Design Futures

July 24th, 2016

Return To The Source

Under Sky x Life Instyle invite you to Return To The Source - Royal Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, 4-7th August 2016

Return To The Source with Under Sky x Life Instyle - Royal Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens, 4-7th August 2016 image via homecamp.com.au

 

It’s just over a week until Life Instyle Melbourne 2016 opens, and high time I introduced the concept for this season’s event – Return To The Source.

 

Each season we have worked with Life Instyle to decipher the most profound trends influencing consumer behaviour to set a theme as an inspirational focus for the show.   For Melbourne 2016, we Return to the Source and demonstrate how the search for truthfulness and sincerity is directing consumers to the wildness of nature and the honesty of raw materials.

 

The Return To The Source concept was derived from our 2015 Design Futures IX forecast: TRUE.  In TRUE, we deliberated over what is becoming commonly known as the ‘trust deficit’, an issue pervading every aspect of our lives from politics to relationships to consumer behaviour.

Design Futures IX - TRUE image via bangupbetty.com

Design Futures IX: TRUE was broken into three themes – True Love, True Story and True Nature – and in it we considered “what is true?” and explored how people are responding to this climate of cynicism and mistrust. 

In November 2015, with these considerations in mind, we developed the theme for the upcoming Life Instyle exhibition, Return To The Source.

Essentially, Return to the Source is the answer to a question – How can we know what is truly authentic in a climate of marketing spin?  As we delved into this concept, it became clear that this search for truthfulness and sincerity was leading consumers and designers to the wildness of nature and the honesty of raw materials.

So, how did we get here?

This last decade has seen quite a profound shift in the relationship between the consumer and the producer.

With the “rise of the makers” we have been invited into the studios and workshops, the factories and kitchens to observe and maybe even participate.  In the process we have seen the revival of craftsmanship and artisanal skills.  Bespoke trumps brand as the new luxury.

Over successive years, we have watched this trend play out around us with an inexhaustible passion for workshops, lost trades and the handcrafted, as companies large and small echo back to us this message of the ‘authentic’ experience.

However, after more than half a decade of branding success and the evolution of the hipster subculture, we are finding that the words and imagery typically favoured by local, independent and small scale producers are being hijacked by global, mass-market brands wishing to mimic this story to infiltrate this market.

So, when the mass manufactured is masquerading as a micro brew, consumers and designers must both find new ways to, respectively, recognise and communicate the genuine article.

In design, we are witnessing this search for truthfulness and sincerity manifesting itself in a return to the wildness of nature and the honesty of raw materials as the inspiration for new collections.

Determined to make an informed choice but unsure who to trust, conscientious consumers turn to proof of provenance, to the evidence of their own experience and to the undeniable fidelity of Nature.

Elemental adventures and regional rediscovery satisfy our desire to wander, while tactile experiences offer much needed respite from the dominance of technology in our daily routines.

Coming home, we find ways to introduce these qualities into our spaces and lives through raw materials, natural textures, indoor greening and products of utility and integrity.

 

 

If you’d like to know how this might influence your business or your customers, we’d love you to join us on Thursday 4th August, as we present this special retail edition of Design Futures at Life Instyle Melbourne as we consider how designers and consumers are exploring ideas of provenance, rewilding, essentialism, relationships, materials and tactility.

On the show floor, don’t miss our special partnership with Under Sky – purveyors of luxury outdoor experience – showcasing product from across the show.

Tickets available via Life Instyle.

 

March 10th, 2016

Happiness by Design

The Happiness By Design edition of Life Instyle has drawn to a close and with it another beautiful Sydney sourcing season.

In realising the Happiness By Design concept on the show floor, I was thrilled to bring together a wonderful array of companies, designers and makers to collaborate with us on the different ambient spaces.  A huge thank you to everyone who came on board, sponsors, designers, visitors, exhibitors and media who joined us for our inaugural Bloggers Breakfast!

 

Genty Marshall Presenting the creative direction for this season's edition of Life Instyle Sydney at the inaugural Blogger's Breakfast

 

We developed the various ambient areas to reflect different interpretations of happiness – an elusive and subjective emotion that has no single interpretation and no perfect fit.

 

Happiness By Design garden – concept by Genty Marshall, landscape design by Dirtscape Dreaming and Pigweed

 

However, as a passionate green-thumb, it felt only natural to welcome visitors into the show through a tropical oasis, the Happiness By Design garden, created in collaboration with landscape designers Dirtscape Dreaming and Pigweed.

 

Happiness By Design garden - concept by Genty Marshall, landscape design by Dirtscape Dreaming and Pigweed

 

Designing the garden - moodboard development with Dirtscape Dreaming

This multisensory installation was designed to visually unite with the circular theme of the season’s branding and offer visitors a small sanctuary to reset their mind before entering the fair or return to and gather their energy after many hours on the show floor.  As a designer, I was most flattered to notice how popular the space was for nursing mothers!  A perfect little retreat to settle the little ones with the organic aromatherapy and rainforest soundscape introduced to calm the mind and seduce the senses.

 

Happiness By Design garden - concept by Genty Marshall, landscape design by Dirtscape Dreaming and Pigweed

 

We approached Melbourne-based landscape designers Dirtscape Dreaming to work with us on this area as they specialise in creating gardens that promote healing and wellbeing.  Keep an eye out on the Life Instyle blog for a Q&A into the creative process with Dirtscape Dreaming director Betsy-Sue Clarke.

 

Happiness By Design garden - concept by Genty Marshall, landscape design by Dirtscape Dreaming and Pigweed

 

In the Royal Hall of Industries, we tempted even the most restrained with an interactive installation of porch swings suspended from the rafters!  Simple pleasures complemented by the bold outdoor furnishings from Basil Bangs.

 

Swings installation with outdoor furnishings by Basil Bangs - concept by Genty Marshall

 

For the Kids Instyle café we were thrilled to collaborate with HUB furniture who shared with us their wonderful collection of Fatboy® inflatables and beanbags. As Albert Einstein said, creativity is intelligence having fun.  This season we encouraged the creative mind to wander as it is so often that daydreams become revelations.

 

HUB Furniture presents the Fatboy® inflatables at the Kids Instyle cafe - concept by Genty Marshall

 

Special thanks to illustrator Pegg’n’chops who brought the concept to life with a feature façade of illustrated balloon dogs, realising their dreams and learning to fly up, up and away!

 

HUB Furniture presents the Fatboy® inflatables at the Kids Instyle cafe - concept by Genty Marshall

 

We hope you enjoyed another fabulous edition of Life Instyle and can’t wait to share the concept we’ve developed for the next show – Melbourne, 4-7th August 2016!