“We’re pulled by but fearful of risk-taking. That is the nature of life.” – Douglas Hofstadter
At a time when most people are coping with global upheaval and sense of being overwhelmed, design is again a catalyst for surfing the waves of change. New inventive ways to cope and adapt, belong and know what we do matters emerged this year at the world’s most important annual design event, the Milan Design Week. While immersed in the experience, the idea washes over us that a small group of thoughtful designers really can and will change our world for the better. Designers are rising to the challenge and designing everything – far beyond objects from processes to politics.
The event continues to be the mirror and source of inspiration and innovation for the design industry. Each year, our CMF Lab (that’s colors, materials and finishes) explores the Milan Design Week in search of the most interesting signals and interprets the emerging changes to discover and deliver new insights. For 2018, we are sharing both CMF Trends and Emerging Themes.
We’re seeing technology shaped more on instinct and intuition. Design choices are moving us out of a sort of boring digital homogeny and leaving space for a softer analog world. Notably, Google’s first appearance at MDW with their play on words ‘Google Softwear’ presented us with a power idea that will keep us up at night for years to come. How can we pry the devices out of people’s hands and bring their attention back to centered and softer environments? The lesson, ‘don’t be a victim of technology’, so consequently design with materials and forms that will age well with continuity in our lives. We will continue to see a trend towards a rich analog aesthetic with invisible digital presence, this is only the beginning.
The journey of discovery imagined in Sony’s ‘Hidden Senses’ highlighted a level of integration and blending that pulls us forward into the future. Interactions were both intuitive and simple. This underpins an attitude amongst designers toward removing information to make ideas richer and the presence of the moment and interaction more salient.
‘…we have objects, we have spaces, we have human behavior, we have habit, and then technology… we present our technologies, objects and context by one simple solution…’
The backstory reveals a company that has become design-driven and embedded design within their innovation labs – the word on the street is that nearly all projects were the work of internal Sony designers. The designers of ‘hidden senses’ have shifted the focus of design and technology to the experience.
A few last dotted ideas to give you an impressionist view of emerging design landscape:
- Culture is important. Story and origin to stand out more in a global setting.
- Anyone can play. Hyper-connected ideas find ways to market.
- Designers are risking more. More entrepreneurism, more possibilities.
- Moving beyond constructed jargon. Detail in execution and cultural stories are captivating us now.
- Analog equals simplicity. Haptics, sensorial aspects, lead to memorable experiences.
- Connecting the dots. Disparate industries are blending thanks to design-mediated relationships.