'Have nothing in your house that is not beautiful or useful'. With this quote by Oscar Wilde Lidewij Edelkoort kicked off her presentation. This is exactly what fascinates consumers and designers at the moment. They are trying to find a balance between functionality and aesthetics, between durability and pleasure, between 'good for all' and 'especially for me'. Craftscurator reports on the highlights of the trend presentation by Lidewij Edelkoort given on November 19 in Amsterdam.
Time & Place
Nomadism is the title of the presentation. And although Lidewij Edelkoort refers to travelling and nomadic people in her talk, it actually is about people wanting to be free of rigid systems and set results. They want to be flexible, and are not so fixed on time and place anymore. This attitude will change the way people live and work, and has great impact on the interior and product design.
Arts & Crafts
'Have nothing in your house that has not given pleasure to the man who has made it and is not a pleasure to those who use it' is another quote by Oscar Wilde Lidewij refers to. She points out that these words, expressed at the heigth of the Arts & Crafts movement in 1882, are very much related to our times. We now see a similar fascination for makers, their skills and creations. Just like in the late 19th century, people are looking for a balance between the industrial and the handmade. We are wondering how aesthetics can be made accessible for all. Lidewij sees Piet Hein Eek as a frontman of a modern Arts & Crafts movement. He starts working on products from the material or the production technique, proving a product is more than a concept or just a decorative piece. His collection for Wehkamp and Fair Trade Original are designed for the masses, but exceed the level of a mainstream mass produced item.
Science & Design
In the last few years, designers have increasingly become researchers; they experiment with materials and are looking for new ways of manufacturing. They are very much interested in science and technology. Lidewij Edelkoort noticed scientists, in their turn, are also reaching out and have become more creative. To enable projects that merge visuals arts and science, she has decided to create a foundation: Hybrid House. Already, designers are developing new techniques to create products; Jannis Huelsen had bacteria grow a cellulose cover for this wooden stool. Designer Markus Kayser had a solar-powered 3D printer make bowls out of desert sand.
Material & Technique
The good thing about these new technological and social developments is that they bring products to the market that are not just more sustainable or useful, but are very appealing to the senses as well. They invite users to touch, feel and use them. The many tactile materials that have been developed lately enable that. Designers are compressing, felting and pulping materials. Shapes are often bold and heavy. Many designers are exploring time and place, making very 'grounded' products or light and temporary structures. Jo Meesters is the master of pulp, making vases and bowls. Lotty Lindeman creates huge lamps made of fabric. By knotting and weaving new dense materials are created. Designers use ropes, recycled textiles and foam tubes to make carpets and poufs.
Balancing consumer needs that at first sight seem incompatible, is a challenge and also an opportunity for businesses bringing design products to the market. When done right, it offers a great opportunity to make a lasting impression.
For more insights into consumer needs and inspiration for product design, come to the Craftscurator Trend Event on January 23, 2013. Book your ticket now, or order the Craftscurator Trend Guide for 2014, both available with an early bird discount!
This article has also been published in Dutch on Stylink.