This was the second time that London Design Festival took place during the pandemic. The most a noticeable difference from previous festivals was that no major trade shows took place in central London. Instead, the festival was more spread around the city than ever before.
Image: Design London new trade show venue, Greenwich Peninsula
It feels like this year’s event was ‘put on a hold’. A lot has changed during pandemic and the Design Festival needs to reflect that. Visitors expect to see new radical ideas for building the future. Unfortunately, that was not the case. It is time to re-think and re-imagine the future for the next Festival.
Design trends 2021+
All in all two contrasting design directions emerge: minimalist & timeless and expressive & maximal. Both directions have two different trend stories each.
Minimalist & timeless direction
Both Calming Nature and Warm Embrace are harmonious and timeless design trends to create restorative spaces.
– ‘Between Forests and Skies’ pavilion by Nebbia Works, V&A museum
– C2 building in weathered steel by Mole Architects, Design District in Greenwich
Calming Nature trend
Harmony and balance
Timeless and minimal
Calming Nature trend follows symmetrical form language.
Colour palettes are pale and neutral. Materials are soft. Comforting blankets and fluffy carpets create tranquil surroundings to reduce stress and anxiety.
Warm Embrace trend
Sustainable and ethical
Form language of Warm Embrace trend is natural. It is a departure from formal angular and severe rectangular forms towards more round and friendly shapes.
Warm Embrace materials are pampering and ‘hugging’. Earthy palette is using colours of nature. Variety of green hues and warm yellows are used with retro browns. New sustainable materials include waste and organic alternatives. The trend introduces both new techniques and also reinterpreting traditional craft processes.
Expressive & maximal direction
Both Joyful Energy and Wonder & Discovery design trends are full on maximal expression to create invigorating spaces.
– Rooftop of building by Architecture 00, Design District in Greenwich
– Square in Design District in Greenwich, buildings in background by 6a architects and SelgasCano
Joyful Energy trend
Cheerful and uplifting spaces
Bold colour injections
Playful and bright
Joyful Energy trend is moving towards more expressive form language. It offers a variety of new flexible and adjustable solutions.
There is much more colour variety on offer. Bold colours including neons are included in furniture and homeware collections.
Wonder & Discovery trend
In Wonder & Discovery trend the form language follows a story of the product, that is based on a strong concept. Furniture becomes functional art.
It is about experimenting with new materials like waste to discover organic alternatives to plastic. Colours departure from traditional furniture palettes towards fashion colours.
All in all, the four design trends for 2021+ follow familiar pandemic themes. Since sustainable living is the foundation for design thinking at the moment, it is important that trends reflect that. As a consequence, they should last longer and be closely linked to a sustainable lifestyle.