Jun 01, 2022

3 Trends at the Center of Milan Design Week


As the Design sector pushes to find its voice after an extended period of turbulent evolution and exploration, 3 key trends are driving design into the future and will be on full display at this year’s Milan Design Week


What trends will come to define Milan Design Week this year? Despite the unpredictable events of the past months and years, our algorithms have been monitoring these key trends for some time now.
In this article we will explore 3 burning Design Trends that will rule in this year’s Milan Design Week and into the rest of 2022!

What’s the theme of Milan Design Week 2022?
“Between Space and Time”. An invitation to reflect on the changes taking place in the world, in order to achieve sustainability goals that allow us to look to the future.
Let’s dive in!

Design is responding to a changing world. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen an acceleration in the blurring of the lines between online and offline experiences, products, and services; the tangible morphing with the intangible seamlessly. At the same time, it goes without saying that sustainability is still a key focus for the Design industry – it is a constant area of improvement that will continue to drive innovation.

Today, the challenge in the design sector is to flex and evolve, both in real-time and in the long-term and to integrate ideas and concepts that are as different as they are essential, such as sustainability and immersiveness.

1 // Aesthetics Unruliness & Fluidity

Design is increasingly “aesthetically unruly,” both fluid and organic, borrowing shapes, textures, and materials of the natural world.

Simultaneously, digital design and virtual aesthetics are becoming more and more popular as we grow increasingly accustomed to digital landscapes. In turn, ideas from virtual worlds are becoming a model for the physical world, bringing along a swell of surreal aesthetics.

In this context, immersive experiences and emotional connections are becoming part of a broader strategy to connect with consumers in deeper, more meaningful ways. Interactive and immersive design is becoming even more emotive – engaging past the five key senses. The greater the sensorial spectrum of interactivity, the deeper the emotional response will be.

Experts in the art sector are largely betting on new ways of participation and new types of immersion. According to our data “Immersive” in Art & Design has been steadily growing +103% in 18 months

Top keywords of the trend “Aesthetics Unruliness & Fluidity” identified by Nextatlas Platform

The term “Immersive” in the Art & Design industry has grown +103% over the last 18 months

Tortona Locations, have developed Fluidity and Design for Milan Design week, a project that once again confirms the path taken in recent years and which sees design as a collector of cultural and sociological transformation. The Fluidity and Design space will feature a range of projects and exhibitions highlighting these two key words and exploring how leading companies can rethink them to accept new challenges and design to set new foundations and concepts in the field of design as they move to restart.

Among the exhibitors there will be IKEA. The brand is bringing the ‘IKEA Festival’ to BASE in Milan. It will feature a dynamic schedule of events and immersive experiences to showcase the future of retail and design,explore how the relationship between people and their homes has evolved, and show how improving your everyday life can create for a more mindful home.

In the area guests can visit Ögonblick - A Life at Home exhibition, a compelling physical and digital installation inspired by H22, a project that started in Helsingborg, Sweden (in which IKEA participates) with the aim of building "the sustainable city of the future".

Image Credits: Ögonblick - A Life at home exhibition, IKEA Festival

2 // Decoptimisn

Seeking out hopeful and lighthearted imagery in today’s challenging times is leveraging the spread of positivity and playfulness, often translated into bold, vibrant, and saturated hues together with eye-catching illustrations and geometric shapes.

Decoptimism is the new trend in interiors and products that revolves around the thoughtful incorporation of playful and ludic hints and details through the use of colour highlights, textures, geometric forms, and eclectic shapes. The main ethos behind this trend is a subtle, optimistic vision of a better and more sustainable future for humanity —an optimism that is not necessarily flashy or strident, but rather serene and welcoming.

Indeed, our algorithms are monitoring the steady growth of concepts such as “Playfulness” and “Solarpunk”. The keywords “Playful” in Art & Design and “Solarpunk” have been steadily growing +32% and +292% in the last 18 months, respectively.

This uplifting approach in branding goes beyond visually energetic elements, it is also being translated into cheerful and feel-good messages applied to packaging.

Critically, this trend is especially popular with younger generations; our AI shows that Female Genzers are leading the conversation about these topics.

The term "Playful" in Art & Design industry has grown +32% over the last 18 months

Young generations, especially Female GenZers, are particularly interested in “Playfulness” and “Joyfulness” in Art & Design

A clear example of Decoptimism will be Sara Ricciardi’s ‘Hypernova’, an explosion of abstracted natural elements and colors that will be exhibited as part of Fuorisalone 2022 .

Shaped like a multilayered hexagon, the structure of Ricciardi’s creation employs a total of six colours and routes alike. While its overall build bears a strong resemblance to the twinkling stars, the graphics on its surface are a combination of the colours and textures that are commonly found in botanical elements and on the skins of animals. The juxtaposition of these different forms of life together results in the formation of a microcosm bubbling with high energy, and just like anything that commands a formidable presence, the Hypernova showcase also helps the viewer introspect and realise the uniqueness of their identity.

Image Credits: Hypernova installation, Designer Sara Ricciardi for gloTM.

3 // Naturalism & Biophilia

The biophilic trend of wellness through plants and foliage is becoming popular for every room in our homes, and more designers and architects are incorporating it into the places in which we live and work.

We have seemingly never been more receptive to the healing powers of nature, and it's exactly this that biophilic design seeks to harness in our homes and working spaces.

According to Nextatlas data “Biophilic” in Architecture & Spaces increased 65% in Q1 2022 over Q1 2021

During the Design Week, the streets of Milan will be transformed into urban oases and naturalistic micro-habitats, idyllic settings to recharge in contact with the vegetation, but also to reflect on fragility of the ecosystem and the importance of greening city centers.

The term “Biophilic” in Architecture & Spaces industry increased 65% in Q1 2022 over Q1 2021

A floating forest on the water of the Darsena in Milan, which promises to become one of the most instagrammed spots of Milan Design Week, is Floating Forest. The installation of Timberland in collaboration with Stefano Boeri Interiors seeks to reflect on the importance of greening urban areas.

A floating island that hosts an independent micro-ecosystem, populated by hundreds of plants and shrubs of different varieties with a mission to bring greenery to the city. Here too, nothing is wasted: at the end of the design week, the trees will be donated to Soulfood Forestfarms Hub Italy, a non-profit organization committed to the ecological transition.

Image Credits: Floating Forest, Timberland in collaboration with Stefano Boeri Interiors

But Wait… There’s More

These are only three of the top trends that will shape the future of the Design Industry. Many other macro and micro phenomena, insights, and small changes are waiting to be explored within our platform, from phenomena just starting to make waves in the design world to those that will be visible in upcoming events and trade shows.

Find answers to the following business questions :

  1. What trend will blossom in this sector?
  2. What shapes, colors, and materials you should keep an eye on in the coming months
  3. What are the emerging Design Lovers' needs and behaviours and attitudes?

Translate Trends Into Actionable Insights

Discover more about the trends and behaviors driving the Design industry (and more) forward by exploring the Nextatlas platform today.

Talk with us!

Trend lines, data, and information described in this article emerge from the ongoing analysis performed by Nextatlas on its global observation pool made of innovators, early adopters, industry insiders expressing their views on Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit.

To learn more about our AI, discover Nextatlas Methodology here

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