Viewpoint Colour #9

Viewpoint Colour #9

THE SPIRIT OF NATURE

We know it’s not the first time we’ve urged you to consider the influence of nature on design. But in the Spirit of Nature edition of Viewpoint Colour, this message is front and centre, as it is now even more timely – and more urgent.

The effects of our long-term betrayal of nature, as we continue to waste resources, pollute the environment, compromise biodiversity, and destroy habitats, were thrown into sharp relief by the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has been identified as zoonotic – transmitted from animals on whose habitats we have encroached. No one can have escaped awareness of this particular crisis, the most evident and deadly of many caused by our lack of respect for the world around us. It is more than time, almost too late, for us to re-establish our respect for nature, and a rebalanced relationship with the natural world.

Design urgently needs to become a catalyst for lasting, sustainable social and environmental change for good. We need to focus not solely on humankind, but on a biocentric perspective. We need to think less about the here and now, and more about the future: the decades, centuries and generations to come.

Our Spirit of Nature edition offers positive inspiration. We profile a variety of designers who are already drawing on the infinite patterns, diversity, and, of course, colours of nature. And we consider the contributions that both science and the ancient wisdom of Indigenous peoples can make, as we shift towards regeneration and long-term thinking, rather than ephemeral, short-term gains.

Spirit of Nature: The Context

As we radically reconsider our place and our role on Earth, widely practised human-centred design methodologies must now give way to planet-centred design. We need to shift from an anthropocentric design perspective to a biocentric one.

Colour Forecast SS22

Consolidating the core ideas of this issue’s theme – Nature’s Wisdom, Variation, Indigenous Wisdom, Regeneration and Long-Term Thinking – this forecast embraces a re-examination of how we use colour in design.

Constructed Landscapes

Photographer Alexandra Von Fuerst sets out to re-evaluate the connection between humans and the environment in her ongoing project Landscape, Like Photography, is a Modern Ideal.

All Creatures Great and Small

A renewed sense that humans are caretakers of the planet requires us to look at all inhabitants of the natural world through a deeply empathetic and curious lens. We are moving away from speciesism and starting to reject the idea that humans are superior to other species.

Ephemeral Colour

Rooted in nature, yet a forerunner of modern science, alchemy bears the aura of centuries of spirituality and magic. Alchemy turns the ordinary into the extraordinary – the very definition of Anne Eder’s work, Botanical Gothic: Poisons, Ghosts, and Auras, an experimental series of dramatic lumen prints.

Networked Nature

Marshmallow Laser Feast is one of the world’s leading immersive art collectives. Underpinned by science and advanced virtual reality (VR) technology, the studio’s extraordinary experiences invite us to become one with nature, navigating spaces that illuminate the hidden natural forces that surround us.

Faded Glory

Having made the decision not to use any chemicals in the processing of his fabrics, Jiyong Kim started his collection a year early, allowing him to utilise the very slow process of natural fading at the hands of his unlikely collaborators – the sun, the wind, the rain – and, of course, his mother, who oversaw the process in her back garden.

Pantone Colour of the Year
A look at the thinking and meaning behind the choice of Illuminating (yellow) 13-0647 and Ultimate Gray 17-5104 as Panton’e twin choices for Colour of the Year 2021

Expanding Horizons: A Long-Term Design Manifesto

Drawing on the work of Ella Saltmarshe and Beatrice Pembroke, co-founders of the multidisciplinary Long Time Project, this Long-Term Design Manifesto shines the light on five pathways to inspire and foster long-term thinking within creative culture.

Viewpoint Colour #8

Viewpoint Colour #8

NEW HORIZONS

  • After a time of deep uncertainty, we are seeing an emerging desire for resurgence, growth and positivity.

  • In this issue we explore a new world order, where the authentic is celebrated through the breaking down of traditional rules and the creation of new values.

  • In this new world order there are no constraints, and fluidity underpins this emerging vision – high tech meets low tech, the old is combined with the new, boundaries are blurred…

  • Colour becomes paramount in defining new identities and shaping these positive visions of the future. We see individuals and creatives expressing themselves in ways which have never been done before through digital environments, new beauty standards, dynamic creative processes and fantastical representations of the self.

  • Whilst there is a clear turn towards the digital and virtual world, there is also a renewed desire for tactile and material experiences.

DEMATERIALISED COLOUR

What if clothes could exist beyond the physical, just like thoughts? Not requiring a single piece of fabric and free even from the pull of gravity, the digital fashion world seems to be unexplored and full of creative potential.

Key Colour Statements
Shapes by contradictory influences, the colour and design landscape has an exciting hybridised aesthetic that marries opposing ideas: reflection and action, individuality and collaboration, virtual and real. We are realising the need for a longer-term colour application that is enduring and timeless, while also recognising that shorter-term directional colour has a clear role to play in creating fresh new statements and personal expression.

