Imagine… Sustainability - What is it about? What does it do to us?
The desire for a more sustainable life and an ecological economy has been a topic in the collective consciousness of our society for a long time and has now also reached all levels of society. What is new is the dynamic with which sustainable action and economic activity is becoming a lived reality in all areas of life. The reason: we were forced to learn a crucial lesson. Namely, how fragile and thus how valuable our life itself is in the privileged circumstances of our life in the first world. We had to realize how quickly the seemingly infinite resources run out even in our capitalist consumer societies. Production output, supply of goods and supply chains suddenly collapsed due to economies in lockdown. Just a moment ago we were living in abundance. And just a few weeks later, everyday goods, materials and raw materials of our daily needs were no longer available or only in limited supply.
This lack of resources imposed on us during times when we had only ourselves simultaneously became a new source of inspiration and taught us a new sensitivity in dealing with raw materials, products and values. Born out of necessity, we developed a new awareness for the value of resources from nature, but also for the reuse of already processed raw materials through "recycling" and "upcycling". The need for additional manufacturing processes required to produce new products from raw materials is eliminated.
Another factor driving this collective change in consciousness today and in the future is the impact of climate change. Climate catastrophes are accumulating all over the world and we are experiencing this first-hand with all the consequences for our daily lives. It is no longer just a question of important resources that are becoming scarcer and scarcer. Even renewable raw materials that we take from nature and use for ourselves are suddenly directly endangered by natural disasters. In order to be able to continue living on this planet, we have to change our attitude towards consumption, towards dealing with the environment and our fellow human beings. We see that we have a responsibility for future generations and also for animals and plants. We have realized that maintaining and developing our end products in more or less the same high quality is only possible if more organic and local methods are used. This promotes a new eco-style that we can enjoy in a CO2-neutral way.
Sustainability is therefore much more than a temporary trend today. It affects us all and what is special about it is that, sensitized by the pandemic and the climate crisis, we naturally incorporate it into our life concepts and our everyday life. Even more, we engage in it and enjoy it. This is reflected in the way we furnish and redesign our homes. We become creative ourselves in turning "old" into "new". We are developing from a "throwaway society" to a "create it society". With our own initiative and creativity, we are giving recyclable materials that we used to throw away a new life as upcycled objects.
Also, in terms of fashion. We wear "organic" with pride and make a point of producing as many components as possible of our outfits from sustainable and recycled materials. Sustainable lifestyle is no longer just a virtue and a way of life for a few people. It is the new normality and thus the everyday life of each and every one of us.
And sustainable is no longer "niche" or "second-hand". What we wear, what we build with and what we furnish ourselves with is "brand new": reused raw material in recycled, new form. We see it in new high-tech building materials, such as prefabricated building elements made of recycled plastic fibers or "3D-printed" houses in architecture. Our clothes are no longer lined with natural down, but with recycled waste plastic fibers. The time has come for us to proudly wear these new fabrics, textures, patterns, and designs resulting from "recycled" materials. When it comes to color, we are in for an ecological surprise: black is the easiest color to produce when it comes to recycled material. So, we tend to perceive and value black in some ways as our new green. Hence, it might become one of the dominant packaging and brand color in the future.
In decor design, this is also the dawn of a new design era. We will be open to a new look and feel of surface textures and haptics. We will no longer hide core materials by caching them on the surface with textures known from nature. Sustainable recycled materials will no longer look anything like traditional recycled styles of the past. Instead, we will see the development of entirely new textures, patterns and looks as we push the technology forward to create sustainable materials. Natural, organic textures we know - wood, stone and metal will be creatively remixed with newly inorganic surface appearances created through remixing and incorporated into our living environments. Natural materials such as wood and hand-crafted materialities are becoming increasingly popular. We are experiencing a renaissance of traditional crafts and their materials, , as are sustainable fibers made from organic cotton, leather, jute and hemp. Recycled plastic and paper patterns and organic materials will also be increasingly used as surface textures for interior design projects.
Besides black, natural colors such as earthy browns, greens, warm pastel shades, as well as patterns inspired by nature, e.g., floral and foliage will literally recycle our sensory perceptions. Sustainability is no longer a taboo paradigm of our time. Sustainability will be a lived and loved reality and perhaps our greatest muse and source of creative achievement in product and décor design in the near future.
