[DE-]SIGN OF THE TIMES
Looking ahead to 2020 we see that at the beginning of the next decennium the borders between virtual reality and our everyday reality will have almost dissolved. Or to put it in even stronger terms: artificial intelligence and man will increasingly merge. A new design territory will arise in this overlapping terrain. In this diffused region where technology, artificial intelligence, human fantasy and creativity blend, a new design language will crystallise. This will herald in a previously unknown visual vocabulary. There will be a spectrum of ways dealing with these new MIXED REALITIES, each with their own specific style, materials, hues and use of colour. All in all a rich source of inspiration as artificial intelligence, if used well, rather than usurp or repress human creativity, will underpin and reinforce it. It is in the heat of this melting point that we discover the new inspiration for the four 2019-2020 winter period statements:
What are the demands design must meet in a world of mixed and transient realities? How will smart designs enrich our lives? Smart Reformation presents us with answers to these questions; iconic basic items and indispensable classics are re-shaped and executed in improved versions. Intelligent materials inure us to the info-sphere and the elements. Pollutants are filtered from the air using ingenious air-purifiers. Cushioned materials dampen sound and smart ear plugs allow us to control the level of sound in our environment, to adjust the volume to our personal wishes. The style suffused by this is introvert, inward looking, modest and quiet. The items are designed to encourage you to retreat into them, to feel safe, to promote a sense of security.
Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics and androids continue to merge with our analogue reality. All manner of source material for all kinds of movies. The scenes are often set against dark, dystopian backdrops of raw concrete and graffitied decrepitude, literally on top of the ruins of the old system, where anarchist super heroes and rebel mutants as first natives of the new epoch hack out an entirely new culture. With all the ritualistic tribal tagging this involves, including armour, tattoos or with invisibly integrated technology. Always perfect and always liberally dosed with feminine, sexy glamour in an otherwise obscure, post-apocalyptic world, poorly illuminated by the disco and flickering neon lights of Gotham.
It is not only the borders between analogue and virtual that are liquefying, the boundary between ‘true or false’, fact and fiction is now also fluid and increasingly more difficult to define. Fake news and manipulated information unsettle and undermine. They make life insecure and people apathetic. However, in design language we see the positive side of this. Here, a meta world is arising, full of wonder and entertainment, fantasy and surrealism, made to distract us from hard reality, dousing us in beauty, decoration and colour. Sources of inspiration include Damian Hirst’s ‘The wreck of the unbelievable’, as well as ‘20.000 leagues under the sea’ by Jules Verne, the myth of Atlantis and the movie ‘The Shape of Water’.
OFF-GRID SETTLERS – In a world of blurring borders one borderline is coming increasingly into sharp focus; our planet’s capacity. The earth’s balance has been disturbed in this anthropocene era. Thankfully awareness of this is growing, more people and companies are trying to live and produce more sustainably. This is also reflected in design: recycled and self sustaining are the key words. Like the first settlers, the pioneers in America, the proverbial new age settlers are appearing. They are turning their back on the digital world and mass consumption, endeavouring to establish as comfortable an existence as possible, in a sustainable and lasting harmony with nature, independent of technology. New materials come into being, created by reconsidering waste as a new raw material and by processing new raw materials such as kelp, mud and even human hair to create beautiful new materials. It is striking to note that many designers are sourcing their inspiration in traditional ‘native America’; Indians, cowboys and prairie romanticism, with all the folksy arts & crafts that accompany this. Is this inspired by nostalgia or is it intended to recycle an entire culture, a culture that seems under threat of vanishing in these hard edged Trumpian times…?
For further information and/or the purchase of our digital trend book, please contact Hester Jong via this website.