Respect for nature combines with technological and scientific innovation in a design direction that channels craft through a contemporary filter. Consumers are rejecting mass-produced, homogenized design churned out by global corporations in editions of hundreds of thousands, and are shifting their retail preferences from global to local. They are buying locally produced goods underpinned by stories of heritage, craftsmanship and provenance, and they are supporting producers who are at pains to the source material and dispose of waste responsibly. Local materials and heritage industries are gaining fresh appreciation recognize the value in the knowledge and traditions of generations past. Extreme experiments with organic matter are resulting in innovative raw materials being harvested from alternative and abundant resources.
Organic waste is given a second life and applied to grassroots crafts to create a contemporary, hand-made aesthetic. The symbiotic relationship of industry and habitat is beginning to be celebrated by designers through projects and campaigns that revive lost industries. Socially minded projects that invite the participation of local community members will help reconnect consumers with their local heritage and highlight the value of locally available materials. Designers are revisiting the potential of natural resources and going back to basics with the building blocks of nature to rethink materials. Innovative processes are employed in the treatment of natural materials in order to stretch their application potential.
Algae, beeswax and tree resins, alongside animal and even human waste, are exploited in unconventional ways for their inherent properties. Breaking organic matter down into its most basic elements, designers are grinding, burning, steaming and stripping materials, to extensively deconstruct matter into workable substances. Revered traditional techniques are employed by contemporary designers to create timeless looks. Skilful basketry, thatching, wood applied to new design incarnations.
Crafts are reinterpreted for contemporary needs, and scaled up and applied to unconventional products and environments to create an unexpected aesthetic. Designers are also beginning to incorporate experimental processes and improvisation into their practices. Rudimentary, ad hoc methods are being used to replicate ancient techniques. A new design style is emerging, based around modest equipment and an appreciation of natural materials, and celebrating small-scale production, handmade imperfections and experimental creativity.