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Published: 18 Jul 2018

Imperfect Ceramics Add Character to Mass Production

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Cedit x Formafantasma

Brands seeking ways to give mass-produced design a handcrafted feel should take note of Cedit's tile collection, which celebrates the beauty of imperfection through intentional inconsistencies in colour.

As the middle market search for more nuanced, individualised products, the challenge for brands is to produce randomness and even imperfection at scale, without impacting the cost.

Italian ceramics manufacturer Cedit has collaborated with Amsterdam-based design duo Formafantasma to develop Cromatica – a range of tiles which uses subtle nuances of colour to create surfaces with a handcrafted feel. This approach subverts the norms of manufacturing, which typically strives for consistency and even colour across batches. 

The collection offers six colours with two surface finishes: natural or glossy. Based on a palette created for Cedit by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass in the 1980s, Formafantasma extended each colour group to its widest range, and applied these hues to the tiles. 

A gradated scale of colour is visible in each of the large porcelain slabs. These can be cut into smaller tiles and shuffled, so that a range of hues is included in each pack. For example, the Binaco (white) colour group includes blush tones and hints of green, yet still works as a set.  

In our Look Ahead for 2018, we highlighted the growing importance of crafted imperfection in surfaces and products. The challenge for brands and manufacturers is achieving this at scale – a conundrum that Cedit has solved, inspiring others to follow. See our S/S 2019 Materials Focus report Human-Made for further inspiration.

Published: 6 Jul 2018

Graduate Textiles 2018: 5 Designers to Watch

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Diane Bresson

Each summer, the latest graduate shows offer an insight into our creative future, with the next generation of talent showcasing an exciting array of new, unseen work. We scoured the shows for the emerging UK textile designers with the most promising projects and innovative use of colour and materials. Here’s our edit of the ones to watch.

  • Pattern Play: In line with themes in our S/S 18 Colour Spectrum direction Perspective, Diane Bresson from Central Saint Martins (CSM) produced a striking collection of digital and screen-printed wallpapers in dynamic and intriguing patterns. Simple geometric shapes and textures were overlaid in a number of explorative colour combinations to create complex patterns that appear to play with perception. The wallpaper lengths can be hung in various ways to create multiple pattern options.

    The designer also experimented with the fusion of pattern and moving colour. Digitally printed wallpapers were animated with coloured light projections, exploring how static pattern can become experiential. Be sure to watch the video here.
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Diane Bresson
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Diane Bresson
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Diane Bresson
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Diane Bresson
  • Softening Hard Materials: Responding to our busy modern lives, CSM graduate Lucy Paskell similarly focused on improving wellbeing by creating textiles that engage the user through touch. Her collection of surface solutions considered how to bring the feelings of comfort experienced in domestic spaces into our everyday surroundings, by softening and adding tactility to hard surfaces.

    Soft upholstery fabrics such as velvet and leather were combined with wood veneer, digital embroidery and 3D-print techniques such as embossing to create touchable relief surfaces. Suitable for a number of interior applications, the nature of the techniques allows surfaces to be personalised to suit the space and user.
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Lucy Paskell
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Lucy Paskell
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Lucy Paskell
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Lucy Paskell
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Lucy Paskell
  • Reconnecting with Nature: In an impressive and thorough body of work, Heather Ratliff from Loughborough University explored how textiles can help us to reconnect with nature and improve mental wellbeing.

    Her collection of fabrics for (slow) fashion brought together ideas of biophilic design, craftsmanship, tactility and sensory experiences through carefully considered textures, colours, pattern and scent. Crafted hand-stitching added texture for a haptic experience, patterns were inspired by natural rhythms, and scents such as jasmine and lavender infused fabrics – all in a bid to benefit the wearer.
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Heather Ratliff
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Heather Ratliff
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Heather Ratliff
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Heather Ratliff
  • Sustainable Processes: A respect for sustainable materials and working methods continues to drive textile graduates. Focusing on the potential of British wool, Alison Wibmer from the Edinburgh College of Art took a considerate approach when creating her collection of inviting wool-based interior fabrics.

