#DDW is a great place to discover designers and brands developing or working with fascinating finish effects. In previous years there has been a strong focus on matt finishes worldwide. After the pandemic, there is a renewed interest in tactile experiences and visual excitement. This year, super glossy and gritty surfaces stood out.
5 excellent designers and their dreamy CMF Colour Material Finish projects (clockwise from large image):
Rinke Joosten – Beautifully reflective textured detail of Momentum, a collection of blown glass objects.
Agnieszka Mazur – One of the wonderful finishes from the Memory of the Sea exhibition, a fantastic interplay of raw shells and shiny glue.
Renault x Sabine Marcelis – A masterclass in playing with transparency, gloss and colour in this reinvented Twingo concept car.
Cristina Nan – Poetic computer-generated clay surfaces that have a lower CO2 impact than concrete, steel or glass.
Studio Guilty – I immediately fell in love with these sophisticated gravel sculptures.
What’s your favourite from this selection?
Send an email if you need feedback/support on your brand’s CMF direction. I’m now open to discussing potential collaborations in 2024.
#DDW is always an inspiration for material direction. This year I noticed more projects working with industrial and agricultural waste or simple raw materials. Designers showed that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel to be innovative. This was an interesting change from previous years when there was more of a focus on new bio-composites. I found it fascinating how everyday materials were elevated to something aspirational.
Some of my favs (clockwise from large picture):
Studio RENS x Tarkett revealed the hidden side of linoleum. Such a clever way to update this often underrated material. Did you know that its main ingredients are linseed oil, pine resin, ground cork and sawdust, calcium carbonate and jute?
Rik van Veen‘s sculptural bench made of welded plastic tubes was a real eye-catcher. A great example of how collectables don’t have to be made from precious or scarce materials.
Studio WIES beautifully upcycled discarded vinyl tiles. MATERIAL IDENTITY CRISIS’ was a fitting title. Vinyl is always defined by the texture it is printed on, as Wies van den Maagendberg points out. Lovely work seeing non-recyclable waste as a resource instead of sending it to a landfill.
Collectif MONO has made wool sexy. They used local wool from Swedish farmers. Felted qualities are naturally water-repellent. Unlike materials derived from fossil fuels, microfibres from sheep’s wool do not harm the planet. Fantastic to see more designers rediscovering the positive qualities of #undyed natural fibres. At Milan Design Week 2023 I was already raving about Formafantasma‘s research project for Tacchini on the benefits of working with (merino) wool.
orange or red featured rattan in its purest form. I loved how it added texture and interest to this side table sculpture. Isn’t it beautiful how you can still see the wood texture through the transparent bright green glass? I have been a fan of designer Marieke van Heck ever since I saw her at Rossana Orlandi‘s gallery during Milan Design Week.
So to sum up, there is still a lot of potential to work with tried and tested, mundane materials. Another bonus is that recycling facilities are already in place for many of them.
This is how we should think about the future of colour! Much more than just aesthetics – although aesthetics do have a very valid function as well. Such a wealth of colour innovation coming out of Eindhoven this year. To my delight, there was a high amount and quality of designers developing/working with natural and more sustainable colourants.
Some highlights (clockwise from large picture):
– Textiles, pigments and sunflower waste impregnation. The water-repellent sunflower coating retains the breathability. Designer: Jess Redgrave.
Why is it important?
The use of sunflowers could be a regenerative alternative to cotton. Cotton requires large amounts of water to grow, tends to deplete soils through monocropping, and is often heavily treated with pesticides. In addition, cotton can only be grown in certain parts of the world and often has to be transported over long distances.
– Circular varnish to protect wood made from harmless fungi and linseed oil. The fungi are nourished by the linseed oil and can even repair themselves if damaged. Designers: Frans Van Rooijen and @Michael Sailer
Why is it important?
Wood painted with chemicals often can’t be recycled. The toxic substances often end up in our natural environment. This bio-finish doesn’t harm the planet.
– Pigments derived from algae. You may have seen seaweed being used to dye textiles previously. ‘NORI PIGMENT’ was first shown at Milan Design Week in April this year. I missed it there. Now it was great to see the tile work at Dutch Design Week, which extended the initial research. Designer: Kaori Akiyama of STUDIO BYCOLOR.
Why is it important?
Algae are naturally abundant resources.
– Literally honeyed light to enhance your living space. Designer: Akira Nakagomi
Why is it important?
