Buying everyday objects and clothes for a monthly subscription, limitations and bias of artificial intelligence, large-format 3D printing, furniture for very small apartments, a sense of privacy in the interiors, fascination with nature, chance and mistake – these are the trends that we will hear and talk more often in 2019 and 2020.
The signals of trends listed in this article appeared in 2018 at the following events: Ars Electronica (Linz), Biennale Interieur (Kortrijk), Dubai Design Week, Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven), Formex (Stockholm), imm (Cologne), London Design Festival, Maison & Objet (Paris), Milan Design Week, Mobile World Congress (Barcelona), Orgatec (Cologne) and Venice Architecture Biennale. I document them with over a hundred photos – all of them I took by myself.
1. Goods for a subscription.
A circular economy is not about “saving the world”, but about reducing production costs and reusing limited resources/materials and parts used to produce goods, and, in the long run, to sell the same good or its derivatives to many customers – one after another, every time for the exclusive use of a client. Trend: sale of items in the form of services for a monthly, fixed fees for the duration of the contract.
2. Imperfect and biased artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence recognizes (or rather: tries to recognize) objects, places and people, as well as emotions expressed on the face of a person and in a human voice. Artificial intelligence, however, has many limitations, makes mistakes and sometimes is biased, for example, when recognizing the age of people or selecting candidates for a job. Trend: human verification of decisions made by algorithms, as well as certification of algorithms by appointed independent organizations in terms of the degree of credibility of artificial intelligence and its susceptibility to the value systems of IT-people developing AI tools.
3. (Very) large 3D printing.
3D printing significantly increases the scale. Trend: robots print bridges, exhibition halls, buildings and furniture.
4. (Very) small apartments.
There are more and more people in the world, and the population density in cities is increasing. Trend: a compact, multi-functional furniture designed for small (and very, very small) apartments.
5. A sense of privacy.
Past: closed pods/booths that cut us off users from the outside world. Trend: furniture integrated with high acoustic panels or curtain systems with varying degrees of transparency of the fabric. They provide a sense of privacy and increase acoustic comfort, but do not isolate users from their environment.
6. Style: nature, chance, error.
A few tips for designers and interior stylists for the coming two years. Trends: untouched materials created by nature put on large surfaces, small wooden and stone parts on the handles, as well as patterns that do not refer to nature, but are created in processes that can not be fully controlled or are created as a result of machine error.
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Wood carving is a simple, relaxing activity. However, beginners need basic knowledge about the material itself and its processing as well as the ability to use sharp tools. Those who speak Swedish, an adventure with their new “offline hobby” can start in a Scandinavian online store.
Instead of making a visit to the tool shop for knives, sandpaper and oils (and a journey to the forest for wood), one of the kits from the Swedish Täljogram* brand can be ordered online.
The kit contains everything you need to start carving – pieces of wood (depending on the chosen variant, dry or fresh**), tools, and, just in case, a sticking plaster. A book “Täljboken”, from which step by step you can learn the basics of wood carving, is also available.
* Currently, the site is only available in Swedish.
** Pieces of fresh wood from the Swedish forest are vacuum-packed. The founders of Täljogram recommend that the wood should be stored in a wine refrigerator or in a regular kitchen fridge.
I discovered Täljogram and its products at Formex 2018 fair which run at the end of August in Stockholm. Photographs of nearly 20 other projects that I found at Formex can be viewed on Instagram: #TrendNomadFormex2018. All pictures were taken by me, they are protected by copyrights. Please contact me if you want to use them in your work.
Do you like my feature from Formex? Do you think I deserve a cup of coffee (or two)? Wherever you are, you can donate a small sum of money using your PayPal account or credit card. All donations will help me to finance my journeys to fairs, festivals and conferences about design and new technology – this is where I find news for my website. Just click the rectangular button below to perform a secure transaction. Thank you for your support, it will help me to take a step forward and write new posts.
Products made for demented people do not have to look like unpleasant hospital tools or toys for children. Designer Emilie Dissing Wiehe understands this issue very well. She creates projects that do not stigmatize anyone and, above all, respect human dignity.
I interviewed Emilie Dissing Wiehe at Formex, the interior design show that run in Stockholm at the end of August. Emilie was one of five designers taking part in the competition Formex Nova Design Award – 2017 Nordic Designer of the Year intended for young Nordic talents. The interview is edited and condensed for clarity.
TrendNomad.com: Is there any particular reason why do you do projects addressed to people with dementia? Emilie Dissing Wiehe: My grandfather got dementia six years ago. Since then I’ve talked many times with my mother who is a nurse about how could we help him and other people suffering from this disease. The number of demented people in Denmark is huge today and will only grow in the future. I wanted to do something, so I decided to work on this topic in my master thesis.
How did you do your research?
I visited many different care centers for people with dementia. I interviewed many leaders and employees. I investigated what kind of products are already in use in those places and what is available on the market.
I found that heavy blankets for people with dementia are already available on the market. They are functional, but not very aesthetic. I’m a textile designer, so I wanted to change that. I designed FAVN blanket.
At the beginning I used polyester, but soon it came out that a synthetic material was too warm for some people. Now the outer layer is made of organic cotton, but this is still a prototype. The most interesting part is hidden inside the fabric. I put inside plastic granules to make the blanket heavy, but washable. The blanket can be washed in an industrial washing machine or can be steamed.
Products designed for people with dementia shouldn’t look like tools from a hospital. They should look nice and totally normal to appeal people in general.