    The designer worked with the notion of “fibre to fabric”, locally and ethically sourcing fleece that was washed, spun and felted by hand before being embroidered and dyed sustainably. Resourceful dye processes, such as batch dyeing and reusing waste water were employed to maximise resources and minimise waste. See Considered Colour and Home Ground: Colour S/S 2019 for more on responsible dye processes. 

    Wibmer’s bold and comforting textiles, suitable for rugs and flooring, incorporated other biodegradable fibres such as Tencel and bamboo to add surface interest through colour and material variation.
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Alison Wibmer
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Alison Wibmer
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Alison Wibmer
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Alison Wibmer
  • Modernising Craftsmanship: Royal College of Art graduate Sophie Graney presented a playful collection of handwoven outdoor fabrics that combine traditional techniques such as lacework with unconventional materials like PVC, rubber-coated yarn and leather. The bold, colour-blocked pieces are waterproof and suitable for outdoor lifestyle accessories and exterior furnishings.

    Contemporary takes on traditional craft and skills are a concept we explored in our recent S/S 20 Materials Focus – see Hands of Time for more.
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Sophie Graney
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Sophie Graney
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Sophie Graney

For more textile inspiration, see Milan 2018: Accessories & Textiles and Première Vision S/S 19.

 

Published: 5 Jul 2018

Fashion’s Future Fabrics: Brands Tap Sustainability & Tech

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L-R: Loomia, Circular Systems, COS

Consumer demand for sustainable goods and advanced technology is on the rise. Smart brands and retailers are finding innovative ways to satisfy these environmentally conscious yet stylistically discerning millennials. Here, we take a look at three future-facing fashion projects and innovations for July.

  • H&M-owned brand Cos has launched its savvy new Repurposed Cotton Project – a collection of sweatshirts made entirely of cotton scraps from a year of production. The low-cost process entails shredding, compacting, spinning, weaving and dying the discarded cotton, with the results identical in look and feel to similar non-sustainable alternatives. 
  • Brooklyn-based start-up Loomia has developed a nylon-like material that works like a circuit board and can be draped, creased and stretched. Not only can the textile emit light and heat, allowing the user to illuminate their path at night or warm their clothes in the winter, but it can also gather valuable data for fashion companies. The user can seamlessly sell this data – which includes their surrounding climate and activity levels – to fashion brands and retailers, who can use the data as feedback to improve their products and design processes.
  • LA-based materials start-up Circular Systems uses banana by-products, pineapple leaves, flax and hemp stalk, and waste created from crushing sugar cane to create a natural fibre that can be woven into material fabrications for garments. The company will work with brands like H&M and Levi’s to integrate its fibres into their fabric-manufacturing operations.

For more on sustainable solutions, see A Sustainable Journey, Fashion’s Sustainability Surge and Sustainability Turns Smart: Manufacturing a Clean Future

Published: 27 Jun 2018

New Eco-Material Made from Coconut Waste

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Coconut bio waste is made into sustainable material

Addressing the increasingly voracious consumer demand for ethical and sustainable material production, Aussie start-up Nanollose has developed the world's first rayon fabric made of biowaste from the food industry.

The material, called Nullarbor, is made by adding microbes to coconut biomass. This naturally ferments the otherwise wasted industry byproduct to create microbial cellulose, which can be used to create a rayon-based material.

This process uses very little land, water or energy, as well as none of the pesticides and fertilisers used to create conventional rayon, which is sourced from wood pulp. According to the brand, this process can also be used to convert wasted biomass from the beer and wine industries, demonstrating the broader potential for this process.

Nanollose chief executive Alfie Germano said: "My vision is for Nanollose to be at the forefront of offering fashion and textile groups a viable alternative, and decreasing the industry's reliance on environmentally burdensome, raw materials."

