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ColourNext 2022 trends seen in international design

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Every year for the last 17 years Asian Paints has shepherded experts from various fields in an exercise to determine relevant social and cultural trends in the country, and to devise a set of Colours, Materials, Finishes and Textures that correspond to those trends. It is like giving flesh, blood and colour to a society’s collective mood, to represent the Zeitgeist if you will.

One of the key trends identified late last year and presented as part of ColourNext 2022 was called ‘Hope you’re well’. This reflects the rising awareness about mental health struggles, ‘empathy for the fallibility of the mind’ and an overall sensitivity toward one another as human beings. The Colours, Materials, Finishes and Textures that reflect this pensive mid-tone palette are colours that represent a certain vulnerability through its grey undertones, like Aluminium (8337), Weathered White (8442) and Pink Embrace (8698) Sunrise Ray N (9963), Sunkissed (7833) and Sonnet (L146). In terms of products and materials the mood is represented by lightweight, soft sculptural forms. Though ColourNext is researched and translated in India, in our interconnected world, societal shifts are almost universal. We discovered many of the same inclinations and thoughts behind some of the latest products and installations across the world with few of them even being presented at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this year.

Explore some of those designs, both Indian and international, that represent the ColourNext 2022 ‘Hope you’re well’: 

Swatches from “Hope you’re well” ColourNext Trend

Caption: The palette includes Aluminium (8337), Weathered White (8442), Pink Embrace (8698), Sunrise Ray N (9963), Sunkissed (7833) and Sonnet (L146).

Ordinance of the Subconscious Treatment by Duyi Han

“Ordinance of the Subconscious Treatment” designed by Duyi Han is a collection of spaces modelled inside an apartment in Jiangnan, China, that essentially reshape a holiday accommodation into a live-in art encounter. Duyi Han is a Chinese designer with an architecture degree from Cornell and experiences from award-winning studios like Herzog & de Meuron and Gensler. He is largely into translating virtual and physical environments as intangible occurrences that generate a feeling of beauty.

Each of these rooms inside the apartment portray a different mental state that goes on to scrutinize various themes of mental health. These experiences are proposed to be both hypnotic and healing, while the rooms and furniture connect religious and folkloric references informed by contemporary mental health 

Ordinance of the Subconscious Treatment by Duyi Han

A collection of physical and virtual neuroaesthetic environments. Image courtesy, Duyi Han

practices. The embroidered patterns on the furniture collection, represent molecular structures of chemicals related to well being of the brain and mental state. A few such examples include stylised patterns of dopamine, serotonin and sertraline on floor lamps, oxytocin on a drawer cabinet, Vitamin-D and Omega-3 on sofas/ chairs. Collectively, all of these aesthetic elements installed inside the apartment synchronises interior design, fine art installation, furniture design and digital art.

Design with Nature by Mario Cucinella Architects

A multi-purpose installation with three key themes by MCA. Image courtesy, Mario Cucinella Architects

Design with Nature by Mario Cucinella Architects

The Italian studio- Mario Cucinella Architects at this year’s Salone Del Mobile designed a multifaceted installation of 1,400 sqm area, that attempted to stress on the importance of a reunion between man and nature. The installation at S.Project’s Pavilion 15 primarily consisted of three themes such as “ecological transition”, “home as the prime urban element” and “the city as a mine”.  All of these themes together further raised critical questions about recycling and upcycling while magnifying the relevance of sustainable ecosystems. Titled as “Design with Nature”, the materials used to create this installation were sourced from natural supply chains that acted both as a landscape as well as a refuge for discussion and reflection.

OTO chair by LABAA
The OTO Chair, crafted by designer Alexia Audrain, is an innovative piece of furniture developed for those with autism but at the same time to be used by anyone, even those who are not autistic. The chair was formulated as a design object rather than a medical aid and therefore it offers passive compression, in a way that the user remains in control of their body in comparison to commonly-used restraint devices or shock treatment systems.

Also titled as the hugging chair, it intends to make one feel calmer and more available so that they’re able to actively participate in learning or social interaction. The inflatable inner walls of the chair apply deep pressure on the body causing reduced anxiety particularly in people with sensory disorders. 

OTO chair by LABAA

The hugging chair that makes one feel more calmer and available. Image courtesy, LABAA

Human Nature by NewTerritory

A wellness product intended for the practical and regulated usage of psychedelic drugs. Image courtesy, New Territory

Human Nature by NewTerritory

This was a conceptual wellness product that looked forward to a future when substances are legalised for mental health treatment. These drugs are contained in biodegradable capsules and dispensed via a simple inhaler. Therefore, when these pods are pressurised at lower levels it would enable users to breathe in their contents in smaller sips at a slower speed.

The proposal imagined by “Human Nature” involves the futuristic possibility of consuming LSD, a psychoactive compound released by hallucinogenic mushrooms that tend to improve mental wellness. The UK based design studio, NewTerritory aims to create awareness about the increasing evidence that show how psychedelics could help treat disorders like depression, anxiety and many more.

Emotional Clothing by Iga Węglińska

Iga Węglińska, a designer and researcher who has specialised in human-garment interactions has proposed an intelligent garment collection that reveals the psycho-physiological changes inside one’s body. It contains two polysensory silhouettes that work on a system of biofeedback and take notes of parameters like body temperature, heart rate and sense of self-movement.

Referred to as ‘Emotional Clothing’, it makes use of materials that stimulate cognitive involvement and mindfulness while also becoming a new discussion on the role and function of clothing. 

Cinerary urns at Alcova by Urne.rip

Emotional Clothing by IGA WĘGLIŃSKA

Clothing that reveals the psycho-physiological changes inside one’s body. Image courtesy, IGA WĘGLIŃSKA

Urne.rip tries to renew the forgotten practise of making funerary objects as a way of recollecting and citing people who were lost over time. The entire collection has been produced using a diverse range of materials including marble, bronze, wood and ceramic, combined together to create extraordinary urns.

Acknowledging the fact that reduced importance has been given to the aesthetics of death, these cinerary urns displayed at the 2022 Milan Design Week tries to bring back artisanal memoirs for the dead. It is therefore an attempt to respond to the practical needs of different individuals to recall in personal ways about the departure of a dear one while also empowering the modern world in embracing designs for death.

Confessions by TABLEAU

A set of installations centered around developing awareness around men’s mental health. Image courtesy, TABLEAU

Confessions by TABLEAU

Another exhibition in June at Milan Week, was aimed at addressing the silent crisis specifically involved with men’s mental health. To create an open-minded space that emphasizes vulnerability and individual struggles including a positive attitude towards LGBTQ communities and other minorities were the key concepts of this installation titled ‘Confessions’ at the Alcova venue. TABLEAU, a multidisciplinary studio in collaboration with a therapeutic clinic, Post Service based out of Copenhagen, investigated the complex relationship between art, design and mental health. Thoughts and feelings that cut across men in their day to day lives such as, they are not capable enough or a longing to seek truth or an excitement to open up one’s true emotions were few of the concepts based on which the installations were composed.

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