The prospect of change is inevitable. And while that may seem daunting to some, the capacity to discover new things and form new insights can be enlightening. For us at EDSA, this exchange allows for new research and predictions to inform our business model and the way we develop creative solutions. With the start of a new year, we wanted to share a few recent trends that are influencing how, where, and why we design.
Future Tech Cities: From Alibaba’s City Brain to Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, technology could be used to make cities less congested, more livable, more affordable, and safer for residents and businesses. However, privacy advocates are concerned with the potential abuse of ongoing surveillance and the data it generates. And yet, the undeniable appeal of convenience and efficiency cannot be ignored. As technological solutions to urban problems arise, these debates will continue.
Renaissance Neighborhoods: Due to real estate costs in capital cities and regional hubs, previously off-the-map neighborhoods are smartening up with attractive cultural scenes. These creative locations include Pangrati, Athens; Soi Nana, Bangkok; Barracas, Buenos Aires; Culver City, Los Angeles; and Sint-Jorispoort, Antwerp. With a continued premium for an authentic sense of place, locals are driving a third-wave migration to neighborhoods awash with cultural offerings.
Digitally Altered Reality: Between virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and extended reality – the digital world is changing the relationship between creative and client. Artists are challenged to rethink site lines of the viewer, giving them a new sense of reality, and what its true value is to those it serves.
Digital Nomads: With a current workforce of 4.8 million digital nomads and an expected growth rate of more than 10 percent in the next 2-3 years, more and more people are drawn to the appeal of a flexible workspace. Working from home, a coffee shop, or while traveling, employees are dictating an about-face on workplace design, digital accessibility, and business interface.
Ultimate Extravagance: Younger generations are prioritizing ‘moments’ over luxury. Preferences for small, local villas over a secluded tourist resort are impacting hospitality big time. It’s about answering the question, “what am I as a guest, getting from an educational and immersive point of view?” Food innovation, entrepreneurial activity, and authentic design are primary motivators for travelers and the factors driving which destinations become hotspots.
Community Spas: Public spas and baths are staging a comeback, making wellness accessible and affordable to all. With a healthy orientation for physical activity and an urban inclination towards the social aspects of life, neighborhood saunas, floating pools, and other concepts are bringing communities together to wash, gather, and escape the stress of everyday life. Reviving the community spa as a gathering spot, providers are approaching their projects with a spirit of inclusivity and high design principles, creating new-wave, thoughtfully executed facilities.
New Sustainability: The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the world has just over a decade to bring climate change under control. For the planet to thrive, organizations and consumers need to think beyond ‘doing less harm’ and look to regeneration, restoration, and rebalancing climate conditions while allowing economies, people, and the planet to simultaneously flourish. This sustainability mindset has leading brands focused on creating products, services, packaging, and systems that are as desirable and functional as they are eco-friendly.
Certainly, each of these trends is fascinating in its own right. However, the truth is that many of these trends – as well as others – overlap with one another. Recognizing that we all operate in a connected world demands that we stay ahead of these trends and anticipate the implications they will have on the people and places. It means staying informed, adaptable, focused, and aware of the industries, consumers, and global circumstances that impact the way we practice design and deliver quality services to our clients – so that we do not simply follow trends but incorporate them into multifaceted destinations that stand the test of time. For more information contact us at [email protected].