 2020
Fresh off their latest home and gift showcase, the experts share the interior design motifs to watch in the new decade.
Twice a year, a cavernous warehouse on Manhattan's Lower East Side is gridded with white-walled booths—and filled with home goods and gifts galore. This is Shoppe Object, a trade show dedicated to the makers and shakers of the design world. The showcase, held at Pier 36, is often the harbinger of design trends to come, which makes two of its co-founders, Minya Quirk and Deirdre Maloney, the interior space's purveyors. This isn't, however, the world they've always known: Shoppe Object is actually the pair's second brainchild. The self-proclaimed "work wives" launched their first venture, Capsule, in 2004—the fashion boutique show was an amalgamation of both of their backgrounds (Deirdre is a former buyer for Bloomingdales; Minya got her start as a fashion and footwear writer).
Shoppe Object was born out of their shared desire for something different. "We come from the fashion world where we worked in different capacities for many years. Home runs at a totally different pace; less harried and trend-driven, gentler. No one is trying too hard to out-cool anyone else," Minya tells MarthaStewart.com. Minya and Deirdre debuted Shoppe Object 1.0 in 2018, in conjunction with a partner who already had a finger on the pulse of home. "Our old friend Jesse James—who has a long-running home and gift showroom called Aesthetic Movement—called us with a desire to leave the existing big, New York trade fair and start something better. We knew we could do it," Minya adds. "To launch Shoppe Object with his roster of brands and his relationships was an incredible advantage. We started the show with a tight assortment of 100 brands, with pioneers like MoMA, Chilewich, Hawkins New York, MQuan Studio, and Tantuvi, and we just wrapped our latest edition with over 500."
Today, major makers like Vitra, Artek, HAY, Areaware, Marimekko, and Taschen have joined Shoppe Object's roster—and each show's iteration is stronger than the last. "Everything we've done has been based on the idea that it could be done better," says Deirdre. Curating the brands that show on the floor is a process, but the pair looks "first and foremost for an elevated design sensibility"—and then makes sure there's something for everyone on the day of. "Small, wonky handmade ceramics sit beside hefty, slick acrylic accessories—and we like that juxtaposition. Our goal is to round up a cross section of the best, most beautiful objects for home and giving under one roof," adds Minya.
Their status as insiders in these worlds make them experts on what to buy right now—information they've thoughtfully relayed. "So many objects at the show are meant to elevate the everyday," says Minya. "From the most aesthetically pleasing and well-crafted scissors and brushes for cleaning or makeup (Heaven In Earth, Studio Carta, SirMadam, Tamara Tawashi, Shaquda) to soft textiles to keep you warm or well-dried (blankets by Black Saw, Morrow Soft Goods, Hale Merchantile, or Calhoun and Co.; towels from Hawkins New York or Dusen and Dusen), the Shoppe Object community of brands inspires one to raise the bar and consider the quality, look, and feel of the tools we use for everyday living."
"The world is full of amazing stuff," continues Deirdre, something that was particularly obvious during their February 2020 showcase. When asked to share a few overarching design tropes—elements and motifs they expect to dominate the trend charts in 2020—they rattled off a few of their favorites: abstract shapes, objects made with sustainability and social welfare in mind, and colorful glassware. As for the trend Minya is most excited about? "I love the current incredible appetite for exciting ceramics. Whether as decorative accents in a small vase or catch all, or as larger functional objects like planters and bowls, there are amazing makers out there with totally unique points of view. We're so grateful that brands like Klein Reid, Sin, Andrew Molleur, Raina Lee, Yuta Segawa, Minh Singer, Group Partner, Forma Mmx, Alice Tacheny, and Workaday Handmade (among others) choose to showcase at Shoppe Object."
Deirdre, on the other hand, is "obsessed with jigsaw puzzles." "I bought every single one from a new brand called Piecework and some more from Areaware. I also love Craighill's brass and steel puzzles that are so aesthetically pleasing they double as paper weights or desk objects—if puzzling is a trend, I'm excited about it!" Trends aside, they believe the millennial eye ("We all saw what they did for pink," affirms Minya) will define home décor in 2020: "As younger people lean into nesting and focus their efforts, and dollars, on curating their living spaces, we'll see a youthful exuberance continue to emerge across the industry. Think more fun, less fuddy-duddy."
Home décor in this new decade, however, hasn't forgotten about the last; the pair expects certain enduring trends to stay stuck. "Unexpected color combinations—across tabletop, textiles, jewelry, and accents both large and small for all areas of the home—is a trend we really like and don't see slowing down anytime soon," explains Deirdre. "It's Yves Klein blue with soft tangerine or pale blush with bright yellow. For the minimalist-minded, this can be accomplished with pastels that feel fresh right now in an 80s-leaning, sugary way, made modern in combination with mighty charcoal, stark white, or basic black."