Designing for the Future: trends we need to consider now*

How are you all doing today? As for me, I am doing great here in the “City of White Nights” aka Saint – Petersburg where I am having a rest away from daily routine, so I have plenty of time to think about things I thought very little before. 
So, as you can see it from the headline of this blog post, this time I would like you to talk a bit about the future of design together with me. I know it will take a Brobdingnagian time to evolve just a tiny part of this immense topic so I suggest you to focus only on some areas like we all usually love to chit-chat about: it’s fashion and (less) art and architecture which, set together, correspond to the main agenda of my blog more accurately if compared to other topics.
Of course, I am not Grandmother Vanga to forecast the future and I suppose it’s almost impossible to predict how our material world will look like in the future with 100% accuracy, but dreaming and analyzing trends we need to consider now never weigh you down, right?
I can clearly remember the early 90-s, which were my school years, when everybody was dreaming big, fantasying about high-minded flying cars, superior robots that would invade the planet Earth some day, unimaginable enormously high skyscrapers of futuristic design, teleport machines, zero-sized intelligence in the form of  computer brains and so on and so forth.
I can’t say that all these delusional inventions have completely disappeared into the abyss of people’s imagination by the moment, because some of them are still relevant as they used to be then since there is the Skyrunner (the world’s first flight – capable personal vehicle that is now available on sale), amazing heritage of Zaha Hadid's creations in the field of architecture, Rei Kawakubo or Gareth Pugh (God bless their creative souls!) in the fashion industry who never cease their experimental challenges with the looks destined for Men of the Future, and all those smart technologies we have now and then right around the corner.

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Photo courtesy: Julia Chicago

