Letting Go of Trends at the 100% Design Show
‘I want to kill the idea of function’, says Yorgo Lykouria, Creative Director at Rainlight, ‘it isn’t enough – it’s the emotional connection we’re after as humans’. Speaking at this year’s 100% Design Show, Yorgo claimed that when it comes to design, it’s not trends we’re after – it’s our need for design to speak and connect with our humanity in a direct and lasting way.
The concept of trends was hot topic during another talk at the show called ‘Beyond Sustainability: Future of Waste in Design’, which centered on the role that designers play in the future of sustainability. ‘Sustainable design must be something that the fashion and interiors industry should focus on’, said a fashion expert in the audience, ‘as opposed to millennial pinks and marble’. She said we need to forget trends, and concentrate on lasting designs. So essentially the industry needs to make it uncool to not be sustainable.
And walking through the exhibitions, I definitely picked up on a lack of fresh trends – I’d seen almost everything on display before. Initially I took this to be a negative – wasn’t the show all about showcasing the latest interior design innovations? But after listening to these talks, perhaps sticking with what we have and what we know brings new meaning to what being progressive and innovative is about.
Here are some sustainability-focused exhibitors from the show that are embracing the concept of a trend-less future:
Established by Sean Dare in 2009, British design company Dare have produced award-winning furniture and ‘strive to create pieces which are timeless future classics’. As you can see, their furniture is quite typical of the Midcentury Modern movement – which yes did come about again as a trend, but has now evolved into a classic design staple that evidently has staying power.
Patience & Gough
Based in the Lake District, this two-person collaborative prolong the longevity of characterful, quality furniture by tastefully upcycling and selling it on. Many of their designs feature abstract and retro prints less likely to go out of style. They also do commissions so if you find a piece of second-hand furniture you want revitalising, this is the company to do it.
Describing themselves as the ‘sustainable flatpack’ company, Grain do not operate on a seasonal or trend-based cycle. Instead, they put a lot of emphasis on the quality of their furniture and claim that each piece can be taken apart and put back together again with no loss of function. Plus, all the materials they use that can be 100% recycled and re-purposed by them.
Lomas Furniture is a creative company situated in the Devonshire countryside, specialising in handmade wooden furniture. Working ‘with the grain, not against it’, Lomas manage to use parts of the tree that would normally be discarded - meaning minimal waste and allowing every piece of furniture it’s own unique and un-conforming characteristics. Their designs are current and contemporary, but their work exudes that built-to-last, trend-defiant ethos you’d typically associate with Shaker furniture.
Pamela Print is a studio based just outside of London specialising in luxury, sustainable textiles. Pamela, founder and maker behind the brand, subscribes to the slow textile movement – a global movement that promotes sustainability in the textiles industry. Her collection is hand-woven using a traditional dobby loom and made using British-sourced sustainable, renewable and biodegradable non-mulesed wool. The brand’s fabric designs are not seasonable or trend-orientated, but instead are inspired by the Art Deco architecture Pamela came across whilst living in Brussels.
Ed Dunn and Carlo Briscoe, the makers behind Reptile Tiles, say that minimalism is out. They want to bring colour and individuality back into our living spaces with their hand-painted, bespoke tiles. The couple aren’t concerned with tiles you’d see trending on socials and prefer producing traditional designs more likely to stand the test of time.
These brands are flying the flag for a much-needed shift in the design world where it’s not about what’s new and trending, it’s about classic items we value and that will last. And whilst most the exhibitors above are creating new products, the overarching idea here is that what we want and need from design is probably already out there. After all, what’s more sustainable than sticking with what we’ve got?
Click to enlarge more photos from the day: