I had my first brush with trend forecasting when I wrote about Li Edelkoort back in 2010. At that stage all I cared to know was that Li was a red-lipped leader in the field. Recently though, my interest in trend forecasting was sparked again at the Inspire 2014 where Dave Nemeth gave his take on the design trends for 2015/16.
Judging by the jam-packed audience it was clear that Dave’s was a trusted voice in the South African Decor and Design industry. The talk was a bumper two-hour session during which he discussed prevailing consumer attitudes, pointed out key elements in design and flitted through hundreds of colourful photos. One could say it was a smorgasbord of pretty things. My designer glands were so stimulated that I was drooling by the end.
Of the key elements in design he said we’d be seeing a lot more of, I particularly fancied these four:
- Faceted items (see the Annie Evelyn squishy chairs and the Robert Thomas coffee table)
- Brass and Copper designs (have a look at Heal’s flat pack chair in brass; also note its faceted design and worn look thanks to the patina that develops over time)
- Transparency (think of the hoped-for version of the iPhone 6 and the transparent burglar bars – they might see some burglars caught red handed here in SA)
- Perforation (consider the German company, Bruach’s take on a room divider and the use of a colourful background in the Louis Vuitton bag)
I also enjoyed being introduced to Lix, a 3D pen; onecoin, a one-card solution for the myriad cards we have crammed in our purses and wallets; and a wonderful concept in the making – the modular smartphone.
What struck me about Dave’s forecast was that a lot of what he was sharing was already out there. I expected a lot more never-before-seen bits and pieces, but after doing a little research about the process of forecasting I learned that predicting trends boils down to being little more than a few seconds ahead of what’s going to happen. And as another renowned forecaster Faith Popcorn says, “the future starts now.”
Dave’s presentation also made me curios about what the rest of the world was predicting for 2015/16. I discovered a forecast by Victoria Redshaw who made her presentation at Decor + Design in Melbourne, Australia, which was run around the same time as Inspire 2014. The Canberra Times outlines Victoria’s big themes for 2015/16 as follows: Historic, Biophilia, Geological, Wood, Metallic, and the New Minimalism.
I found her way of grouping her trend predictions in a few big themes to be quite accessible and easy to recall. Interestingly many of her observations echoed those of Dave’s, for example, what she terms History – a return “to brass which hasn’t been seen since the 80s” – and Metallic – “not bling [but …] metals that look aged” – is what Dave described as an increase in Brass and Copper designs because of its ability to look worn over time and its harking back to the past.
One of Victoria’s predictions that especially struck a chord with me was what she calls the New Minimalism – “simplicity [and] calming spaces … the antidote to the stressful lifestyle … a minimalism … that it is subdued rather than stark [and in terms of colour, …] cool, minty green is important.”
Dave Nemeth not only succeeded in pointing out what trends were hot right now and about to get even hotter, he also sensitised me to the idea of trend spotting and the abundance of information at our fingertips.
A chat with Ivan Ballack from Ballack Art House later that day further cemented this idea of staying sensitive to inspiration and trends. He suggested that a good way of practicing forecasting is following a few movers and shakers in the entertainment and luxury industries. “Pay attention to just a few big names; say a fashion brand, a music artist and a sports car brand.” He believes that following them over a few seasons and seeing how their style and design choices develop and filter through to other industries will give you a good idea of what’s about to take off.
I was a bit sceptical of Ivan’s advice at first. Then I remembered how he’s been talking to me for months about hexagonal designs and the colour green – both things people in the forecasting business picked up on – Dave mentioned faceted items and Victoria noted green in her description of New Minimalism. The man clearly knows what he’s talking about.
So my eyes are peeled to see what Adidas, Miley Ray Cyrus and Lamborghini get up to in the next little while. Who will you be practicing your trend forecasting on?