Brutalist Beauty
Featuring work from ‘instagram’s most hated beauty account’ by Eszter Magyar. Exploring new beauty standards which challenge traditional perceptions of beauty through the unconventional use of colour, texture and materiality. 

Electric Nature
Andres Reisinger’s beautifully rendered images of natural landscapes which feel both otherworldly and approachable. Through these visuals, Reisinger breaks with the harsh and bold aesthetics that often characterise digital renders. 

Guerrilla Dyeing
Working with natural dyes in a way which feels fresh, rebellious and new, Audrey Louis Reynolds steers away from the aesthetics we would traditionally associate with natural dyes and pigments. 

Off Colour
A series of visual portraits that showcase Tomihiro Kono’s original take on wig making. The wigs are characterised by the use of ‘off colours’ – a celebration of unconventional pastels challenging typical wig colours. 

Clay Play
A compilation of clay maquettes presented for Eny Lee Parker’s clay play contest. High-end interiors made from playdough; high-tech meets low-tech; and a celebration of colours through making.

Beneath the Surface
Photographer Pim Top overlays digital textures and images to produce visuals which challenge slick digital aesthetics and colours.

Colour Futures
Inspiration from the work of the renowned artist Samara Scott Textural with exploratory manifestations of colour, where materiality is key.

Viewpoint Colour #7

Viewpoint Colour #7

PRE LOVE

Sustainability is an evolving theme that we’ve previously started to unpack, in issues such as Viewpoint Colour #05, the Organic Matters edition, where we explored ways in which we can reassess our relationship with the planet. Now we’re taking the next step, with a controversial central theme. Growth, expansion and prosperity are seen as desirable: we are programmed to strive for ‘more’. But should we in fact be considering ‘no more’? Is it time to embrace degrowth: a downscaling of production and consumption that shifts the focus away from material accumulation and towards human wellbeing and ecological balance? Given the extent and urgency of the climate emergency, is it time to put the brakes on consumption entirely? Can we make do with what we have and with what already exists – in short, stop making new things, full stop? And if so, how will the future role of designers look? How will the design industry evolve?

FORECAST: THE COLOUR CURATORS
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In this issue’s forecast feature we celebrate the curation rather than creation of colour. The Colour Curators profiles the designers who are working with existing textiles, materials and products. These creatives are making new from old; finding innovative ways of building colour and materials stories from pre-loved resources while embracing imperfection and irregularity.

THE COLOUR OF LONGEVITY

How can we use colour to design well-loved products that stand the test of time; that enjoy long-term use and outlast fashion trends, fads and gimmicks? Can we design with the intention of second, third or fourth lives, and beyond? How can new designs utilise colour for both functional and emotional longevity?

FAKE FACADES

The Amusement Park photographic series by David Brandon Geeting is a commentary on the false facades of amusement parks. ‘At first glance, an amusement park looks fun,’ Geeting explains, ‘but after you spend some time in one it’s actually a bit nightmarish and everything’s falling apart.’ 

THE RESALE REVOLUTION

Previously the domain of vintage and thrift store enthusiasts, pre-loved clothing is now being purchased by all demographics, ages and style tribes – from quiet unbranded essentialists to cult streetwear brand followers and designer collectors. Brands and retailers need to step up and pay attention to the resale revolution, for the sake of their own survival and that of the whole fashion industry.

PRE-LOVED COLOUR 

As the second-hand revolution takes hold, we explore how resale retailers are using colour as a key tool to appeal to specific audiences, from the muted pastels of vintage discoveries and the synthetic brights of 1990s sportswear to minimalist, contemporary-classic browns and beige.

RAEBURN: JOURNEY TO ANOTHER DIMENSION

‘We do three things at Raeburn: Remade, Reduced, Recycled. Everything fits into that ethos.’ Christopher Raeburn, founder and creative director, Raeburn

‘I’m really interested in the space downstream. As a producer you should be accountable and responsible for the item, no matter where it is and what it’s doing.’

Graeme Raeburn, performance director, Raeburn

PATTERN FIX: FINDING BEAUTY IN THE ACT OF REPAIR

From contemporary takes on the Japanese shashiko and kintsugi techniques to unapologetic low-fi dipping, taping and gluing, repair is finding new prestige in the design landscape

DEMATERIALISED COLOUR

What if clothes could exist beyond the physical, just like thoughts? Not requiring a single piece of fabric and free even from the pull of gravity, the digital fashion world seems to be unexplored and full of creative potential.

Viewpoint Colour #6

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

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

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.