Imagine… Individuality - What is it about? What does it do to us?
Periods of self-isolation and social distancing have led us to focus more on our inner self. We have learned to better see and understand us as a person, to become more aware of our needs and appreciate ourselves again. We accept and disclose our shortcomings and communicate them as well in colors and forms without any shame. Authenticity and individuality are key. This perception and focus on one's own individuality and personality have taken further leads to a "trend against trends" situation. A phase of consciously celebrating no trend at all. The logical conclusion would lead to a brutal reduction to a non-expressive „Scandi-style” followed by unbearable boredom in interior design.
We now feel the urge to redefine our regained freedom, to express ourselves more strongly and with proper self-confidence. People also appreciate to evolve their own individuality in their homes. We are no longer just wheels in a machinery but could choose who we want to be and become. This leads to a more practical desire to experiment as well as an increasing openness for DIY solutions in interior design. We no longer allow ourselves to be imposed with an entire style direction in design, but instead adopt a pick-and-crop mentality when it comes to interior design and rather putting together our own fashion style. This leads to a very personal, individual eclectic expression, creating new, classic and above all favorite pieces with a personal story. It is expressed in superior shapes, eye-catching patterns and bright colors. Maybe you want to show off an endearingly quirky personality through vibrant colors and clashing patterns. Or you are environmentally conscious and choose to recycle your belongings to create a smorgasbord of styles. Maybe you also follow the design belief that as long as you like each item individually, everything will fit together eventually. The result is truly individual design. What follows from this is a fresh and overwhelming acceptance of a DIY mash-up-style-mix behavior and celebration of the unique and, if necessary, the bizarre when it comes to furnishing our homes. A trend towards self-emancipation and expressive self-made design. It's an opportunity to combine structures, remember old patterns, create new colors and give people ideas on how to create something new with already existing trends, materials and structures. Extraordinary decors may now also be boldly combined with "normal" decors like wood decors. Superior materials meet strong and bright colors. Natural woods such as oak in honey colors are paired with striking material combinations.
Furthermore, in recent years we have observed a development in our societies towards a generally more open and pluralistic world view. We are questioning traditional gender roles. We are increasingly leaving behind clichés and stereotypes with regard to ethnic origin, skin color or sexual orientation. Our society is thus experiencing a new era of emancipation. We are experiencing a liberation and overcoming of paradigms. Who we are and how we show our personality and rather express ourselves to the outside world is something we determine more freely and with growing self-confidence. The outcome is that we no longer want to simply take our individual styles from "pigeonholes"/drawers. We do want and we do live diversity. We do so with pride since it's socially accepted after all.
The new credo is: Be yourself. Love yourself. Express yourself and be exactly how you are. Be proud of your gender. Your sexual orientation. Your skin colors. Your ethnicity. Express yourself in your individual fashion style. Through your hairstyle, through your feelings and ideas. Through the way you live and in how you decorate your home. Be yourself! Respect what is different. Be open to others and new things. This is the new "cool" and "trendy". The diversity of a pluralistic society must inevitably be reflected in the development of new decor designs. Textured marbled surfaces, recycled materials and raw materials in unexpected hues and shapes encourage our power of imagination. Walnut and oat decors may come together with smart marble textures. Elegant, linear woods with straight patterns emphasize our self-confident attitude in our home. With futuristic, shiny metallic decors and glassy structures, we reflect our self expressively into the outside world. Brushed metals in shades of champagne and gold creep in and let us celebrate newly created contrasts.
A diversity of patterns, textures and colors is needed to reflect the new diversity of individuality in our society. However, we should not fear this trend towards lived-out self-expression but embrace it. We can constructively counter this trend towards individual expressionism by conceiving our collections as design kits for experimentation and inviting people to cherry-pick and spar. As a source of inspiration on the path to more diversity in our society.
Imagine… Digital Well-Being - What is it about? What does it do to us?
