The official colour of the millennium, as announced for the first time by Pantone back in 2000, was ‘Cerulean Blue’ and was intended to reflect ‘the serenity of a clear day.’ Suggesting that consumers were seeking spiritual fulfilment and a sense of tranquillity to shield them from the turbulent times of the 20th century, Cerulean Blue has rapidly made its way to people’s walls, gadgets, and clothing.
Twenty years and too many socio-political, economic, and technological changes later, the same global authority on colour proposes that we turn to a darker shade of the same colour as we enter the new decade. Commonly known for its calming and concentration-inducing benefits, ‘Classic Blue’ is suggestive of a society that is craving stability and a solid foundation on which to build its future – a future where personal care and wellness will be fully integrated into consumers’ routines and that will seamlessly transcend the offline environment to immersive digital experiences.
Image credit: Pantone®
Brands are set to elevate their offerings to match the new consumption habits and, as we have seen earlier this year at design events across the world, the concept of sustainability is set to surround our lives both physically and emotionally. Wellness-focused spaces are gaining momentum, resulting in minimal surroundings that convey an aura of calmness through botanical hues and natural materials.
Images credits from the upper left corner to lower right: Alexis Christodoulou, Eny Lee Parker, Phil Cuttance, The Budapest Café by Biasol, Alice Walton Ceramics
As a response to the over-stimulating digital experiences, designers will be layering the clarity of virtual reality with elements from the natural world, bringing, therefore, a biophilic design to life. The physical and psychological need for tactility, greenery and tenderness is distilled in soft tones of brown, beige, pink, and green that cover elements of interior design, creating a meditative atmosphere to keep inhabitants safe from the urban madness.
A world of scarcity
While natural resources start to diminish in the face of climate crisis, existing materials will be cherished as valuable guides and inspirations for colours and patterns reminiscent of different times and cultures. Auburn, terracotta and sand will be given new relevance in the context of contemporary aesthetics, thereby reinforcing the urgency to act on sustainable methods of preserving the Earth.
Images credits from the upper left corner to right: Matter Design & Quarra Stone, Cave House by Hypersity Architects, Musée Yves Saint Laurent by Studio KO
The same softness of colour paves the way to the tech world, making devices more appealing and less invasive. Smooth finishes, stimulating textures and rounded corners are key features of items such as smart speakers, modular trays and wireless charging pads.
Images credit: Google Software, Moa – Mobile Island
Tech products are also designed with a sustainability approach in mind. Whether made of recycled or natural materials, brands are elevating their offerings to match the needs of a market increasingly concerned about its consumption habits and their impact on the environment.
A new beginning
Looking further ahead, we can expect designs to resonate with nature and minimise their environmental impact by using raw materials and unrefined ingredients that can also help products catering to plants, insects, and micro-organisms. As illustrated by Diana Tso’s plant posts made of kelp that can be planted directly into the soil to Sprout pencils whose non-GMO seed-filled stub will later spring into life as herbs or flowers.
The forms and details of products will appear to have grown organically, with patterns inspired by the sea world or the forest, and thereby amplifying the multisensorial nature of future design.
Images credit: Diana Tso
Images credits: Sprout pencils
Many things are set to change, and much remains unknowable, as we embark on the new decade, but the decline of our natural resources is inevitable. Both consumer and brands will play a crucial role in protecting it through innovation and by creating suitable environments in which humans and nature can coexist.
Posted by PDD
The last thing that inspired me: Design and Innovation.
My dream project: A project that makes a difference in the world.
My obsession: Develop successful, award-winning and world-first products and experiences.
Image credit Alexis Christodoulou, Alice Walton Ceramics, Cave House by Hypersity Architects, Designboom, Diana Tso, Eny Lee Parker, Google, Grazia UK, Matter Design & Quarra Stone, Moa, Studio KO, Pantone®, Phil Cuttance, The Budapest Café by Biasol, Vogue AU, Sprout