Viewpoint Colour #6

RISE UP

Should we feel inspired or humbled that it is schoolchildren who have pushed the climate crisis to the top of the international agenda? Both. It is well over a decade since the 2006 film An Inconvenient Truth set out the uncomfortable facts about environmental changes – and there have been many other warnings, both before and since. Yet we have proved unwilling to inconvenience ourselves. Faced with this lack of impetus and will, young people are demanding action, and demanding it now.

Their sense of urgency, couched with energy, inclusivity and humour, is infectious. Extinction Rebellion is one of the loudest voices urging us to rebel for life – to take action, right now. And the creative community is responding, not just in terms of setting its own house in order but also by spreading a clear, unambiguous message to the world. In our feature on The Colours of Resistance, we look at the roles of colour and design in galvanising protest and lending it a clear sense of identity and purpose.

The playful creativity at the heart of this explosion of youthful protest is fast-moving and responsive, equally attuned to the new age of direct action and to the era of social media. And it is largely self-generated. While the arts are being squeezed out of the school curriculum, today’s young people have grown up with tools that enable them to create and to communicate, and we should encourage and facilitate this. Throughout this issue you’ll find heartening examples of organisations doing just that.

Rise Up: The Context

Children are the revolution. We have known for a long time that our planet’s climate is in serious trouble. But it is children who have finally dragged climate change right to the top of the international agenda.

Rise Up: Colour Forecast

Our four stories for A/W 20/21. ‘Makeshift’ – an assemblage aesthetic that celebrates the beauty of everyday materiality; ‘Vibrant Rebellion’ – frenetic, expressive and unapologetic, a rabble-rousing design direction and a call to action; ‘Eclectic Folk’ – crafted and eclectic, a politically savvy generation of eco-activists revisits the peace and love movement of the 1960s; and ‘Raw Craft’ – this design direction, grounded in rustic crafts, celebrates the unique irregularity of natural materials.

Visual Essay: Wild Child

The Villa Noailles art centre offers workshops for children and teenagers that link artistic endeavours to play. Putting their imaginations to work, the children design and proudly wear their creations – uniforms for the new eco-age.

Rise Up: Co-designing Colour

Co-design is a powerful force for creativity and collaboration, particularly when it incorporates the freedom, expression and imagination of children.

The Colours of Resistance

We look at the roles of colour and design in galvanising protest and lending it a clear sense of identity and purpose. From fiery reds and feminine pinks to sea blue, forest green and deepest black, colour is political.

Colour Inspiration: Peace Paint

Smudged, smeared and sprayed, a rainbow of bright pigment is thickly layered in unrefined textures as the skin becomes a canvas for expression.

Visual Essay (2): Going Off-Grid

Working with the landscape and its changing flora and fauna is fundamental to a lifestyle that embraces the changing patina, wear and organic materiality of a remote world.

Studio Visit: Store – A piece of the Future

As arts education is squeezed from the syllabus at every level, Store, the organisation behind Store Store, is promoting access, openness and inclusivity in creative education.

Colour Forecast: Water States

An exploration of water as an agent of co-design results in abstracted, ethereal textures in an unexpected palette of dirty hues.

Viewpoint #43

GUILT FREE

VIEWPOINT ISSUE #43: SPIRITUALITY

In good spirits

It’s more than likely that, at some point in the past few days, you have made time for a yoga class or a leisurely walk or 10 minutes of meditative downtime – or simply a few moments to sit and enjoy a cup of tea. It’s also possible that you smudged your home with sage, listened to a mindfulness podcast, gathered with others to sing together – or set out to cast a spell. Spirituality in the 21st century has many faces and myriad themes, but they are all pulled together by a common desire to seek out and experience something that goes beyond the everyday routine of the physical world.

Viewpoint #43, the Spirituality edition, unpacks the reasons why, in the most rational, scientifically aware, data-driven societies that have ever existed, we still yearn for the unexplained and the unexplainable. We don’t want to go back to the days where church on Sunday was mandatory for Christians, but those of us who no longer subscribe to organized religions are finding that we still hanker after spiritual nourishment.

And we are finding it from many sources.

