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.
This creative industry roundup features spiritually inspired news stories from across the lifestyle industries
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.
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?
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.
This guilt-free creative industry roundup features the eco-conscious thinkers seeking to change the future for the better
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.
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.
Global thought leaders give their take on this issue’s central theme — Christopher Raeburn / Shaun Frankson / Suzanne Lee / Tom Domen / Dave Hakkens / Daniela Bohlinger.
Vegans can now satisfy a desire for indulgent treats and classic comfort food without the need to compromise their morals.
Reporting on emerging
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.
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.
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.