Future Vision | A trend forecast for the design industry

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Future Vision – a trend forecast for the design industry

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others – Jonathan Swift.

Future Vision is a trend and colour forecast by Formica Group that anticipates the design needs of architects, designers and end users. The report, the first of an ongoing series, explores the design industry topics for 2016/17 with consideration to the influence of emerging social and economic trends. 

Offering a global outlook, Future Vision provides insight into the factors that will influence the development of surfacing material, sustainable architecture and design for the year ahead, including examples of early adopters.

Shaping Future Vision Volume 1 are the trend drivers: mindfulness, health and wellbeing, the effects of the digital world on our relationships, an experience driven society, rethinking resources, the appreciation of craft and the influence of art on design.

Technology has traditionally been used to push boundaries and to bring us closer together over time and space. Nowadays, technology can move in a different direction, helping us to place emphasis back on interacting on a human level and increasing distance from screen to screen contact, for example ‘Do not disturb’ apps.

Future Vision

Images left to right: Shhhh!, Ilwon Yoon, idesignforhumanity.com / No Phone, nophone.eu / Fervent Carpet, Studio Siem & Pabon, studiosiem-pabon.com.

The popularity of wearable technology and apps confirms a heightened awareness and focus on our health. As a result, product design that integrates potential health benefits is becoming more commonplace.

Awareness of consumption is leading us to consider adopting less wasteful attitudes. Food waste, for example, is repurposed as food ware. Natural materials have traditionally been favoured over their man-made counterparts for their environmental credentials. Now we are seeing man-made natural materials as the next step in material evolution; a smart organic if you will.

Future Vision

Images left to right: Silo Restaurant Brighton, Photo: Lisa Devlin, silobrighton.com / Matteo Fogale & Laetitia de Allegri, matteofogale.com, leatitiadeallegri.com / Food Waste Ware, Kosuke Araki, kosuke-araki.com.

Bringing these overarching drivers together under Future Vision, the initiative identifies the themes of Personal Sanctuary, Spectral and Smart Organic: 

Future Vision

From left to right: Personal Sanctuary / Spectral / Smart Organic.

1. Personal Sanctuary

In a digital age, our personal time and space have become ever more precious. We develop emotional connection to our personal surroundings and places of refuge. This theme offers an overall feeling of gentle luxury and comfort, a rich and timeless palette composed of deeply saturated tones and serene neutrals, and a finely crafted approach to pure materials.

Personal Sanctuary identifies how to maximise and create space with organic subdividing structures made of transparent or felt material; establishes how the use of raw materials, such as metals that develop patina enforce the feeling of living in the real world over the digital; and considers how technology can be subtly integrated to reduce visual clutter.

2. Spectral

Pushing beyond seasonal colour guides, Spectral takes inspiration from the inventors of the modernist movement, theories of colour and proportion by Itten and Albers at Bauhaus, and the use of colour to create bold contrasts. Attention is paid to the interaction of colour across the spectrum and its placement in layers of semi and full-saturated pigment, as well as the balance of primary tones with softer pastels for a contemporary clash.

Spectral marks a departure from the technological-driven aesthetics of recent time, it is about how design is shifting, incorporating textual techniques that evoke feelings of an artist’s touch and unexpected colour combinations.

3. Smart Organic

Sustainability is now an everyday consideration, recycling is no longer good enough. A waste-less attitude is developing and new technology is used to re-evaluate what is thrown away.

For instance, denim fibres are turned into a stone-like material, food waste becomes food ware; these new smart composites poise between natural and man-made.

While this scientific approach is used to create new environmentally responsible hybrids, smart organic maintains an appreciation for the colours inherent to natural materials. In recognition of natural aesthetics, including a range of synthetic shades, greens and warm resin tones, colour-setting chemicals are abandoned allowing for pigment to age and fade, providing design that evolves with time.

Further support available to specifiers

Formica Group now offers a RIBA accredited CDP entitled ‘Welcome to Future Vision’ and has produced a booklet providing a deeper insight into Future Vision that is available upon request.

A wall-scale moodboard representing how the schemes and influences featured in Future Vision can be used throughout various areas of design can be experienced at Material Lab (10 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 8BB). Material Lab is a materials resource studio in London where architects and designers can explore hundreds of materials, be inspired and get expert advice.


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