This process further shows how ingredients and waste products traditionally found in the food industry can have myriad cross-industry applications, as discussed in our report Trans-Industry Ingredients. It also speaks to growing consumer expectations for sustainable textiles in fashion and interiors, as recently covered in our report A Sustainable Journey.

Published: 22 Jun 2018

London Design Fair Crowns Plastic Material of the Year

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Dirk Vander Kooij

As the public backlash against plastic continues, an increasing number of brands, designers and organisations are rethinking the way we produce, consume and recycle it. In a bid to further raise awareness, the London Design Fair (LDF) has decided to spotlight the condemned material – naming it Material of the Year.

Returning for its second showcase, LDF’s Material of the Year aims to introduce visitors to the most intriguing materials in today’s design world. At last year’s inaugural event, the title went to Jesmonite.

This year’s show highlights how plastic is being repurposed in imaginative and valuable ways. It will feature the following four noteworthy participants, who are adding desirability through design and treating plastic waste as a new virgin material.

  • London-based material designer Charlotte Kidger uses plastic waste, such as polyurethane foam dust from CNC fabrication processes, to create a new composite material. Her explorations result in products such as vases and tables, demonstrating the material’s potential.
  • Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij combines low-resolution 3D printing and extrusion techniques with reclaimed plastic waste to create playful furniture pieces.
  • Japanese product designer Kodai Iwamoto employs traditional glassblowing techniques with cheap, mass-produced industrial PVC plastic piping to create a collection of handcrafted tubular vases.
  • Brighton-based design studio Weez & Merl recycles waste low-density polyethylene (LDPE) by melting, kneading and manipulating the material into a variety of striking marbled sheets, suitable for homeware products and material surfaces.

Material of the Year will be on show from September 20-23 – look out for our coverage of LDF in September. For more innovative approaches to plastic, see Evolving Plastics.

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Charlotte Kidger
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Kodai Iwamoto
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Weez & Merl
Published: 19 Jun 2018

The Colour-Changing Fabric Controlled by a Smartphone

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ChroMorphous user-controlled colour-changing fabric

Scientists in Florida have developed an innovative colour-changing fabric that can be controlled with a smartphone app – opening up the exciting possibility of on-demand personalisation for a multitude of products.

Created by a team at College of Optics & Photonics (CREOL), part of the University of Central Florida, the smart ChroMorphous technology lets users decide when and how the change happens. Through the smartphone app, users can choose from a variety of predetermined colour and pattern options – for instance, a solid colour can be swapped for a striped pattern, or shifted into a different colour shade. 

The fabric is woven using threads that incorporate thin metal microwire. An electric current is passed through the wire, slightly raising the thread’s temperature. Special pigments embedded in the thread then respond to this altered temperature by changing colour. For small-scale uses, the fabric can be powered with a battery pack. 

Like traditional fabrics, ChroMorphous is produced on regular industrial-scale weaving machines and can be cut, sewn, washed and ironed. This makes it suitable for a variety of applications including fashion, accessories, upholstery and automotive textiles. Brands looking to create interactive and colourful spaces and products should consider the potential of this versatile technology.

The team is now working on producing thinner fibres in order to make the material smoother and more flexible, and hopes this development will help to successfully merge fashion and technology for seamless applications.  

For further colour-changing applications, see our A/W 18/19 Colour Direction Sci-BioFire: Colour-Changing Hair Dye and Colour-Changing Cocktails.

Published: 12 Jun 2018

Food Delivery Packaging Transformed into Furniture

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RR201 stools by Andreu Carulla

At Barcelona Design Week (June 5-14), design facility Disseny Hub Barcelona showcased Spanish designer Andreu Carulla’s RR201 stools, made from recycled expanded polystyrene (EPS).

