Trend report: Design in a post-truth era by Esra Lemmens

Commercial Interior Design and designMENA asked Dubai-based interior designers to contribute to this year’s trend report that looks at themes and socio-economic events that are set to shape interior design industry in the coming months of 2018. 

The time in which we live requires ‘trans-shaping’ of design. As individuals, we move continuously between different worlds and realities and have different roles and identities within them. This is not solely about design; this trend is visible in all aspects of society, and thus of our lives. One meaning is no meaning; your truth is different from mine; what you see is not what you get.

Confronted with the adversary of human-designed disasters and manmade political scandals, people’s only recourse becomes faith. To have faith in the spirit of survival, in creative forces able to empower a dynamic society. We need to trust our instincts to build a better future.

Recognising their inspirations and yielding to innate creative urges, artists and designers will build up the needed confidence to create new matter, landscape other horizons, design decorative objects, weave unusual fibres, and create with the deep conviction that aesthetic expressions will resonate with others and are able to heal and care for people.

Esra Lemmens

NEW MATERIALISM

Recent philosophy has rekindled the discussion about the material mind. This movement is called New Materialism and it advocates the vibrancy of matter. The result is a matter of the matter, materialising the strong bonds people need to survive in the encroaching virtual web, which is jeopardising our perception of tactility and human interaction.

Designers are certainly leading this conversation with their inventions; using new machines to serve their purposes, reprogramming antiquated robots to construct their designs, wielding 3D printers to boost their ceramic forms and repurposing old mechanical looms for contemporary creation. Suddenly the machine is no longer the antithesis and enemy of making but the handmaid of the designer: enabling, embellishing and advancing creative production processes. Man and machine merge and become one.

Capturing the spiritual essence – Aljoud Lootah, Al Areesh – UAE. Inspired by the traditional palm frond (or palm leaf) structures found across the Middle East.

CAPTURING THE SPIRITUAL ESSENCE

Confronted with the adversary of human-designed disasters and manmade political scandals paralyzing our planet and countries, people’s only recourse becomes faith. To have faith in the spirit of survival, to have faith in creative forces able to empower a dynamic society. We need to trust our instincts to build a better future, full of genuine love towards ourselves and others.

SUPER TACTILITY

Super technology is asking for super tactility. Both products and interiors will need more tactile designs as the use of computers and screens make us crave a sense of touch. The more screens we have the more our figures are afraid we’re going to disappear. Tactility will become increasingly important in design, supporting the increasingly nomadic lifestyle that mobile technology permits.

TRANSITIONING

The trans shaping of design is a reaction to contemporary society. The world is in flux and culture responds with fragments of ideas, transfiguring shapes, sketches of inno-vative forms and creative utopian concepts.

Super tactility: The Black Tumor Chair by TLBB Studio, Morocco. Referencing oil spills, nuclear radiation, pollution and coral bleaching, this is a comment on humanity’s hubris to build at the cost of the environment.

To establish new forms requires knowledge of the old. Knowledge of material and its development is essential, a strong revaluation will arise. Experiments are being carried out with materials and their application. In shapes, themes, and symbolism, local history remains an important source of inspiration, but in a post-truth period, it does not necessarily have to be taken literally.

The fact that it sometimes looks ‘unfinished’ is precisely the intention: we are investigating and perfection is boring.

ESCAPISM

Nomadic culture originated from this region in modernity has pervaded society at large. The attitude of escapism has emerged from this nomadic propensity.

Transitioning: Raku Binary pot by Michael Rice of Ireland.

It takes us back to our organic roots and creates a personal sanctuary, affecting how we eat, sleep, entertain and moreover – design for that.

The crave for authenticity and comfort results in designing products for personal use that might help to bring a sense of calm and balance to everyday life’s otherwise volatile pace. Leading to softer, more rounded and more textured objects.

By Esra Lemmens

Read the earlier posts from our trend report: Perkins + Will interior designers on office design , Sneha Divias on residential design, Gillian Blair from GAJ on the shifts in hotel designPallavi Dean Interiors on education design and Paul Bishop on the shifts in restaurant design. 

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