Why is the blanket blue?
Simply because light and dark blue colors calm people down, and most of us like blue.
What is the story behind the sculpture?
When I was doing my research, I found out that many demented people almost constantly search for something with their hands. They have really restless hands. They need something to grab and hold on to.
At care centers, demented patients quite often play with toys for children. Maybe for demented people, it does not really matter what they use, but I believe this may look difficult for patient’s relatives. In my opinion, this is an issue about dignity, so I wanted to bring it back to people with dementia.
Håndgribelig – it means tangible in English – is a product that we can all keep in a living room. It looks like a home decoration. It is made of hard woods – ash, elm, and walnut – as well as brass and ceramic materials. All elements are designed to be held with hands.
Wooden and ceramic balls are fine and polished. They are meant to recall memories from our childhood of an abacus, a toy for counting. The middle part of my sculpture is more technical and rough. It’s addressed to recall some physical work by those who used to be, for example, a carpenter.
Do you think that Håndgribelig may become a family memorial after the patient’s death?
I didn’t think about it when I was doing my project. However, it is important to think about this issue beforehand. Death is inevitable. The sculpture may stay in the family as a memorial. When you touch it you may bring back memories associated with the person that had left.
Your master project is done. Do you want to continue working on projects devoted to demented people? Yes. Right now I am working in a Danish company on a project for people with dementia. It is a small pillow that uses sound and tactility to stimulate patient’s senses. We will launch it in September.
The picture on the top by Henrik Majdal Kaarsholm. All other photos by TrendNomad.com.
Do you find this interview interesting? Do you think I deserve a cup of coffee (or two)? Wherever you are, you can donate a small sum of money using your PayPal account or credit card. All donations will help me to finance my journeys to fairs, festivals and conferences about design and new technology – this is where I find news for my website. Just click the rectangular button below to perform a secure transaction. Thank you for your support, it will help me to take a step forward and write new posts.
A CNC machine has just become a talented craftsman. At least when it comes to carving in customised ceramic tiles. The robot is eight times faster than a human, and in terms of man-hour – or rather robot-hour – is much cheaper. But is it as cool as a handmade product? Well, yes it is.
Michael Hammar, founder of Tilemark – a young company that offers ceramic tiles the machine can carve into any pattern that resembles manual work – explained me in Stockholm why he invested in robots instead of a craftsman.
I interviewed Michael Hammar at Stockholm Furniture Fair 2017. The transcription has been edited for space and clarity. To listen to the original conversation recorded in Sweden, please scroll down and watch the video embedded at the bottom of this page.
TrendNomad.com: What is the story behind Tilemark? How did you start your company? Michael Hammar: I was traveling around the world, looking for innovations and new products for surface materials for buildings and construction industry. One day in China I stumbled upon a set of hand-carved tiles. I found them very attractive, they looked like a piece of art. At that moment I decided to develop a machine to make the production cost so low that carved tiles could be interesting for a bigger audience.
Tilemark adds the dimension where you can feel the tile. You can feel the structure of the carved area and build your story around it.
What was the second step? When I come back to Sweden, I met an amazing guy who told me that within a year he can build a machine ready to produce carved tiles.
Did you build the machine from scratches or did you apply a technology that already had been available on the market? After some analyzing, we decided to use a CNC machine as a base device. We have adjusted the machine with several tools to our needs. We developed the final tool that carves into tiles.
Is the production cost the only reason why you decided to automate the carving process? I wanted to automate the carving process for several reasons. One of them is that [in our part of the world – ed.] we don’t have the tradition of carving into tiles. The other reason is that I don’t want to be dependent on people or have to educate them to produce carved tiles.
How long does it take to carve a pattern on one square meter of tiles? For one square meter, it takes around eight hours to handcraft it. Our machine makes the same job approximately in one hour.
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What is the price? The price is 125 euro per square meter when you order carved tiles, and 50 euro per square meter when you choose a plain version.
What are the limitations of this technology? The technology works under certain conditions. The machine has to be placed in the factory where biscuits are being produced. Biscuit is the name of a tile prior to firing. It is very fragile. The machine carves into biscuits, and then they go into the kiln. We want to have this machines in factories all around the world.
Tilemark is not only about the product. This is also a service, am I right? Yes, that’s correct. We developed a tool for designers and architects, so it’s easy to upload free vector images and preview how the set of tiles will look like. It works online, you can use it in your browser.
Tilemark enables a seamless transition from a digital print to a physical product by carving any free vector, pattern or typography onto the durable and hygienic surface of the ceramic tile.
An architect can upload any design he or she wishes for. They can play around with tiles, change the color of the glaze, and preview the effect. The quotation is made automatically. We want to make everything as automated as possible.
What will happen to people who will lose their jobs due to the robotisation? I believe that we will find jobs in new industries and new sectors. But if we don’t, I think, there should be a political adjustment. From my perspective, we can not avoid this, but at the same time, I understand that people are afraid of it. We need to solve this problem in a political way.
If you have any questions regarding Tilemark brand and its products, you can send an email directly to Michael Hammar at firstname.lastname@example.org. To listen to the video interview recorded in Stockholm, watch the video above.
Do you find this interview interesting? Maybe you would like to buy me a coffee? Wherever you are, you can donate a small sum of money using your PayPal account or credit card. All donations will help me to finance my journeys to fairs, festivals and conferences about design and new technology – this is where I find news for my website. Just click the rectangular button below to perform a secure transaction. Thank you for your support, it will help me to take a step forward and write new posts.