The origins of a fiber, the name of the weaver and the face of the artisan each become intrinsic to understanding an object’s identity and soul. Like knowing the source of our food, materials are explored by designers interested in the unique aspects of the animal or plant species. A new generation of designers retrace their roots and research their history, sometimes going back to the beginning of time.
Like foragers looking for food, ecologically-conscious designers hunt and gather organic ingredients, creating a colourful language tinted for today’s greener times. They show us how manufacturing can avoid excessive pollution. Several investigate the properties of individual plants, like contemporary botanists cataloguing their qualities, reconnecting society to nature. Environmentalism is interwoven with sustenance, particularly when it comes to the oceans.
Material is the message in today’s design world, with designers looking at both low and high tech ways to reinvent the elements with which they work, all the while staying connected to the Earth. Recomposed from scraps of matter or reinvented with both natural and synthetic ingredients. Recycled and reincarnated, cultured and cultivated, to give new life to texture, fiber and colour.
Designers aim for a more sustainable production process and make us aware of the polluting ways we make textiles today. They seek to use little to no chemicals and water, work as energy-efficient as possible and manufacture locally, often experimenting with recycled or upcycled materials. They also revive and return to old looms to establish innovative studios practice.
“Today, we are witnessing a shift towards a combination of this functionality and natural beauty. Artists and designers are looking for refined aesthetics.