EPS is the perfect material for providing thermal insulation and protecting goods during transport as it is lightweight, yet voluminous. However, it is notoriously difficult to recycle, as these material characteristics also make it costly to process.

Carulla collaborated with Michelin-star restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona to turn EPS boxes – in which it receives food from suppliers – into furniture. After use, the packaging is rinsed off, shredded using a pedal-powered grinder, and transferred into an aluminium mould.

Using steam vapour from a coffee machine and a manual workshop press, the shredded fragments are formed into a solid block. This is then removed from the mould and sprayed with an eco-friendly resin for a resistant coating.

Each stool weighs less than 2kg and consists of six EPS boxes – the number received by the restaurant each day.

This progressive, zero-waste initiative demonstrates how small-scale manufacturing processes that use industry-specific materials can give dimension and tangibility to brand values. This is a concept we explore further in our 2018/19 Materials Forecast Home Ground.

We also feature a sunflower-derived alternative to EPS, developed by Dutch designer Thomas Vailly, in our S/S 20 Materials Focus theme Botanical Modernism. For more on how governments, brands and designers are rethinking the way we produce and consume plastic, see Evolving Plastics

Published: 8 Jun 2018

New Design Concepts Play with Natural Light

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Nathanaël Abeille & Carlos Muniagurria, Reflective bricks

Consumers are feeling a greater disconnect from natural environments as the world becomes increasingly urbanised. As an antidote to the lack of natural light in urban spaces, designers are finding innovative ways to enhance or artificially replicate daylight in our homes and built environments. Here are three exciting examples.

  • Driven by a concern over the lack of natural light in city dwellings, French designer Nathanaël Abeille and Argentinian materials specialist Carlos Muniagurria have developed a process of metalising common bricks in order to reflect sunlight in built-up areas. Coated in chrome and nickel alloy, the bricks could be used to divert and share sunlight between buildings in dark urban streets.
  • Presented at Milan Design Week 2018, Japanese designer Yuji Okitsu’s Focus installation enhances natural and ambient lighting in interior environments. The mobile-like sculpture consists of a number of flat glass lenses that hang from the ceiling. These capture, collect and diffuse light from all angles, creating an ever-changing lit space that brings the nuances of natural daylight indoors.
  • Based in Zurich and Marseille, design studio AATB showcased the Sunny Side Up robotic sun at Milan Design Week 2018 – a contemporary version of the traditional sundial. The conceptual installation features an illuminated robotic arm that orbits around a metal rod, casting a shadow as it goes. The moving light embodies the movement of the sun in real time and aims to reconnect the viewer with the rhythms of daylight. See Lamp Imitates Natural Light Indoors for a similar concept.

For more on the positive impact of natural light on our wellbeing, see Natural Relations within our Materialising Modern Work report, and Supernatural Light in Transformative Spaces.

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Yuji Okitsu, Focus
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AATB, Sunny Side Up
Published: 31 May 2018

Beyond anticipation for the millennium, 2020 is the milestone year that has always denoted ‘tomorrow’s world’. Now, our global colour specialists have forecast the trends that will land in real life for this once-futuristic year.

By looking across the creative industries and the worlds of art, technology and science, they’ve foreseen an exciting, vibrant and positive tomorrow – a tomorrow that’s coming fast.

Here are their three defining trends:

1. Time Travel: Look Back to Look Forward

Our research this season has seen us jumping into the future whilst looking back at landmark highlights from the past. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, which not only signified a huge technological accomplishment, but also impacted design and aesthetics.

Half a century later, designers are revisiting the symbolism of the moon and celestial formations in a modern context. We’re seeing mysticism being captured aesthetically, through a redefined space-age palette, in augmented environments and products. Three shades from our Colour Spectrum S/S 2020 capture this trend: pale purple Cosmos; vivid, lunar-inspired Dark Windsor; and a particularly spectacular shade of Neon Peach that I want to surround myself with from this day forward.

