Three Emerging Global Design Themes

How will fashion, architecture, materials and culture influence the future of design? The Formica Group design team shares its unique perspective in the new 2013 Trend Vision Report. The report outlines three major themes: PURITY, NUTOPIA and CLASH – and highlights the related trends. Here’s an excerpt …


PURITY is an über-modern style that ties together technology with the soft and feminine. Biomorphic shapes are digitized and bring about a new aesthetic language. Light-infused, filtered colors complement clean and pure textures. White is central along with translucent of pale pastels that blend seamlessly with intense dark bases of spruce, sweet violet and mocha and vibrant neon accents of coral, hot pink, absinthe and turquoise. Synthetics are authentic and elegantly shiny surfaces create futuristic interiors. 

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Purity Key Terms: serenity | feminine | soft tech | futuristic | translucency | biomorphic shapes | simplicity | light | the white story | prismatic | color gradients


NUTOPIA emerges from the chaos of the new world and the resulting desire to maintain balance and serenity by going off-grid mentally and physically. Good quality products will be key; luxurious materials must endure. Craftsmanship, artisanal processes and blended materials will be important, as will environments in warm colors, prints and styling. 

Urban farming and gardening are key inspirations for a host of new environmental greens and earth tones. There is a certain nostalgic feel with sun-bleached colors and ash roses. Mustard seed evolves, championed by brighter shades of melon. Lowlights of prune, navy and olive provide contrast and newness. Wood, preferably reclaimed, is the essential material.

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NUTOPIA KEY TERMS: slow – artisanal processes | the hand-made | complex crafts meet simplified aesthetics | preserving local knowledge and traditions | get rid of excess stuff | primitive – archaic aesthetic | a touch of vintage | upcycling | urban farming | deceleration | living off-grid | slow food | preserving the heritage


CLASH is the most provocative of the three trends. It deals with growing urbanization, participation by the people and frustration with politics, education, housing or jobs. Reflecting today’s harsh realities, communities will be formed by cultural magpies that pick and choose from the multi-cultural societies in which they live.

A new generation is seduced by rebel aesthetics. The base palette for CLASH is grays (think concrete and asphalt, oxidized or corrugated metal), accompanied by very vibrant colors and patterns from the spectrum palette to intensive orange and yellow. Yellows and mints are essential for the coming year. Blue stays prominent, especially in fashion. Geranium and hunter green are important to manipulate harmonies. While the palette shown is quite pretty, CLASH is all about disharmonious combination.

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CLASH KEY TERMS: industrial aesthetic | color blocking and shocking | urban decay | upcycling | street art | style clash | contrast – opposites | geometric – loud graphic pattern | metal | corten steel | burnt wood | concrete | yarn bomb

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