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
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.