Using the inherent colour of materials is an important aspect of future-forward colour design. The designer also points out that honey can be used as emergency food because it can be kept at room temperature for a long time. It also has a sterilising effect and is thought to reduce inflammation when applied to wounds. Pretty sweet, eh? (pun intended)
– Using living bacteria as co-designers in block printing. I first saw ‘PRIMORDIAL PIGMENTS’, during Milan Design Week 2023, and when I saw it again, I just had to feature this beautiful project. Designer: Annelise Payne
Why it matters?
Microbial-based colour palettes that work with pigment-producing bacteria instead of conventional dyes certainly need to be explored more.
#dutchdesignweek is always one of the events that give me hope for people and the planet. Here designers are increasingly offering solutions to major global problems such as the waste pandemic, toxic pollution and social inequality. It is one of the most influential springboards for design graduates and new(er) design studios. This makes it a rich source of innovation. But the input can be overwhelming.
What is shown in Eindhoven is diverse. Design in all its forms is covered; from the ultra-conceptual to the commercially scalable, and from the personal to the systemic. For many, it is difficult to find the information and inspiration that is relevant to them. In my design consultancy work, I filter the insights for my clients (drop me a line if you are interested in this service).
It’s worth noting that Dutch Design Week has a reputation for being very concept-driven. However, #DDW23 was also surprisingly inspiring in a very tangible way. Woven through the indicators of emerging/growing macro and micro trends (tendencies in culture, technology, work, lifestyle, etc.) were many wonderful examples of where colour, material, finish and shape are heading. As my focus as a consultant is on interior design and CMF, I’ll be writing more about this in the coming days. I’ll also share more on key themes.
However, my verdict for this year is that several exhibitors tried too hard to load things up intellectually. This does not make the design more valid or accessible. Frankly, I question whether it’s an efficient design proposal if you have to read the full project description to understand what it’s about. Some have even topped this by expecting a high level of design/trend education from the reader.
In the coming year, I’d like to see more contributions to designing fair supply chains, creating local recycling facilities, and mending and repairing. It would also be great to see many more practical, affordable, robust yet sustainable solutions that make life easier for the millions of disadvantaged people around the world. Let’s face it, too much design innovation is focused on privileged audiences. It’s time to change that.
In conclusion, Dutch Design Week continues to be a leading event for learning more about global issues and design direction. I went there to broaden my horizons and the show made that possible. Soaking up fresh ideas, discovering cutting-edge aesthetics and meeting top creatives was a fantastic experience.
My Milan DESIGN Week REPORT 2023 is out! Carefully curated, it is a comprehensive yet compact summary of the key takeaways on colour, material, finish, style, shape, construction, design details, innovations and overarching themes.
I developed my report for brands/creatives who weren’t able to attend MDW themselves or don’t have the resources to distil relevant best practice examples. It features many quality brands, over 100 pages, with a minimum of 3 inspirational images on each page (1 page = 1 theme), in deliberate contrast to the many 200+ page reports that exist.
More time has been spent on selection/analysis to help brands quickly understand what really matters. Additional images are available on request and this report provides a valuable, solid basis for informed decision making.
Email hello(at)alinaschartner.com for your preview and all you need to know about how you can get my report.
I didn´t spot completely game-changing innovation, however, for the trained design and trend-savvy eye, there were beautiful move-ons from previous themes and lovely touches of newness throughout the exhibitions. Most of the designs and colours shown I forecast two years ago.
Three major influences drive this slow-down:
– Brands have less money to spend due to the global impacts of the corona crisis or have shifted their budget more towards macro-trends rather than investing in design trend consultancy. However, really good design needs really good research – insight and inspiration are equally as important. The results are now vastly indistinguishable product lines.
– Brands are more risk-averse. Falling back to classics and cash cows is a common strategy in times of uncertainty. However, customers still expect a certain level of fresh input to be enticed to buy.
– Brands consciously stop pushing for newness for the sake of it as a response to heightened pressure for sustainable business practices. More informed than ever, customers reject greenwashing and expect real commitment and brands taking responsibility. We now see some brands showcasing the new collections alongside products of former seasons. This approach is more similar to the layering in most people´s homes. Reworking well-selling products to be ecological and creating fair working conditions for the people producing the goods and working within the delivery chains is a viable option. Moving forwards intersectional environmentalism is key for future-proofing businesses.
Overall, the fair and surrounding exhibitions were smaller and visited by a lot fewer international guests. The Maison & Objet fair team did well to drastically cut down on plastic waste and to make recycling easier than ever.
