Emerging trends in the design world, from luxury up-cycling to multi-purpose design

Over the last couple of weeks, we noticed some interesting trends developing in design. By looking across all related stories on PSFK, we noticed these three themes:

Upcycled Luxury

First, we are seeing a general movement of brands repurposing byproducts and waste into new products that are worth showing off. Whether it’s a new swimwear collection made from ocean plastics by adidas, a recycled plastic dress from H&M, artful ink pens derived from car exhaust or high fidelity speakers made from recycled tree trunks. All of these turn discarded things into high-quality, even luxury products.

In part this is a technical advancement, where before the technology to turn ocean plastic into a viable material was not quite there. But it also reveals that brands can build a larger, more compelling story about the life cycle of the things they make. (See also Coors literally turning old advertising collateral into something new).

Closed-Loop Systems

There’s also a growing movement of designers looking to create self-contained systems that are sustainable with little or no added effort required from users. The goal here is to build more sustainable products while requiring even less in the way of human intervention.

This self-contained plant in a jar never needs to be watered to grow and flourish, likewise this lamp only requires a little dram of salt water to stay lit for days on end. Not extreme enough? How about a urinal in Paris that actually grows a full garden of flowers (and hopefully makes things smell a bit better along the way).

Multi-Purpose Design

Finally, we’re seeing a rise in products and environments that can evolve and adapt to a variety of use cases and needs. Whether it’s to adapt to small spaces, to save money or just make something more useful, designers are looking to put more thought toward the multitude of uses that buyers inevitably need.

IKEA is leading the way with an “open-source” sofa that can be endlessly reconfigured, Flexit is a hybrid desk designed to maximize use in tight and cramped spaces, and finally I love this example of a classroom in South Korea that can actually shape itself to the day’s lesson plan.

Hoping that you find these ideas inspirational and something to build off of.

Until next time!

Over the last couple of weeks, we noticed some interesting trends developing in design. By looking across all related stories on PSFK, we noticed these three themes:

Upcycled Luxury

First, we are seeing a general movement of brands repurposing byproducts and waste into new products that are worth showing off. Whether it’s a new swimwear collection made from ocean plastics by adidas, a recycled plastic dress from H&M, artful ink pens derived from car exhaust or high fidelity speakers made from recycled tree trunks. All of these turn discarded things into high-quality, even luxury products.