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Our Principal of Design Insight, Maeve Keane, was approached by Second Sight magazine to write about the key trends that she thinks we’ll be seeing in 2013. Here’s what she wrote.

Surrealism, the new Escapism

Surrealist visual expressions and experiences will provide a welcome diversion from austerity in 2013. After years of economic woes, people are growing tired of spending cuts and pared-back aesthetics. While we won’t see a return to traditional luxury, people are looking for affordable forms of escapism that offer a touch of luxury and exclusivity, if only for an evening. We are already starting to see this emerge in some high-end restaurants that offer up a strange cocktail of whimsical interiors and high-end dining to divert people from their everyday lives to make them feel special.

Joey Ho’s restaurant design provides an escape from the busy streets of Hong-Kong into an M.C. Escher inspired interior that uses playful, optical illusions to encourage diners to contemplate another world. Even furniture design is taking more risks, displaying unusual materials, colours, form-factors and finishes than we saw before the economic crash.

Image credit: designboom

Surrealism takes on science in furniture designer Maarten De Ceulaer’s Mutation Series. We’re also seeing hopeful expressions appear in the form of brushed, brightly coloured metallics and muted glitters, which hint at the light at the end of the tunnel.

Image credit: Ameblo

From Provenance to Personality

This year the narratives told around ‘local’ products will shift from being about provenance (where something was made or where the raw materials originated from) to being about the ‘local’ person behind the product. The need to differentiate from other local products as well as the popularity of storytelling platforms such as TED, that celebrate individual ingenuity on a global scale, will drive brands to focus more on the stories of the ‘local people’. Big brands will lead the way, showing their ‘everyman, down-to-earth’ image in the face of the growing anti-corporate movement among some consumers. Gucci’s recent campaign in Japan celebrates the nation’s master craftsmen while Jack Daniel’s use unknown local artisans to market the brand’s sense of American heritage and originality.

Image credit: Infoniac

Beyond Monitoring

On the technology-side, the year will bring monitoring products that will be more sophisticated in their functionality. As people become more comfortable with using technology to manage their health, innovation in this space will focus on health and beauty.

In 2013 and beyond, we’ll see products that don’t just listen to and report on issues, but also predict outcomes, offer advice and even treat symptoms. Products that are already indicative of this change include Color Frame, from Fujitsu Laboratories in Japan, a smartphone app that tracks a skin condition over time, detecting the areas on which wrinkles and blemishes are likely to appear. This allows for preventative treatment before they materialise.

This week we have been mostly thinking about the colour yellow.

Here are some nice and ‘on trend’ examples of yellow which range from an optimistic, primary yellow to a more zesty lime colour. Often using a bold hue such as these would be visually overpowering, but combined with soft finishes and natural materials they become more delicate and approachable.

Keywords for this colour trend: Vibrant, Sharp, Zesty, Sour, Acidic, Bold.

Tommy Hilfiger satin dress, reflects the bold block colour trends for ss11.

Watch from  ‘The Lady Collection’ by Swatch in ‘Limetta’ yellow. Swatch are continuing their 2010 range of bold colours in a 360 wash over their products.

Jack Lalanne’s new Power Juicer Express in glossy yellow, as seen in the  Stylist magazine this week.

Balloon table light by Uli Budde, uses a matte finish to soften what could be an overpowering shade of yellow.

Designer Philippe Nigro uses lemon yellow in his divans for  Ligne Roset.

Image by Martin Y Zentol

‘Xistera’ by Samuel Accoceberry & Jean-Louis Iratzoki for Pyrenea , uses lime as an accent to freshen up the warm shades of grey in the upholstery.