Material Trends

Posted 05/01/16 by Howard Sullivan

Crafts and Technology, Transparency & Transformation

Luxury is changing and as the worlds of work, rest and play are increasingly overlapped, also the material palette is being revitalized. The Ace Hotel mixes co-working lobby spaces with florists and DJs, luxury retailer Louis Vuitton's Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, brings art and performance together in futuristic luscious parkland. In these inspiring social spaces art, food and performance brush shoulders with music and nature, creating a vibrant and artistic mix that feels fresh and new. 

2FLVFondation Louis Vuitton, designed by Frank Gehry. A pleasure dome for fashion, culture and art-lovers alike.

From the East End of London to Mayfair it's clear that we are on the cusp of a refreshing and exciting evolution in design. A new wave of confidence in materials and spaces is clear.

1CKChristopher Kane, London

Further afield in Tokyo, Miu Miu's incredible flagship by Herzog & De Meuron shows an incredible use of textured copper. 

3 MiumiuMiu Miu, Tokyo 

Our insights team YS GroundWork have defined the following three themes to distill some of the inspiration we believe will influence the use of material in future design: Crafts and Technology, Transparency and Transformation.

Crafts and Technology


5LV2Louis Vuitton Series 3, London

At the Louis Vuitton series 3 you step into the world of creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere, displaying the craftsmanship, inspiration and creative process behind the LV collections. 

 6NendoNendo Tokyo Tribal collection

The Tokyo Tribal collection by Nendo is a furniture range, made with woven bamboo baskets, celebrating the frisson between technical and artisans materials. Woven by artisans in the Philippines, each basket varies in shape in pattern and are incorporated in the furniture pieces in a different way. 

"In allowing for these various products and materials to converge and function together, the conceptual aim is to create a sense of a small and tightly-knit 'tribe', greater and better than the sum of its parts."

- Nendo

9FonduestoolFondue stool by Satsuki Ohata

Satsuki mixes new materials with industrial processes. Using kitchen sponges to imitate bread and vats of bright yellow PVC plastic, the footstool is inspired by the Cheese fondue. The sponges shape naturally, by weight and gravity, during an hour-long drying process. 

3PininfarinaBicycle by Pininfarina in collaboration with 43 Milano

New technologies are offering new crafting techniques,as brilliantly shown in Pininfarina's bicycle in collaboration with 43 Milano. Interwoven leather strips on the handlebars are a counterbalance to the steel and briar walnut finishes. Interesting to note that you can also charge your smart phone on this bike- integration of technology as enabler but not feature. 

"Engineered with computer-tight precision they have created a razor-sharp mix of craftsmanship and the avant-garde." 

- Howard Sullivan, Creative Director of Yourstudio





7JwandersonloeweJW Anderson for Loewe SS16

Master of the avant-garde, JW Anderson's collection for Loewe SS16 used see-through fabrics to reveal different details of the body. 

All of these precedents have shown a whole new way to approach this notion of transparency and refraction and should definitely be employed creatively for accents in our future spaces. 

7NendoDeep Sea by Nendo

Transparency stole the catwalk late last September at Paris Fashion Week. Nendo's 'Deep Sea' shelves stacked subtly tinted planes of glass in gradating greeny-blues, represented the depths of colour in the ocean. 

7Transparant ChairNendo, Transparent Chair

The transparent chair seems to consist of nothing but a backrest and armrests, but transparent polyurethane film, often used as packaging material, is wrapped around to chair to create a light and floating seat. 

8BenwhiteBen White, July Extracts 


11HusseinchalayanHussein Chalayan, Paris fashion week, SS16

Transformation enhances our experience by things that change and adapt in response to us. Hussein Chalayan's Paris Fashion Week show last week had a catwalk shower that dissolved a top layer of clothing to reveal intricate tailoring beneath. From the high concept to the high tech, there are a number of opportunities from seating fabrics to hard surfaces that could employ a touch of responsive alchemy. 

12BmwBMW in collaboration with the University of Offenbach

BMW collaborated with the University of Offenbach to create interactive surfaces where driver and car can communicate. Exploring magnetic fields, air, static electricity, light and humidity as a means of expressive energy, the smart surfaces allow intuitive interaction through material innovation. 

13IncertitudesIncertitudes by Ying Gao

Incertitudes by Ying Gao is a fabric that responds to sound which create wave-like ripples in garments. As the environments around us become ever more inter-sensory, interactive and entertaining, this is set to be a vital trick for engaging passengers on board.


4BiologicBioLogic, MIT Media Lab graduate Lining Yao

BioLogic explores interfaces and transformations. Working together with the Tangible Media Group, Lining Yao created a fabric embedded with bacteria. These bacteria a responsive to heat and humidity. Used in a fabric for sportswear, the bio-films will curl up when the body heats up and the vents will shut as the body cools down, like this it can be used as a ventilation system. 

'It is an eco-system between clothes and the human body.'

- Lining Yao

5Edible Chloé Rutzerveld, Edible Growth

"Edible growth is exploring how 3D printing could transform the food industry. It is about 3D printing with living organisms, which will develop into a fully grown edible."

- Chloé Rutzerveld 

The themes we've explored here; craftsmanship, transformation and transparency are a small nod to the exciting work that we are involved with for 2016 and beyond. Watch this space!

YourStudio is a brand design agency creating interiors for successful spaces.  YS GroundWork is YourStudio's Insights and Strategy team.

To find out more about future material trends, please get in touch - 



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