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Giorgia Zanellato
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Field IO, Suprachromacy
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Sies Marjan, A/W 18/19
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2. The New Age of Nature

We’ve been citing the importance of biophilic design within our everyday lives as part of a wider wellbeing trend. As we design sensitively for the future, we look for ways to convey nature’s fluid rhythms and irregularities through enriching patterns and finishes.

Lauren Chiu, our senior editor of Colour & Materials, says: “For Spring/Summer 2020, we imagine calming utopias where living colour nourishes our senses alongside materials that grow and evolve, nurturing our mind and body as they mature.” A botanical palette includes mineral Blue Shale, verdant Reseda Green, and chalky, soothing Rosaline.

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Alice Walton Ceramics
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Ròmola by Andrés Jaque Architects
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Alexis Christodoulou
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3. Humanity’s Global Heritage

In our wider consumer trend research, we’ve been questioning what it means to be human today – considering what unites and divides us, while acknowledging the crucial role of diversity in society’s wellbeing. For a bright, borderless future, we’re inspired by a rich and resourceful aesthetic that draws influence from a broad global audience.

An appreciation of cultural heritage and skills is leading an exploration of traditional craft, as we see time-honoured techniques being invigorated through contemporary construction. This is where colours that convey history and age-old character – like deep Indigo Ink, stripped-back Vanilla and energising Emberglow – come in.

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Cristian Mohaded
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Musée Yves Saint Laurent by Studio KO
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Lisa Folawiyo S/S 18
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Here, I’ve presented a sample of just nine of the 48 colours that make up our biannual Colour Spectrum, a glimpse at the colours we should prepare to embrace in 2020.

Alongside our global colour specialists, our advisory team can create bespoke colour forecasts with ideas for application. If you’re interested in finding out more, please do get in touch with our Advisory team.

Wishing you a colourful month,

Tessa Mansfield

Chief Creative Officer

Published: 30 May 2018

Edible Kombucha Packaging

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Roza Janusz

Polish design student Roza Janusz has designed a new form of edible bio-packaging made from kombucha that can easily be produced by farmers to wrap their produce, allowing them to bring their products to market with zero waste.

The designer claims that the concept could turn packaging production into an enriching benefit for the environment, rather than damaging it.

Scoby (meaning the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is produced by adding sugars and other organic substances to kombucha, which is then left to ferment and develop a membrane skin on the top. This is removed after two weeks and forms the thin packaging sheets.

The resulting new material is vegetarian-friendly and completely biodegradable and has a long shelf-life thanks to its low PH. It has a light kombucha flavour on its own, but takes on the flavour of its contents when heated.

Janusz has suggested that the material can be used to package a variety of foods, including fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, herbs, seeds and even instant meals.

For an in-depth dive into sustainable packaging innovations and solutions, see Packaging Futures 2017/18: Sustainability; Evoware: Packaging You Can Eat; Edible Banana Peel. See also Outside In: Living Materials for similar design solutions and material alternatives using living matter.

Laboratory-grown materials and solutions to our depleting material sources is an important theme in our upcoming Materials Focus S/S 20 story Augmented Space, publishing soon.

Published: 25 May 2018

Mylo: Mycelium-Based Vegan Leather Alternative

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Mylo

Californian start-up Bolt Threads has developed Mylo, a plant-based alternative to real leather. Mylo is made from mycelium – the root system of mushrooms, which grows underground in woodlands and forests. 

Mycelium cells are cultivated using corn stalks and additional nutrients in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment to optimise growth. The resulting material is a strong, interlaced network of fibres which is compressed, tanned, dyed and embossed to produce leather-like characteristics.

One of the main advantages Mylo has over real leather is its reduced environmental impact. Animal rearing takes up large amounts of time and land and creates a significant carbon footprint, whereas Mylo can be grown over the course of a few weeks. And while other leather alternatives are commonly made from PVC or polyurethane, which do not biodegrade, Mylo can be composted.