In recent times, our personal "well-being" has taken on a different significance, but perhaps also a completely new definition for each of us. Man, until now seemingly untouchable, standing sovereignly at the top of evolution, had to experience how a microscopic, little virus put him in his place. Or quite literally, into our own four walls. Phenomena like Long-Covid, but also mental illnesses like depressions, burnouts have caught not only a few, but very many of us, us humans at the very top of the high seat of evolution. Time to wake up and pay attention!
We have learned this lesson and are now increasingly turning the eye more to ourselves. Our physical and mental health has been given a place and a new rank in our lives. And the wake-up call from the pandemic has made us aware again that we are "only" human - living beings of flesh and blood and not high-tech machines. Even before the pandemic, our ME and our human vulnerability were in distress. Harder, better, faster, stronger - digitalization had long since taken hold of our lives and put them on the fast track - unfortunately also at excessive speed for our health.
Yet we had our lives so firmly in our hands. In the form of smartphones. "Always on" as an everyday standard, let with the pandemic analog and digital world, working world and private life merge even faster than already. Until suddenly we were "off" too. In the more annoying, but health wise uncritical case, it was the mobile device or the Internet. In the other, more unfortunate case, it is we ourselves who are unexpectedly "off" or "out of order" mentally or physically. It makes us aware of our humanity, our existence and reality. And it makes us more sensitive to ourselves and our living environment. We become increasingly mindful. We pay more attention to the little things in our lives. We are more attentive to ourselves and the things that surround us, as well as the furnishings of our living spaces. It is a new clarity that we have gained. And we reshape our lives accordingly. Perhaps that's why we seek retreat into blissful, clean, open spaces in direct contrast to dark tones. We crave visual reduction and draw the consequences: basic, essential, and minimal are the key elements of our new living environment.
We appreciate the many positive effects of digitization and know how to dose digitality in our lives in a healthier way. If the digital world only knows "0" or "1," we have recognized the importance of harmony and balance between the two extremes. So, we give the digital world space in our reality, but also set limits to it. This is reflected in the fact that we create small biotopes in our homes that allow us space to withdraw from the digital world. Offline worlds without screens, workplaces decorated with warm, natural textures. In doing so, we use the possibilities of the digital in our home without letting it define us. Via smart-home applications, we create lighting moods entirely according to our current state of mind. It has been proven that colors, textures, sounds and lighting of the environment can influence our feelings.
We purchase art digitally as NTF's and then place them printed out, completely analog without connection to the Internet as cozy accessories in our real living environments. Digital apps with yoga treatments, features like focus time on our smartphones we use to regulate and optimize our well-being and health instead of letting these digital tools determine, rush and wear us out. In this way, we create comfortable, calming, and sensory spaces through technology.
To create these mixed-reality spaces, we are setting new expectations for interior and decor design. We want choice and the full spectrum of looks and feels. From natural to digital-native, from monochrome to multi-colored. By (digital) well-being, we mean maintaining a healthy life despite our relationship with technology. It means using technology to advance ourselves without being separated from the real, natural sphere. With lessons learned from pandemic times and the dynamics of digital progress, people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of home comfort and their own sense of well-being at home. In recent years, our personalities seemed to literally merge with the world of technology. The new digital existence has its consequences for the choice of materials used. To find a new peace and tranquility for our souls, we look for contrasting harmonizing shapes and surfaces, dampening and harmonizing these cool dominant forces of pressing digitality. Interior compositions tend to be relaxing and cozy. And what better way to achieve that than with natural wood, cotton, sisal structures or other materials with insulating surface texture effects. Velvet and faux fur bring comfort into play. Marble surfaces or acoustic panel knockoffs create a soothing and calming atmosphere when it comes to surfaces. Any objects in our living environment strive for balancing effect. Decent and unagitated patterns as well as round shapes with few corners and edges gain space and territory in our home . Digital devices may sometimes hide behind textiles, becoming an democratic part of the new normal in the living environment.
The digital supports. It's not the "core" of our life. People are thus experiencing a more digital view of the reality and appearance of materials. We want to look and act good not only in real life, but also digitally. That's why we are striving for a new form of noblesse to look better even on the smallest screens. A field of tension and, as it were, an exciting field of development for new textures, patterns, form and color creation in Decor Design today and in the years to come. And a projection surface for the newly awakened understanding of and for (digital) well-being.