Tactile discovery: Materials & finishes

With the Surface Design Show on the horizon, Retail Focus investigates trend predictions in materials and finishes for the year ahead.

In 2016, retailers look set to work towards more tactile experiences in store. Whether its luxury metallics or sustainable materials, these finishes can have a major impact on the look, feel and ambience of a store and the brand.

For the first time, the blending of two shades – Serenity and Rose Quartz – are chosen as the Pantone Colour of the Year

For the first time, Pantone has chosen to blend two shades – Serenity and Rose Quartz – as the Pantone Colour of the Year. The global authority on colour and provider of professional colour standards for the design industries has chosen a harmonius pairing of shades that embody a mindset of tranquility and inner peace.

'With the whole greater than its individual parts, joined together Serenity and Rose Quartz demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,' says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

The prevalent combination of Serenity and Rose Quartz also challenges some more traditional perceptions around colour association. 'In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted colour trends throughout all other areas of design,' continues Eiseman. 'This more unilateral approach to colour is coinciding with societal movements towards gender equality and fluidity, the consumers’ increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression which includes a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged, and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to colour usage.'

Cliq Designs, a specialist in 3D textured quilting, will be demonstrating textures on stand 118.

The organisers of The Surface Design Show have identified a number of key trends for the 2016 exhibition including texture; geometric; glass, mirror and reflection; natural stone and brights and bolds. 'In spite of the rise in e-commerce, the physical point of sale is still with us and the traditional store is having to up its game in terms of the experience and brand relevance. This has resulted in new and exciting surfaces being introduced by architects and designers as we become increasingly aware of the role our surroundings play in supporting the retail experience,' says Christopher Newton, event director of the Surface Design Show, which takes place next month.

Surface Design Show exhibitor, Heliot & Co. predicts a shift towards ultra tactile and softened surface design in 2016, in both form and material finishes. 'Sugary toned pastels are paired with pearlescent greys for a playful, contemporary colour palette. Soft materials, such as foam and silicone, are combined with colourful resins and rubberised or powdercoated material finishes, for an imaginative mix of the senses,' says the Heliot & Co. design team.

'Finishes are matt, icy and soft with high gloss highlights, whilst pattern trends see small geometrics, grids and dots with colour blocking and tonal mixing. Shape trends are plump, rounded and soft, with an almost cartoon-like aesthetic to comforting home interiors. Softness and comfort will inform interior design in 2016, creating a more approachable, playful and decorative aesthetic. Heliot and Co. create surfaces with these seasonal trends in mind, using colour, form and finish to create contemporary collections of surface solutions and interior products.'

Buddha Bar in Dubai features a wavy metallic bar to mimic the skin of a dragon.

At Buddha Bar in Dubai, texture and metallics are a key theme. Designed by Giles Miller Studio, a mix of ceramic finishes were used, including up to four metallic glazes in matt, high gloss and crackled bronze on the undulating bar front artwork. This artwork is a nod to the scaley surface of a dragon's skin and has a true tactility and depth.

'You can’t feel rich textural surfaces on a screen, so retail stores are moving away from crisp, clean and chemical, offering up the tactile with designs that might include fleecy sheepskin seating, rustic patterned flooring and open industrial ceilings as at Charming Charlie's new Manhattan flagship,' says Joan Insel, retail brand strategist at CallisonRTKL.

'Sustainability will continue to be an important trend in 2016. The environment is a key issue for consumers and brands are making a concerted effort to show it’s important to them too,' says Adam Hewitt, senior designer at Umbrella Design. 'At the top end of retail, understated glamour in the form of brushed metals, raw finishes and exposed materials have replaced the glitzy bling of the 90s. This has been happening for some time but it's now filtering down into the mass market, where sustainable materials are being beautifully finished to create the same natural, honest effect.

Hewitt also notes the use of simple, clean and clear interiors. 'Simplicity and sustainability are interconnected. So it’s not surprising to see a more paired back aesthetic continuing. It’s not quite minimalist as pattern, colour and texture remain. For our recent work with Voisins department store, we used a basic palette of only three to four colours, many of which were variations on a grey theme. It was a useful approach for creating a neutral backdrop that had texture, richness and character but didn’t overpower the brands. Another good example is Victoria Beckham’s shop, which is very clean. Brands don’t want to be seen to be too ostentatious. It’s about quality and integrity rather than overcooking the environment; we want the product to take centre stage.

'As digital printing matures its use will become more prominent in retail environments. By enabling brands to create bespoke laminates, flooring and wallpapers, cost effectively and in small quantities, they can customise each environment according to their needs. The same is true of 3D printing. As it becomes more affordable, it is set to play a much bigger role. It's incredible scope for customisation will help unshackle the designer from more traditional manufacturing processes. Increasingly, 3D models that can be created on a computer will be affordable to produce as bespoke items.'


The Surface Design Show
The Surface Design Show takes over the Business Design Centre in Islington on 9-11 February 2015, and one of the key focuses for this year's event is retail surfaces. A Preview Evening, sponsored by Pintark, takes place on Tuesday 9 February at 6pm-9pm. The evening includes a Live Debate, hosted by New London Architecture with the topic, Architecture is More Than Skin Deep chaired by Peter Murray.

Annalie Riches, director of Mikhail Riches, will host the PechaKucha Evening on Wednesday 10 February at 6pm. Architects and interior designers will show 20 images, each for 20 seconds, providing an exciting and inspiring presentation.
Visitors can choose from three seminar areas during Surface Design Show and Light School – The Main Stage, The CPD Hub and Light School's School Room.

Evan James Design (stand IC/7) is collaborating with award-winning product designer, Adam Davies to develop signature interactive wall coverings to incorporate light and sound.

Future Thinking will present Surface Spotlight Live, providing a closer look at the topics and trends covered by the show's Surface Spotlight Newsletter throughout the year. Material directions for health & wellbeing (media partner Healthcare Design & Management Magazine) and Retail Design (sponsored by Concord) will be highlighted – two key markets developing new and exciting products for architects and designers.
The Surface Design Show is collaborating with trend researcher and writer, Sally Angharad to present a tactile sample bank of forward thinking materials, welcoming visitors to come and take a closer look at the latest developments that offer innovative solutions and exciting new aesthetics for healthcare and retail sectors.

Heliot & Co. predicts a shift towards ultra tactile and softened surface design this year (stand IC/3).

Sally Angharad highlights some of the trends that she will be looking out for during the show: 'Texture is key; I will be looking for surfaces that address all the senses and encourage touch and feel as we look for more engagement with our surroundings. Colour continues to be very important. Sophisticated bright colour palettes are emerging in new material collections and I am also looking forward to seeing the exhibitors offering customers the potential to specify a bespoke colour.'

To find out more and register for your ticket, visit www.surfacedesignshow.com




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