Grown materials such as Mylo pave the way for a shift in how we design materials and products, as material properties, dimensions and colours can be controlled by manipulating the environment in which they are grown.

Vegan materials are becoming an increasingly important consideration for product designers. In 2017, the inaugural Vegan Home Awards recognised brands including Ikea, Habitat and Made.com for their cruelty-free furniture and homeware. And as reported in our Active Lives Macro Trend, veganism is showing strong global growth, which looks set to expand beyond food and beauty into the broader context of design. See Trans-industry Ingredients for more on mycelium and lab-grown leather alternatives.

For further inspiration, read our 2018/19 Materials Focus report Home Ground.

Published: 22 May 2018

Puma x MIT: Biodesign for Sports Products

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Puma x MIT Design Lab: Puma Biodesign

A research project led by Puma and the MIT Design Lab in the US explores how biological design could be used to produce the next generation of sports apparel, footwear and wearables. It investigates how living materials such as algae or bacteria can respond in real time to enhance the performance of both products and athletes.

Presented as an exhibition at Milan Design Week 2018, the Puma Biodesign research focused on four experiments: a ‘breathing’ shoe, a ‘learning’ insole, pollution-monitoring wearables and adaptive packaging.

  • The Breathing Shoe: Made from a biodegradable material and featuring a pattern of cavities filled with bacteria and gelatinous matter, this sports shoe’s upper grows its own air passageways to enable personalised ventilation. In response to heat generated by the wearer’s feet, the bacteria consume the gelatinous substance, altering the surface of the shoe. Over time, each shoe adopts a unique look that’s based on the activity profile of its user. 
  • Deep Learning Insoles: This silicone-based disposable insole improves athletes’ performance by incorporating microbial cultures that provide real-time biofeedback.

    The microorganisms detect chemicals in the skin and sweat that indicate fatigue and wellbeing, and respond by outputting specific pH and conductivity changes. These biochemical changes are then registered by a layer of electrical circuits and broadcasted to a smart device via microcontrollers. The data captured from the insoles can be used to track activity patterns and build long-term models of user activity that help to inform the user about their fatigue before it happens.
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The Breathing Shoe, Puma x MIT Design Lab
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The Breathing Shoe, Puma x MIT Design Lab
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Deep Learning Insole, Puma x MIT Design Lab
  • Carbon Eaters: These “microbially active” wearable stickers called Carbon Eaters change colour in response to carbon dioxide in the environment, informing the wearer about air quality while they’re participating in sport outside. 

    Made using algae that changes colour as it absorbs CO2, the stickers turn from dark yellow-brown to bright purple. The brighter the shade of purple, the poorer the air quality. See pH-Responsive T-Shirts for more on visualising pollution, and Living Colour: Dyeing with Bacteria to explore colour-producing bacteria.
  • Adaptive Packaging: The research also looked beyond wearables, developing a living, biodegradable material for packaging. It’s biologically programmed to inflate on demand using heat, allowing it to change shape and structure to adapt to the product within.

    The packaging is made using a biodegradable elastomer and two types of microorganisms: yeast that produces carbon dioxide to inflate air sacs within the packaging walls, and genetically modified bacteria that deflate the packaging over time by degrading the material. It can be designed for short- or long-term use by timing the degradation process using chemical inhibitors that are printed onto the material. 

    See Evoware: Packaging You Can Eat and Packaging Futures: Sustainability for more on biomaterial packaging solutions.

For more on material innovations and progressive products in the fitness industry, see Activated Materials, part of our Active Lives Macro Trend.

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Carbon Eaters, Puma x MIT Design Lab
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Adaptive Packaging, Puma x MIT Design Lab
Published: 18 May 2018

Kengo Kuma Sculpture Absorbs Pollution

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Kengo Kuma Sculpture Absorbs Pollution

Japanese architect and designer Kengo Kuma’s latest work of art, titled Breath/ng, is an impressive fabric sculpture that can absorb the emissions of 90,000 cars per year.

