WGSN’s Design Trend Analysis

Looking back at the key trends that dominated the design industry last year, and looking towards the trends of 2018, WGSN- the world’s trend authority- provide a recap of the key trends that emerged out of Dubai Design Week, including thoughtful designs that provide therapeutic benefits, sensorial cross-model experiences and conscious living solutions. The Analysis confirmed that the UAE continues to emerge as a key contender in the design world, where Dubai Design Week provides the perfect platform for this evolution.

Below we highlight WSGN's key trends that emerged from Dubai Design Week:

Human Healing

Combining aesthetic beauty with physiotherapy, Ewa Dulcet and Martyna Świerczyńska's jewellery collection relieves pressure on the wrist -the area damaged by conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Yi-Fei Chen's Tear Gun allows users to capture, freeze and shoot their tears as an act of self defence. Originally designed for cancer patients, Berk Ilhan's Smile Mirror lifts moods by activating only when the user is smiling. The hypnotic motion of Juhang Park's mechanical device places the mind into a meditative sleep mode. Roya Ramezani's Exponent Keyboard enables women to build more assertive vocabularies to express themselves more forcefully in male-dominated environments.

Sensorial Touch

Marie Tricaud's wearable devices, Touché, give tactile dimension to musical composition and per formance by enabling the user to compose vibration loops and temperature melodies. Anjai Srinivasan's malleable vessels are designed to quiver and mirror movement through human interaction. Loight by Zahra Ghiasi is a new take on the chandelier, composed of a series of detachable and wirelessly rechargeable lamps that can be used collectively or individually as mobile light sources. Haruna Fushimi's atmoSphere is an immersive musical experience that uses spatial, audio and haptic feedback; wearing headphones and holding the atmoSphere engages the user in a cross-modal immersive experience. Napat Petcharatana's Hug Chair cover is designed to provide comfort and affection for Alzheimer’s patients.

Sustainable Resources

Dubbed as cleaning products that you can find in a forest, Sóley Þráinsdóttir's Cleaning Strategies project explores the potential of natural resources to create local, sustainable cleaning products and tools, instead of conventional chemical agents. Zero Waste: Experimental Packaging by Austeja Platukyte is a line of experimental packaging made of biodegradable algae-based material, which is organic, fully compostable, and usable as a fertiliser to retain soil moisture. Lauren Bach's High Density home accessories are created through the reuse of post-consumer plastics. AlgiKicks by Aaron Nesser is a revolutionary, sustainable sneaker design derived from kelp based biomaterials, while Jules Mas's All Pet Shoe is a fully recyclable football boot, composed of a single, recyclable material.

Conscious Living

Nishith Parikh's Solar Lamp provides an alternative sustainable solution to government-issued study lamps in rural India. Demonstrating the importance of clean air to healthy living, the natural vegetation in BETTair -House's home eco-system is nurtured by the purifying properties of the light fixtures. Joca van der Horst's textile piece combines chemicals with daylight to purify the air, which users can track through touch, activating a light that remains calm while the air is clean but becomes frenzied when sensing pollution. Ran Yasin's Petit Pli apparel uses a pleated structure which expands in both directions, growing with the child. Sungmy Kim explores the idea of objects having human rights, to counteract the throwaway culture. Sandra Pihlak's Blacklight Mirror reveals the true extent of UV light damage to skin in real time.

Power of Nature

 Designed by Fredrikson Stallard in collaboration with Swarovski, Prologue is a freestanding sculpture made up more than 8,000 amber-coloured Swarovski crystal droplets. The luminous ring mimics the golden sun and the circle represents new beginnings, life and rebirth. Yedan Qian and Xin Liu sensory VR system, TreeSense, transforms its user into the form of a tree, foster ing our connection to nature. By tracking bodily movement and synchronising the sounds, vibrations, temperatures, winds and scents of the VR environment, TreeSense crafts an evocative illusion of inhabiting another, different body. In response to issues surrounding global warming, The State of Earth exhibition explores works which set the stage for a much-needed change in dialogue around climate change.

Crossing Borders

Tony Cho's human-centred voice assistant, Polyglossia, is designed to break down the language barriers in hospitals. Interviews with migrants show that many mistrust, or misunderstand, clinical advice due to difficulties in doctor-patient communication. Using spoken keywords, it generates simple animations that provide an additional layer of communication. Amal Atassi's Refugee Protection Guide is a map of services and resources for refugees travelling across Europe, as well as a support system offering medical and legal advice, hygiene kits, shelter supplies and food. Loga: Mobile Employment Empowering Refugees by Alexander MacKay, Chris Wheeler, William Held and Utku Unlu is an app which enables refugees to earn a meaningful wage by digitising Arabic language documents using their smartphones.

Arabic Concepts

Housed in a custom-made pavilion composed of bedsprings, the Abwab exhibition presented contemporary design objects from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Designed by Boano Prišmontas and Ricardas Blazukas, the Aidah installation is an architectural representation of Marco Polo’s imagined journey to Dubai in Italo Calvino’s book, Invisible Cities, translating Middle Eastern fictional history in an artistic way. Gafla Jewellery and Abdalla Almulla's Specular installation is a three-dimensional structure assembled from reflective rhombus-shaped discs, allowing visitors to experience the Baraag collection. Khalid Shafar and Lasvit's customisable glass installation, Silent Call, is inspired by the mosque, and the beauty of call to prayer.

Visit https://www.wgsn.com/en/ to read more on WGSN and download the full trend analysis