Reach out if you want constructive, straightforward feedback or my input on your design or trend projects.
It feels so long and not long ago that I worked on the Trend Bible SS21 Home & Interiors trend book in-house based in Newcastle. The trends we published in 2019 are a huge success. You can now find them anywhere: H&M HOME, Habitat, West Elm, ferm LIVING, Anthropologie, Target, Westwing, MADE.COM, Maisons du Monde, La Redoute, Dunelm, Matalan, AMARA Living Ltd., Broste Copenhagen,…
Some of you already know that I have continued collaborating with the TB team remotely. Today I have done my last review on SS23 which I creatively co-directed with Naomi Pollard. On the 5th of July, the ebook will be published. Well proud of what we have achieved. Great work, team! Special thanks to trend researcher Jamie Hannah Shackleton for going above and beyond to make this look and read as ace as it does. Think it’s the most well-rounded book I’ve worked on so far. Sooo much inspiration for designers, retailers, manufacturers and brands working around #lifeathome. Mid-July we’ll already start on the in-depth work for AW23/24 which I’ll creatively direct again.
These images are a glimpse into the making of a trend story called Urban Retreat. It was already set to have a big impact on interiors for 2021, but the pandemic has accelerated the need for green spaces within urban environments. Expect to see more architectural details influence design direction as a whole for the seasons to come.
Colour of the day: Ultramarine Blue Simple description: a deep vivid blue
Notes for usage: Ultramarine blue is high energy. Its vibrant, mesmerising glow is so powerful, that it even adds zing to shady spaces. This colour is always a statement. Consider softening it with chalky white for small spaces, to avoid an overwhelming effect. Even little amounts of this colour will draw attention.
For a straight, graphic look try pairing it with crisp white and black. Small accents of Ultramarine next to gentle pinks make the colour seem more approachable. The brave add a colour pop with crimson red or neon orange; however, I would recommend sticking to homoeopathic doses, unless you know exactly what you’re doing.
Made globally recognised by artist Yves Klein, who described the colour as the expression of ultimate freedom, it has never lost its edgy appearance since the 1960s. Historically, ultramarine blues were won from ground Lapislazuli, meaning they were extremely expensive for centuries. Synthetic ultramarines are cheap, which make them popular choices for mixing wall paint or neutralising unwanted yellow tinges from paper to bleached hair.
For surface design, I prefer ultra-matte, dry-looking finishes for these shades of blue, to not take anything away from the depth and intensity of the colour. Glossy ceramics can work well though, particularly when handmade effects are still visible. High-shine surfaces can seem artificial and but also visionary. Admittedly, Ultramarine Blue is not the easiest colour to work with on a large scale, but sometimes that is exactly where the serious excitement starts.
PS: I had shared information about ultramarine blue before, but this colour group continues to grow in imporatance from product to lighting design.
Feeling ready for Spring Summer 2021? Baked and faded tones are reminiscent of the warmth of sun-soaked days spent in laid-back retreats in Southern Provence.
‘La Belle Vie’ is one of the trend stories I developed with my team at Trend Bible in early 2019. It´s lovely seeing what we predicted to gain importance on the high street now. The palette I designed for this modern rustic look is still one of my favourites with its nonchalantly relaxed charm.
When I selected the nuances I made sure they work in various lighting conditions – not just in regions naturally gifted with more sunshine. The palette certainly still cheers me up and I love how versatile it is. You can easily combine any of the shades with each other.
As an advocate for more sustainability within trend forecasting, I believe we should not suggest new or more colours for the sake of it. Whenever I develop a collection, I also look at other ranges for the same season. For brands that focus on longevity, I make sure they harmonise with older ones.
Pale Olive RAL 095 80 20 will be important throughout 2021 and beyond. Gentle greens make us feel more connected to nature all year round.
Wheat Flour White RAL 080 85 05 is the perfect match; it is a move on from all the greys we have seen previously. Over the last few seasons, there was a general shift towards warmer and more earthy nuances on a global scale. However, at home and often also in retail products of many seasons are combined. This is a fantastic colour to layer on top of cool greys as well.
Fox Red RAL 040 50 60 is an eye-catching warm shade. In ‘MODERN COTTAGE’ (previous post) it is used in tiny quantities. Alternatively, you could also try Foxflower Viola RAL 280 70 15. In ‘HOUSE BAR’ (next post) it sets a bolder statement. This colour works better with off-whites; bright white can make it look garish. But do have a try at some of the combinations I´ve shown in the mood boards!