The start of a new year is typically a time of reflection and prediction. I’m often asked, “What’s the newest design trend?” For 2017, let’s skip the “trend” discussion and focus on what really drives design – people. Organizations that understand and embrace the impact of design as a tool for cultivating relationships between people and environments will lead our industry. After all, good design is holistic in its reach and influence.
The idea of a chair as a singular artifact and benchmark of innovation will no longer define thought leadership. Thoughtful, human-centered design is the goal. 2017 will be a year of growth – continued interest and investment in solutions-based marketing and product applications.
Technology will continue to influence product design and planning concepts, but not necessarily in the ways we expect. What does this evolution look like? Forget electronic tools. Technological advances will manifest themselves in surface material options, composites, manufacturing processes and materiality. Furniture manufacturers will and should drive innovation in furniture design and not the reinvention of electronics.
2017 will see the lines between contract furniture design and residential design continue to blur. Education, healthcare, business, hospitality and residential design – recognize that people’s behavior styles and work styles don’t necessarily change when moving to a new environment, there are simply unique environmental nuisances that can be addressed by design and space planning.
I largely credit Interior designers with this convergence of markets. Designers are the conduit between us, the manufacturer, and end users, our customers. They respond to simplicity, to strong colors and patterns and to simple forms. All considerations to keep in mind as we delve into a new year and new design challenges.
Will 2017 be radically different than 2016? Perhaps not, but I anticipate that our industry will continue to evolve from a product-driven environment to one driven by ideas inspired by people.
I encourage you to check out KI's Design Resources for ideas and inspiration as we embark on 2017.