The Edit
This creative industry roundup features spiritually inspired news stories from across the lifestyle industries
Spirituality
The pursuit of meaning, connection and community. The Mindful Essentialist; The Energy Explorer; The Conscious Gaiain; The Supernaturalist; and The Now Ager.
Spirit of the Age – The Evidence
Spirituality in the 21st century has many faces and myriad themes, all pulled together by a common desire to seek out and experience something that goes beyond the everyday routine of the physical world.
The Translation
A visual exploration of the design manifestations born out of spiritual pursuits: The Mindful Essentialist / The Now Ager / The Wellbeing Optimiser / The Supernaturalist / The Conscious Gaian.
The Wondrous Wild
Tom Sewell explores today’s relationship between human and nature.
The Spiritual Leaders
Four spiritual leaders, each an ambassador for a different approach, give their perspectives on this issue’s central theme: Andres Roberts / Rachel Wingfield / Shama Rahman / Ben Lindsay.
The New Coven
Far removed from the negative connotations of old, witchcraft is bringing women together to practise self-care, sisterhood and empowerment.
The Shape of the Spirit
Has a decline in religion led people to find solace in craft, or is making inherently spiritual?
Glorious Swathes
Weighty drape and indulgent opulence; a sensuous exploration of rich textiles.
A Pilgrimage of Healing
Photographer Robin Mellor joins groups he describes as ‘on the edge of the world’s shifting paradigm’, documenting the spiritual transformation currently impacting the West.

Viewpoint Colour #5

ORGANIC MATTERS

 

Everyone is agreed! If we are to save our selves and the environment, we need, urgently, to reassess our relationship with our beleaguered planet; we need urgently to abandon our “Masters of the Universe” mentality and humbly accept that Nature has been creating a perfect, interactive system from single-celled organisms to complex ecosystems. Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend – soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity – need fail for everything to slide. Tipping points are too easily passed, institutional and political failure pushing us ever onwards to the cliff edge. 

 

Some are already betting on the worse. Others of us, not so dystopian, are turning to technical and economic solutions to avoid collapse in the belief that nature and technology improve upon each other. That’s great, but shouldn’t we start by following nature’s very own, unadulterated model, applying its efficiency to create new ways to create and consume. Some thinkers and designers are already embracing organic principles emulating the way spiders work, growing materials as if plants, taking inspiration from nature’s patterns and colours. But, it doesn’t stop there… 

 

A new aesthetic is taking hold blending the natural world with the spiritual and mystic, comprising colours that represent both the calming and dynamic facets of the natural world and offering products that combine both natural and futuristic elements. And talking of times to come, we are sitting on the brink of a new visual realm where we ponder a new nature reality as designers ask, “What will be the next natural colour?”

 

As Cotton Inc concluded in its own vision of S/S 2020, “Looking to nature as the true innovator as it inspires all industries from creative design to logistical engineering, our lens, through which we analyse and appreciate nature, is forever altered.”

Colour News 

Our round-up of all the latest developments and happenings in the world of colour.

The Context: Organic Matters

Forward-thinking designers are seeking to harness the power of nature’s super-efficient circular systems, as we start to realise that working with nature rather than against it provides the best hope for the planet. 

Colour Forecast S/S 2020

Nature remastered, untamed flora, mineral patina and raw earth are our pointers to the season ahead.

Visual Essay: The Living Surface

Featuring Fernando Laposse, Martijn Straatman, Jonas Edvard, Studio Klarenbeek & Dros, Nienke Hoogvliet and Atelier NL 

Colour Inspiration: Painterly & Imperfect 

Natural and organic-based paints work in harmony with nature to create pigments with unique and dynamic depth. It’s time to exchange pristine, flat colour coverage for warmth, depth and painterly richness. 

Colour Meaning: Off White 

Far more shades of white are commercially available than of any other colour; the variations of off-whites are far more than just a blank canvas.

Pantone Announces the Color of the Year 2019 

PANTONE® 16-1546 Living Coral. Life affirming coral hue energizes and enlivens with a softer edge. 

Long Term Colour Forecast: Hyper Chroma Nature 

An infrared macro lens captures an exaggerated simulation of a nature that never existed. Colours take on an artificial authenticity, hinting at a hypernatural future in which human intervention manipulates and enhances the natural world. 

