Perspectives: Architectural & Design Forecast
Today’s emerging themes in design and architecture are being influenced by six key factors:
Economic Sobriety: In light of the economic downturn, a more disciplined position on consumption has surfaced, with greater value placed on family and a simpler way of life. Consumers are seeking products with longevity and a more necessary function. In turn, the design aesthetic is reverting to its original premise: to create useful objects that last, with a stronger emphasis on craftsmanship.
Globalization of Markets: As Asian and Latin countries become increasingly influential, the world is becoming more accepting of products that reflect their indigenous culture and history. This global view, however, is tempered with a desire to buy local and in order for global materials to be well received, a well communicated and honest itinerary of the product’s life cycle and supply chain must be provided.
Consumer Responsibility: Consumers are demanding social, ethical, cultural and health information on products. Characteristics such as environmental footprint, product traceability, ethical transparency, sustainability, fair-trade, anti-waste, recycling and eternal design will have a major influence on lifestyle, product design, marketing and purchasing.
Womenomics: We will experience a marked increase in female leadership, involvement in emerging industries, and buying power over the next 20 years. This could lead to an attitudinal shift based on right-brain thinking, with emphasis on creativity, collaboration, communication and conceptual thinking. This demographic also has a strong voice in the social and environmental responsibility movement.
Slash/Slash Generation: The upcoming generation is comprised of “do-it-allers” - young professionals who excel in a multitude of disciplines. As they reject the top-down model of commerce, their approval system will be based more on peer networks and the digital space. Their influence on architecture is yet to be revealed, but their impact on the way we communicate, think, design and shop is evident.
Blue-Sky Thinking: An era of unpredictability has the potential to become a great gift for our industry, as more people are embracing creative thought, changing their buying habits and desiring spaces that offer a simpler life. This brings us the opportunity to herald in a new cycle—designing, sourcing, and marketing products that are responsible, sustainable, inventive, emotive, and classically beautiful.