8 global design trends that will shape 2018

This article was first published on India Art n Design

Honest packaging, augmented reality and other trends that will disrupt the realm of design in 2018. Here’s what the world will look like this year…

Clean labels will tell us more about the product than ever

Products will be wrapped in honest packaging
Reflecting the demand for simple and recognizable ingredients is the clean labelling trend that enlightens consumers’ purchase decisions without confusing or tricking them. Mintel’s Global Packaging Trends 2018 report suggests that brands will use the “essentialist” design principle in the next generation of the clean label to provide calm and clarity to shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.
 
Voice assistants will be everywhere
Smart homes have become the norm as voice assistants now control everything from heating, lighting and music; they can even order your groceries or call you a taxi. Sleek devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s soon-to-be-released HomePod speaker will be found in many more homes this year. And, it won’t be long before you find a voice assistant in your bathroom, too, as these very companies are striking up partnerships with third-parties to make your life simpler!
 
Graphic design is getting bolder
Illustrations won’t be going out of fashion any time soon, but we will start to see hand-drawn illustrations blended with graphic effects like double exposures, negative space or glitches. Even digitally drawn illustrations paired with photographs will make it to the mainstream in 2018.
 
It’s becoming easier than ever to give kitchens and bathrooms a new look
While all-white kitchens are still in, we will see a lot more jewel tones used strategically, on cabinets, accent walls and even kitchen appliances. Concrete in accents and as a finish is making a grand appearance this year, too. Bathroom makeovers can be effected at the drop of a hat, thanks to the easy application of stylish tile skins.
 
Well-being will be at the heart of the workplace
Going beyond placing a few potted plants around the office, this trend will take shape as offices actively integrate biophilic design throughout the workplace. The use of live and artificial plants, green walls, natural lighting, nature-inspired textures and prints fortifies this well-rooted trend that is shown to improve employee health, productivity and wellbeing.
 
The boundaries between playtime and education will blur
STREAM thinking (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Art and Math) is a buzzword in the toy industry. But this movement that promotes the use of toys that help children of all ages to use their imagination, critical thinking and skills is gaining more traction this year, thanks to new innovations and research. From robotic kits and colourful toys that engage all senses, this trend will see an upsurge in toys that combine fun and learning.
 
Architectural facades get a multi-textured look
The classic brick façade will remain popular in 2018, but the focus will now be on mixing different textures for a more tactile experience. Whether it’s about creating contrasting textures by playing around with gloss and matte levels of the same material, using light and dark shades of similar colours, or even mixing and matching complementary materials on to a single surface, the exterior surfaces of homes will now be as important as the interiors.
 
Augmented reality is going mainstream
Going by reports of the recently concluded CES 2018, augmented reality and immersive technology will be a mainstay in 2018 and beyond, with gesture and emotions as the new interface in lieu of screens and hardware. Whether it’s experiences in the retail space that allow consumers to ‘try before they buy’, dissemination of knowledge at the workplace through virtual simulation training, or virtual museum visits and the ability to learn from more than just a one-dimensional view of an artefact or photo, augmented reality will change the way we look at things.

 

In the Bohemian District

The old and the new collude to reveal the essence of a Puccini classic in La Boheme Revisited, the NCPA’s fourth opera production with the Symphony Orchestra of India

*Click image to enlarge

*This piece was first published in the February 2017 issue of ON Stage, the monthly magazine of the NCPA Mumbai.

A walking legend

The 180 Moccasin by J.M. Weston, a favourite with luminaries across generations, is the embodiment of timelessness. Now, the French heritage shoemaker pays tribute to this iconic loafer with the launch of the Le Moc Weston, a key footwear style for the summer that builds on its famous predecessor.

savoir-faire-le-moc-signe-magazine-1savoir-faire-le-moc-signe-magazine-2

Heart and Sole

Christian Louboutin, the man behind the eponymous brand of sky-high stilettos and iconic red soles, has built a shoe empire as vast as his boundless imagination. The French designer talks about his fascination with the world of cabaret, travelling to India and Egypt, and the psychology behind footwear.

louboutin-signe-magazine-dubai-1

louboutin-signe-magazine-dubai-2

 Originally published in the December 2016 issue of Signe (Dubai)

Cinema’s Good Guy

One of the greatest stars of the classic Hollywood era, Gregory Peck effortlessly blurred the lines between real and reel. More than a decade after his death, he still fails to disappoint. In fact, he’s everything that the world needs today. (Click on the image below to read the piece in full)
S13_Scholars-GREGORY PECK

This piece was originally published in the June 2015 edition of Signé

Of skyscrapers and sandcastles

A browse through Renzo Piano’s project list proves just how versatile an architect he is. From the Centre Georges Pompidou and the New York Times building, to the Shard in London, the Pritzker Prize-winnign architect continues to draw praise for his timeless architecture.

In an intriguing piece published on the Guardian a few days ago, the Italian architect says that has been making sandcastles for a long time. Building sandcastles reminds me of my childhood. But that’s not to say that you won’t find me building them any longer! I suggest you head over to The Guardian and give it a read because Piano has shared some tips on how to perfect your sandcastle.

Below, is a piece I had written for the Design special of Signé, a luxury lifestyle magazine published in Dubai. Click on the image to read the piece.
Renzo Piano