Viewpoint #42

GUILT FREE

Imagine a future where the culture around consumption had evolved so far that responsibly manufactured products were the norm rather than the exception – a future of guilt-free living.
In Viewpoint #42, the Guilt-Free edition, we explore how that future could become reality. A groundswell of popular horror at the ravaging of the planet, both in environmental and human terms, has become a potent force. We don’t want to sacrifice our oceans for a new drinking bottle every day or a microbeaded facial scrub – nor do we want to find ourselves eating our own rubbish when that plastic finds its way back into the food chain. We don’t want a throwaway £10 dress if it was made using modern-day slavery.
Brands, governments and organisations alike are being forced to take notice – and some of them, at least, are welcoming the imperative. Long-standing forces for good in the retail world such as Ikea and Patagonia are being joined by a host of others, including some of the largest corporations on the planet – who are belatedly recognising that sustainability makes not only good sense for securing our future but also good financial sense.
The importance of design’s role in guilt-free living cannot be overstated. People want to make consumption decisions that actively do good, or at the very least, do no harm. But these products need to be readily available, attractive and affordable – and therein lies the challenge for the creative community.
THE EDIT
This guilt-free creative industry roundup features the eco-conscious thinkers seeking to change the future for the better
GUILT FREE
There is increasing evidence that people have a genuine desire to accurately establish the implications of their consumption choices – and are keen to identify the options that are best not only for themselves but also for their fellow humans and for the planet.
THE EVIDENCE
We cannot ignore what we can clearly see – and we can see it writ large in mainstream media. The final episode of the BBC’s hugely popular 2017 Blue Planet II series showed sobering images of oceans awash with plastic and ended with David Attenborough’s call to action: ‘The future of all life on earth now depends on us.’
AGAIN AND AGAIN

We are in the midst of a material revolution, where the discarded is becoming the essential, and waste is becoming wanted.

THE PIONEERS

Global thought leaders give their take on this issue’s central theme — Christopher Raeburn / Shaun Frankson / Suzanne Lee / Tom Domen / Dave Hakkens / Daniela Bohlinger.

VEGAN REVOLT

Vegans can now satisfy a desire for indulgent treats and classic comfort food without the need to compromise their morals.

MINDSET SHIFTS

Reporting on emerging behavioural and attitudinal lifestyle trends — Debunking the Myth of Body Perfection / Conscious Luxury Fashion / Kindfulness / Activist Youth.

AFTERLIFE

Designing the end at the beginning How we view and design products, not as static objects but as dynamic and evolving systems, is key to this more sustainable future.

FIND YOUR VOICE

Protest Press believe in the power of design to create social change.

Viewpoint Colour #4

IDENTITY PARADE

New generations are bringing us new understandings of personal identity, inclusivity and cultural ties. Just like the students in 1968 (May saw the 50th Anniversary of the famous Paris protests by workers and students), they disagree with traditional ideologies, they’re anti-establishment and believe in a safer, fairer world. They’re on a mission to leave the world a better place than they found it.

 

Anti-judgmental, Millennials and Gen Z reject the idea of ‘normal’ and defined categories. We are all different but there’s no right or wrong, ugly or pretty, you are who you are. They won’t question your sexuality or gender and most definitely will not judge you for it. Diverse cultures are welcomed and blended. Don’t label me and I won’t label you.

 

Be yourself yes, but also be connected. ‘Collaboration’ is the word of the moment, as people try to connect with each other to create a better future. They are busy concocting ‘cultural smoothies’, blending cultures, skill sets and people from all parts of the world as traditional frontiers, both mental and physical, are broken down and totally new identities and norms are created.

 

Taiye Selasi had it so right in the 2014 TED talk: “Don’t ask where I am from, ask where I am local. All experience is local – all identity is experience. What makes a place a home are the experiences around it Culture exists/ in community and community exists in context.”

 

So, welcome to our latest issue of Viewpoint Colour, “Identity”, where we look not just at colour but at the world in a totally new context.

News: a creative industry round-up of the most insightful colour news stories across the lifestyle industries .

Identity Parade: identity is one of the strongest creative inspirations across all fields – in particular fashion, which is perhaps one of the most experimental and rebellious of all. As identity becomes more fluid and hybridised, its influence becomes ever more potent.

Colour Forecast A/W 2019/20: this issue’s colour forecast embodies varying aspects of our ‘Identity’ theme: ‘Femininity Redefined’ drawing on a mood of fresh activism and resistance to female under-representation; ‘Street Wise’ where street style and luxury fashion collide to create an amalgamated aesthetic that straddles the divide between high and low culture; Multi-Local’ that embraces the inherent idea that identities are formed not by a single heritage; and ‘More is More’– a total rejection of convention and the status quo resulting in a design direction where anything goes.

Tying the Knot: the first of our visual essay features where the visualised thoughts that artist William Ukoh presents are a celebration of his own identity, both generational and cultural.

Colour May Vary designers take a leap of faith, for, just as repurposing determines the new iterations of materials and products, it also influences their colour – sparking a different way of thinking about colour and incorporating it into design.

‘Bright Generation’ positioned between the duality of her Swiss and Guinean heritage, photographer Namsa Leuba’s work in our second visual essay envisions ‘the representation of African identity through the Western imagination.

Colour Futures: ‘Other Worlds’ as emerging technologies break down the boundaries between digital
and real, human and machine, alive and inert, we observe new worlds of our own creation.