Created for Milan Design Week 2018, the origami-like hanging structure is made from 120 hand-folded panels of an innovative air-purifying fabric that captures pollution in the air, cleans the particles, and generates clean air.

The multi-layered fabric, called The Breath, was developed by Italian start-up Anemotech. It contains a molecule-activated core that separates and absorbs large amounts of toxic pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides from the surrounding environment. Anemotech asserts that the material has numerous applications in both indoor and outdoor spaces, and it has already been used to make advertising billboards for highly polluted urban areas.

Kuma’s 6m-tall sculpture uses 175 sq m of the fabric, and is constructed using 46 unique 3D-printed joints. The installation was conceived in collaboration with French 3D-modelling company Dassault Systèmes, whose software was used to design the piece.

The project taps into growing global concerns about pollution and its negative impact on both the environment and consumers’ health. A number of future-facing designers and scientists are looking to address the problem by creating toxin-absorbing materials. See the Reducing Pollution section in Considered Environment to discover a number of solutions with real-world applications, such as air-purifying cement. 

Designers, architects and city planners should seek to incorporate such pollution-busting materials into urban spaces – both indoors and outdoors – in order to create healthier environments for consumers. See also Carbon-Negative Building Material Made of CO2.

Published: 15 May 2018

Dimore Studio's Cultural & Historic Room Sets

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Dimore Studio, Transfer

As part of Milan Design Week 2018 (April 17-22), Milan-based designers Dimore Studio created an exhibition dedicated to classic 20th-century design. The theme ties in with a growing appreciation of cultural heritage, history and age-old character, as explored in our latest design direction Hands of Time from our S/S 2020 Colour Spectrum.

Entitled Transfer, a series of interior-styled installations took visitors on an emotive journey through different cultural and historical atmospheres. The eclectic room sets were housed in fabric tents and filled with pieces from the designers’ historical collections, as well as intimate objects and personal belongings. Visitors could navigate around the tents and peer through openings and makeshift windows at the curated displays inside.

Each room conveyed a different world – including the Silk Road traveller, the séance room, an Italian camping scene, the French Riviera and an Arab harem – and was accompanied by a distinctive scent and soundtrack. Meanwhile, two additional display rooms imagined the cultivated archives of a collector, while showcasing the studio’s best archive furniture pieces.

See our complete coverage of Milan Design Week 2018 for key trends across colour, materials, branded environments, lifestyle and product design.

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Dimore Studio, Transfer
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Dimore Studio, Transfer
Published: 11 May 2018

Frieze NY 2018

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Sakurdo Fine Arts

Influential art fair Frieze (May 4-6) filled a series of expansive tents on New York’s Randall’s Island with contemporary works showcased by global galleries. We highlight the prominent themes and standout works.

  • Bold & Bright Colour: Expanding on a recent theme (see Art Basel & Design Miami/Basel 2017 and Miami Art & Design Trends 2017), vibrant rainbow shades punctuated the fair – used in both playful and darker, more ironic ways.

    The more joyful works included a bright conical wooden piece by Moroccan multimedia artist Yto Barrada; American artist Tony Tasset’s Mood Sculpture, a totem pole of smiley-to-unhappy faces; and a wall sculpture by Brooklyn-based Josh Sperling comprising squiggles in Memphis Group-inspired hues. See also Playful Optimism: Colour from our A/W 19/20 Colour Spectrum.

