Under the title “The future is urban”, the British design studio FranklinTill curate an inspirational area at the upcoming Heimtextil. How our world is influenced by the macrotrend of rising urbanization and what prognosis for future interior design can be drawn from it, explains the designer duo Kate Franklin and Caroline Till in an interview.
How did urbanization come into focus?
We have been exploring this theme for a number of months now, initially because the statistics released by global organisations such as the United Nations were so mind-boggling, as well as the fact it is a discussion many different parties, across multiple sectors seem to be broaching.
Effectively we are exploring the global phenomenon of the migration of populations from the rural to urban environment, the macro trend toward increasing urbanisation, specifically the startling fact that by the end of this century almost all of us will live in cities. Indeed by 2030 the world will have 41 megacities of over 10 million inhabitants – some, such as Tokyo, with over 40 million. The great urban migration could be the most important change that mankind faces and our urban future will shape how we design the environment around us.
How did you bridge the gap between this global theme and the staging of trends in Theme Park?
Rather than approach this major global trend on a macro level and discuss the relevance to more architecture, urban planning we wanted to take a more human-centred approach, to explore how our increasingly urban future will impact the spaces in which we live, work, consume, play and socialise.
For example we are looking at responding to our changing lifestyles and the need to design for smaller spaces and more nomadic lifestyles. We explore how we can design our urban spaces to enable us to live healthier and happier lifestyles, and the role technology can play in this, as well as exploring where materials and resources of the future city will come from and how we can make the urban environment more sustainable. We have also been mapping how the design and creative community have been developing work addressing or inspired by this issue, tackling the challenges posed by our urban future head-on.
Do you think the meaning of trends has changed since influencers, e.g. bloggers, are posting new trends on a daily basis?
The explosion of blogging and pinterest has caused the proliferation of ‘ trend’ information. However often these are just very short-term aesthetic correlations or reportage, rather than longer term and deeper aesthetic movements that are grounded in socio-cultural context. One fallacy people have is, when they think of trend forecasting, they picture somebody with a crystal ball. In reality, it’s all just research, and more research.
There is a firm theoretical grounding to the practice. Just as in science, we’re looking at the peripheries – what is happening on the edge and emerging innovations – and then mapping, predicting and anticipating patterns and correlations. We are not advocating that people follow trends, we see trends as tools that might help you communicate to your audience how your brand and product understands how the world continues to evolve and change. With the market’s current competitive nature, you can’t afford to just stand still. You’ve got to be constantly aware of what has the potential to impact your industry, and of everything that is affecting your customers’ lives.