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Design trends for 2011 – Sobriety and Utility

This blog is the final in our series about the RECONNECT design trends theme from Heimtexil international trade fair for home and contract textiles. We are covering the two final trends: Sobriety and Utility.


Sobriety Design Trend

The Sobriety trend theme shows where short-lived, seasonal trends end and consistent value begins. The background to this trend is a change in consumer behaviour.

In recent years some consumers have changed through building a more ethical self-image, looking for concrete quality and service demands, which they want to maintain, even in difficult financial times.

Sobriety Design Trend

With sobriety the new consumer landscape is characterised by quality, longevity, sustainability and significance. There is a return to the essential and traditional.  This is not about sparkle and glam but a minimal Luxury that is satisfied by pure, clean, simple designs that symbolises a charming, timeless look.

The final trend is Utility.

The global financial crisis, natural catastrophes, an overindulgence of products and information are causing people to pause, to think about and reflect on their current lifestyle. Nowadays, a decisive factor in purchasing decisions is the consideration about what is really important.

Utility Design Trend

Consumers are sick of design for design’s sake, utility stands for simplicity, accessibility and an invitation to use. Utility is about products and designs that have a purpose.

Products marketed aggressively in glossy brochures are being replaced by the untreated and fundamental. Designed for everyday use, Utility products give greater meaning to their relationship with the user and suggest a longer lifespan. The pure, modest and unadorned are celebrated.

Our view on these trends: the four RECONNECT trends appear to overlap in many areas. There is no clear distinct line between them.

Utility Design Trend

Sobriety and Utility, covered in this blog and a review Mix Mash and Wilderness in earlier blogs seem to high-light the importance culture, tradition, reworking old methods, commitment to values, combining ideas, material, skills and more. We feel that it is more likely that we will have products that combine parts of the 4 trends integrating these into our decorating style as we become more in-sync with ourselves and the planet.  Many of us will still hold onto our previous styles as wholesale dumping of materials already collected would be against the RECONNECT trend anyway. There will be true Mix Mash of recent and new styles.

Material courtesy of 2011 Press Releases, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

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