All photos by me

To tell the truth I sometimes feel like a Pithecanthrope when I see in stupor of amusement how far the modern innovations have already made it into the world’s consumer market.
Just watch this video on TEDst where a Cyborg rights activist Aral Balkan shows his audience how good design can give people superpowers by demostratig a so-called "Grab  Magic" technique. 
It's just as being surreal as looking simple: "you reach out to your TV and grab the current screen in your hand then transfer it to your phone by tapping its screen. Magic", - gracefully gives his explanation Mr. Balkan. 
And I also completely agree with him that 'great design should empower, amuse  and delight' consumers. 
The way the object looks like is essential. I must fall in love with my object of desire before I have an intention to buy it. And that's the designer who should be bothered by how to make me fall in love with this object. So the designers should now pay more attention to inventing new appealing shapes and colors. 
Noone wants to marry ugliness which is a highly subjective notion, of course, but I hope you know what I mean. 
From the best of existing tools tastemakers should choose the best of the best ones to engineer something really attractive for their consumer squad that would provoke an emotional wave inside them.  
Once I asked my friend, an architect from the South Caucasus, what was the ideal house for him as a professional, because more often when we say "futuristic" we mean "perfect". 
He said: "First of all, the surrounding means a lot to me. It [his house] has to be situated in some green area and it also has to be made of ethical materials. It has to be functional, I don't want to have any useless trash in my house, everything will be used by its purpose".
So the high-end trend nowadays is a functionality and I personally mean it too: functionality in fashion, functionality in design, functionality in housing, because who needs an unusable puffer jacket or a stool no matter how exciting it looks and what  labels are sticked on it? 
We need more convenient mobile devices to be able to keep them at hand 24-hours a day. It goes without saying that its design must be applied to people's job and life space. 
By saying that I mean it's highly recommended that they should be more independent from traditional sources of energy. 
I would prefer to have my iPhone being automatically self-charged somehow without my looking for sockets in a 'Burger King' place every time when its battery dies on me occasionally. 
I would prefer to have my genious (just kidding) or not so genious (which of course are more frequent) thoughts to be transfered into a blogging platform without my typing on the screen. 
And please can anyone invent a 'dressing machine' which would correct some people's bad taste because I would love the idea of everyone being dressed perfectly fine like they do it in Scandinavia or in London, for instance. 
Speaking about good taste, I like these now existing community- powered social commerse shopping platforms (like Polyvore) which collect the best designer pieces in one app so that a person could choose something for himself/herself and by using this app there is a chance he/she will not look like a monkey dressed like a peacock anyway. Xo-xo. 
As for fashion,  I see its future in predominance of online shopping over traditional shopping. 
I tend to develop the trend of reproduction of goods that's what Vivienne Westwood  and other forward - thinking  influencers from the fashion and design stand for. I tend to stick myself  to those mainstream people who hope to benefit from the new and improved. There is no any good in stupid consumerism. This is a door which leads to nowhere. 
I would never support industries which produce micro-chip-sized casings and atom - powered transistors invisible to the naked eye which are aimed to be implemented into human brains in the future. Neurohacking included. Mentally healthy people would never buy the idea of a freewill body invading IMHO, no? 
It's hard not to take the words of  Mr. Donald A Norman into consideration when he's  saying that the future of design lies in 'changing the way of our thinking'  and then 'changing the way of doing things'. 
In this video the world renowned Professor of Computer Science, Psychology of Cognitive Scinece at Northwestern University asks a few crucial questions: "Why do you need this?" and "What is it for?" in relation to designing objects. 
And I think every creator should ask himself these two questions when he starts to work on his projects. In this case I guess an agenda item of this blog post would be much clearer. 
I hope you wouldn't mind if I connect this wise thought of this respected man with the concept of diversity. The main trend we all need to consider now is to let people express themselves. 
No borderlines in terms of art should ever exist here. 
Everyone must be accepted, everyone must be appreciated, every voice must get their 5 minutes of fame some day, because appreciation is really important, it makes sense when we are talking about good and effective design. 
Another trend I think of as viral in designing for the future is learning how to cooperate. 
If there is a fund which supports science groups and institutions which teach people how to communicate with each other productively think about me as their first investor. While working on one project a few years ago I faced a problem of interaction with a creative group because of misunderstandings in terms of how things should look like and noone wanted to take a step back so the project didn't see the light in fact which is sad cause everyone had put a lot of force and imagination in there before someone crossed the lack-of-patience line. 
When I was a child I used to have a "Fashion Book" which originally looked like a shabby notebook for my different kinds of scribbles and pieces of writing. And I remember a sketch from this notebook. The sketch was an image of the Dior "new look" - style like dress where the top part was looking like a shopping window framed baroque style. The interior was representing a scene from Tchaikovsky's "The Swan Lake" opera. All the characters inside the frame were minuscule and made of a plastic mixed with gold. All that would be lit by small lights set inside the backing of the dress. 
For that period of time  I thought I was revolutionizing the fashion  industry. Of course,  I wasn't. 
Now we have "Volantis" which Lady Gaga happened to promote
Even this unusual fashion choice of a pop icon already seems to be not so provocative but it still has a right to be thought as the future of fashion since it creates a particular trend whose main aim is to combine good - looking forms with the newest technology. That's the snag, that's the unlimited source for inspiration. 
In any case I think whatever is created or will be created in the future the most important criteria for the designed object is its humanistic approach. Facilitators must love what they do and they shouldn't be too obsessed with their persona when designing a thing but think more about those who will be using their creation for years. 
And one more thing. 
Frankly speaking, I am now hugely influenced by everything related to the Ancien Greece aethetics. And I even planned to visit Mykonos this summer before I decided to visit Saint - Petersburg, Russia instead. As well as any Greek city or town, Saint P is  also famous for its historical buildings with outstanding outdoor and indoor architectural decor. Yesterday, for example,   I was walking down the bank of the Neva river area and  I saw the facade of the "St.Petersburg State Museum of Theatre and Music" where they had classical music set into the transistors placed under the chairs standing in front of the museum, two days earlier I saw a magnifiscent decoration of "The Saint Petersburg Comedy Theatre" on Nevskiy Prospekt street and a commonly used saying "Everything old becomes new again" had striken my mind which I see as a core answer to our question: Where is the future for design?
That's what I think about design and the currently exisiting trends in general. Let me say it one more time again that I didn't want to totally embrace the whole topic - "Designing for the Future", I just expressed my point of view and some people may totally disagree with some parts of this essay. It's natural. Anyway I hope that you liked this insight. I would be interested in your opinion on this subject too. Tell me what think you by leaving a comment below. 

*This blog post is a part of Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader

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Faithfully yours,


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