What do you think 2022 will hold for furniture design?
The last two years have been dominated by how Covid has changed our lives, but global warming will change the world more radically. The pandemic has made us all consider our fragility and realise that, while we are in an extraordinary age of technological development, we are not in control of this planet.
Facing these complexities and contradictions, we are slowly waking to the need for new models of consumption. We must exchange the desire for cheap, new and transient with other qualities such as value, circular and longevity. The self-defeating singular target of cheaper may finally be threatened by an awakening consumer, designer and manufacturer alike. The swing of the pendulum may have gone as far as it can towards cheap as a commercial nirvana. In this sea of global products and choice we lack the local, the handmade, the original. The stories and the narratives are missing.
Adding pressure to a broken model, current supply problems and unpredictable material prices place further pressure on companies to deliver something other than cheap. It’s no longer a reliable road to profit. Delivering something unique and something of quality (sustainable and long lasting) presents a real opportunity for change, which will continue to be evidenced this coming year with new start-ups and challengers offering something different. Beyond design, the difference will be based around products having a visible and measurable impact on our world allowing the consumer to make an informed decision about their purchase.
What was your favourite furniture design project from 2021?
SCP and specifically Sheridan Coakley has a long history of finding and supporting innovative design. Historically these pieces have often been simple in production, limited in complexity but nevertheless relevant, charming and enduring.
Last year Sheridan teamed up with The Ishinomaki Laboratory in Japan to develop a collection of pieces with a large group of designers which was presented at LDF. The Ishinomaki workshops were set up for locals in an area of Japan devastated by the tsunami in 2011. According to the SCP website, “the community-run company has a thoughtful approach to design. They strive to push the DIY concept forward, empower people and form a basis for collaboration and resourcefulness.” It’s clearly a worthwhile initiative. The resulting simplicity of the timber sections and the common approach to the build is a welcome relief and alternative to the often slick and rather bland results of mass-produced items, which for want of a better phrase, seem to have had the corners knocked off. An eclectic mix of pieces from whimsical to practical, all with charm and economy and most with corners all intact.