London Design Festival: Themes for Future Design

100% Design 2016

The past month has been exciting for Forster Inc: from working with Kirath Ghundoo on our first entryway design to attending the London Design Festival, welcoming new team members and starting a new office project, it’s been a busy time.

Now, a few weeks following the London Design Festival, we’ve had time to process all of the interesting and creative design we saw at the event.  A festival of innovation, this show is the perfect place to discover what’s in store for product, furniture and interior design for 2017 and beyond.  

Amidst all of the personality and flare, we noted a few underlying themes that will impact not only the design itself but how consumers experience the design.

Super Brands London/Tent London 2016

Super Brands London/Tent London 2016

designjunction 2016

designjunction 2016

London Design Festival 2016: Themes for Future Design

1.    End-to-End Sustainability

Using sustainable materials in furniture design has luckily been in a theme in interiors for some time now, something that we at Forster Inc love. A natural progression from this, product and furniture designers increasingly need to account for their entire design process, ensuring they are sustainable from start to finish. A product needs to be more than just ‘eco-friendly’ to match consumer pace; it has to be a completely sustainable creation.

We noticed many exhibitors demonstrating this, including Out For Space, a team of engineers and designers who are working to set new standards in manufacturing sustainable materials, particularly through their use of rattan.

Images via Out for Space

2.  A Sensory Experience

No longer enough to just think about how a design will look, interior designers increasingly need to consider the entire sensory experience when planning a design. One of the most important of these is sound quality. We once designed an entire room around sound quality, and we only expect more interior designers will be doing the same.  Product designers are now dedicating more time and research coming up with the ultimate sound experience.

Resound is a series of organic amplifiers for iPhones, inspired by extensive research into the therapeutic use of music and designed to bring the warmth and interaction back into music. The amplifier enhances the iPhone’s music through natural materials, such as wood and ceramic – no electricity required.


3.  Innovative Materials

Doors made out of recycled waste. An old-fashioned gramophone-turned-smartphone music player made out of wood (as above). More than ever, materials are being used in unexpected and innovative ways that are not only more sustainable but interesting, adding to the bespoke story a room tells for each consumer. As a move towards sustainability grows, this trend will undoubtedly follow suit.

Shoreditch-based architectural company Red Deer have created a series of ‘door blanks’ that can easily fit into every doorframe, each one made from a different recycled waste material – including timber, fabric, plastic, stone and paper – and bound with sustainable bio resin. 

Image via red deer

4.  Adaptable Furniture

There’s no doubt about it: cities are getting bigger, and as more of us move into these dense agglomerations, we will need more compact, adaptable and portable furniture for our homes and offices. Designers are starting to pick up on this trend, creating furniture that expands in clever ways and that is easy and accessible to use.

Dackelid-Form’s ‘Wooden Cloth’ table is a perfect example of this. Inspired by compact living furniture and a tablecloth, the wooden top easily rolls up and down to make the table smaller or bigger as needed. Watch this video to see the table in action.

Image via Dackelid-Form

5.  Design that tells a Story

Part of the appeal of a design festival is getting to know the story of the exhibiting designer. However, more than ever, there’s an appetite to know where a product comes from and how it is produced. As we move away from mass production into the realm of craftsmanship and the artisanal, clients across all sectors want each piece in an overall design to tell a story, have a history or create a bespoke experience for them.

One of our favourite products with a story is a chair by new furniture brand 366 Concept. They revived a forgotten Eastern Bloc mid-century classic that has been out of production for 30 years. The creators’ aim was to bring back this icon of their childhood in Poland, hoping to follow in the footsteps of well-known Danish brands and make this chair a classic in the furniture world.