Viewpoint #41

TACTILITY: THE CORNERSTONE OF HUMANCENTRIC BEHAVIOUR

If you were to ask the design imperative of the moment, the answer would be ‘colour’; but a very close second would come touch and handle! Wherever we look, we see tweed, slub, granular, crêpe, 3D, sculpted, blister, cloqué, raised surfaces… This is not just because of design aesthetics but also our growing need for ‘humancentric’ behavior.

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the rise, consumers are responding in two ways: some embrace it as a way to create time, boost productivity and even manage mood; other reject it preferring the fundamentally human characteristics of community, embracing the down-to-earth, the analogue and each other. We are busy right now considering what it means to be human – how we live in our own skin and celebrate our differences.

Flesh, of course, has been on the mind of designers for some years, but nowhere more talked about than in Kanye West’s Yeezy apparel and footwear show for Adidas in February 2015, dramatic in its combination of nude bodysuits, seamless underwear and athletic-inspired streetwear in muddy colours — and perhaps one of the most spectacular front rows ever assembled

Pink has been a key player in fashion for years now evolving from the ultra-girlie into masculine acceptability and the colour of protest, but our new fascination with flesh shifted focus away from millennial and pretty hues into real skin tones and their related textures. That feeling has been exacerbated by the drive towards social ‘inclusivity’ where consumers want to be treated as individuals and considered for themselves no matter what their race, gender, size, ability or faith – hence the rush in cosmetics for an ever increasing number of nuanced foundation creams and blushers, suncare for all skin tones, hosiery and even bandages for humans of all colours.

Of course, our celebration of flesh and the tactile has strong physical connotations – hence the spate of nude selfies (started by Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski with their mirrored selfie protesting double standards in 2016); the growth of nudity in advertising; explicit graphics such as Bompas & Parr’s typeface Grope Sans, based on male and female genitalia; and even a nude restaurant, The Bunyade in London.
Even in the digital world, touch and tactility has become something of a ‘holy grail’. It’s ‘clicks to bricks’ as more and more companies (including Amazon) that started out as online-only enterprises have started to open physical stores as they recognize that human interaction and physical touch is hard if not impossible to replace.
Finding synesthesia and multi-sensorial stimulus in a digital/virtual world is the next big step for technology. ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, a relaxing mental state characterized by a tingling sensation on the scalp, is playing a key role.
Remember, touch is the first sense humans develop in the womb, even when 1.5cm embryos. But, somewhere in adulthood, what was instinctive to us as children has come to feel awkward and out of bounds less such tactile actions provoke legal action.

Sensing this deficit, a touch industry is burgeoning in Europe and the US, where professional ‘cuddlers’ operate workshops, parties and one-to-one sessions to soothe the touch-deprived. In Japan, a “Tranquility chair” has been developed, its soft arms wrapping the sitter in a floppy embrace. So, we hope that this issue of Viewpoint Design will make its own tactile contribution to redressing the balance.

THE POWER OF TOUCH
Our theme for this issue is ‘Tactility’. We explore what it means to be human in an age where our interaction with the world is frequently moderated by the digital and the virtual, with little room for real contact.
DESIGNING TACTILITY
How can we design for a tactile world? Our four directions unpack different design approaches Flesh/Digital Reality/Messy Play/Luxe Touch
THE MASTERS OF TACTILITY
We profile some of the leading creatives who are embedding tactility into their work Imprimerie du Marais / Yves Béhar / Formafantasma / Visual Editions / Dimore Studio
GOO GLORIOUS GOO
Kelia Anne takes inspiration from the current obsession with slime and goo, which appeals to children as well as kidults.
MINDSET SHIFTS
We report on emerging behavioural and attitudinal lifestyle trends: Well-centred Living / Changing the Gaze / Slow Skills / Millenial Parenting
HYPER REAL TACTILITY
Brendi LW creates curious, texturally satisfying compositions that play with our perceptions of the real and artificial.
MATERIAL INNOVATION
Meet the designers and makers who are radically rethinking materials for a sustainable future Living Materials / Shit, Hair, Dust / Today‘s Waste, Tomorrow‘s Raw Material.
DESIGN NOTEBOOK
A visual exploration of emerging design movements across the lifestyle industries and their influence on colour, shape and form 70s Revival / Tubular / Plastic Activist/ Iridescence / Solid Mesh.
REGULAR FEATURES

‘Edit’ – the creative industry round-up featuring the new stories that you need to gen up on; ‘Talent’ the designers who are putting tactility and physical interaction at the forefront of their work.