    Bright hues were also deployed in more serious pieces, like New York-based painter Josh Smith’s richly coloured paintings of the grim reaper and Korean artist Cody Choi’s neon-lit commentary on capitalist excess, reading “Free Orgasm”. Swirling colours dominated American multimedia artist Nick Cave’s Tondo, a six-foot-diameter circle constructed with metal, wire, bugle beads, sequined fabric and wood. Part of a series by the artist, the coloured patterns in the deceptively seductive piece were derived by mapping cataclysmic weather patterns onto the brain scans of black youth traumatised by gun violence.
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Tony Tasset
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Josh Smith
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Josh Sperling
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Yto Barrada
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Nick Cave
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Cody Choi
  • Attention-Demanding Red: Rich reds similarly conveyed a spectrum of moods. Some works used the colour for an exuberant pop-art effect, including a red Lego wall piece by British artist Michael Wilkinson, heavily lipsticked lips by New York-based artist Gina Beavers, and a wall-mounted snake by German sculptor Katharina Fritsch. Red represents rage in an installation by British artist Tracey Emin titled I Never Asked to Fall in Love – You Made Me Feel Like This.
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Gina Beavers
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Katharine Fritsch
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Tracey Emin
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Tracey Emin
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Ha Chong-Hyun
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Michael Wilkinson
  • Fine Art Via Craft & Folk: Artists enlisted traditional craft or folk-art materials and practices as a means to explore identity, memory and heritage. 

    A Frieze highlight, an installation by Jamaican-Canadian sculptor Tau Lewis consisted of arresting figures seated or lying on the floor, made by sewing, carving and assembling found and repurposed materials. Meanwhile, both Canadian-Trinidadian artist Curtis Talwst Santiago and American artist Jeffrey Gibson(whose background is Choctaw-Cherokee) used beadwork to convey rich cultural tradition.

    Embroidered works by Jordan Nassar, a Palestinian-Polish American artist, reference traditional Palestinian crafts and patterns. American artist Summer Wheat achieves a tapestry-like effect by pressing acrylic paint through a framed mesh screen in works that stretch up to 20ft across. 
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Tau Lewis
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Tau Lewis
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Tau Lewis
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Curtis Talwst Santiago
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Jeffrey Gibson
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Jordan Nassar
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Jordan Nassar
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Summer Wheat
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Summer Wheat
  • Art & Commerce: Works explored consumer culture and aesthetics across artistic media. New York-based Roe Ethridge and Norwegian-born Torbjørn Rødland subtly played with the polish of commercial photography in compelling works, notably Ethridge’s portrait of a transgender subject holding an iPhone. American painter David Salle wryly referenced mid-century advertising illustrations in The Housewife’s Dilemma.

    American artist Hugh Hayden and British ceramicist Jesse Wine both juxtaposed organic forms with mundane commercial products, while Polish-born conceptual artist Agnieszka Kurant and Swiss multimedia artist Tobias Kaspar riffed on branding and marketing mechanisms. Kurant’s display cabinet Placebo was packed with tongue-in-cheek fake pharmaceutical products – for instance Berzerk, whose packaging claims it “boosts the user’s bestial behaviour”. Kaspar’s large-scale installation, The Complete Aesop, reproduced Australian luxe cosmetics brand Aesop’s product line in porcelain, intended to recall ancient Greek sculpture.

    A whimsical installation by American artist Ann Agee displayed around 200 items of shoe-inspired stoneware, earthenware and porcelain sculptures, each marked with variations of a ‘logo’, such as “Agee Manufacturing Co”.
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Roe Ethridge
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Torbjørn Rødland
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Hugh Hayden
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Jesse Wine
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David Salle
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Agnieszka Kurant
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Agnieszka Kurant
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Agnieszka Kurant
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Tobias Kaspar
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Ann Agee
  • Discomfiting Portraiture: The show’s most striking portraits were slightly unsettling, like British artist Nicola Tyson’s graphite drawing of a woman balling her fists and another crying. Several pieces distorted or erased identity, as in works by American painter Nathaniel Mary Quinn and Mexican-American multimedia artist Eduardo Sarabia.
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Nicola Tyson
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Eduardo Sarabia
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Nathaniel Mary Quinn
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Celia Paul
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Tobias Kaspar

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