Recently, MGA&D asked two designers, Megan Mitchell (Interior Designer) and Yuka Midorikawa (Director of Product Design), to give us some insight into what is influencing their design choices. Here’s a glimpse at how they see things shaping up in the design world today and tomorrow!

1. What’s In and Why?

Megan: Editing is in. Or maybe I am just hoping that it will be in if I say it enough times. Ha!
We have been in what I like to call the Victorian Age of Technology – mass production and proliferation of information, apps on apps, and algorithms on algorithms. Our designs have been developing in this environment where complexity is essentially unlimited.

These practices are giving way to editing, to honing. We are maturing in our efforts to design with our new technological toys. With more work, we are headed toward design that is accessible, beautiful, sustainable, functional and highly personal.

Another answer to this could be – textures that reference nature but do not try to mimic it. We are post-nature in a way, but there is something more honest about it.

Yuka: Trends: I see the new neutral colors of pale muted salmon, matte black/graphite; and dark, earthy indigo as very trend forward. They add richness to the old standby neutrals of plain taupe, white and blue.

For material finishes, champagne gold and coppery bronze; and warm metallic accents, such as copper and rose gold, continue to be on trend, but are evolving to wear a layer of patina.

I see textured materials as an important trend. The fusion of textures (whether the texture originates from nature or from woven textiles) and hard metal surfaces adds warmth and depth to cold metal surfaces.

Large woven textures add depth and contrast and provide another touch of visual differentiation to our surroundings.

2017 Design Materials & Textures

Movements: In response to the public concern over the impact, so many discarded things have on our natural world, we see a lot of attention being paid to products and materials that are made to reduce environmental impact. Materials that increase the longevity of a product or conversely, are recyclable or bio-degradable are in demand by consumers and are therefore important assets to designers working today.

Another important movement we have been seeing is the integration of technology into products, appliances and furniture. This technology integration is a huge part of people’s lives; it really has changed the way people behave and socialize. These necessities cannot be ignored anymore.

2. What’s Out?

Megan: Unnecessarily complex shapes, arrangements and patterns are over-done. Un-natural products that are trying to look like natural ones are also out.

Yuka: Ombre – It has been over-saturated and it is time to say good-bye! Polished Chrome – It is too plain. People expect more!

3. Favorite materials? Textures?

2017 Design Materials & Textures

Megan: My number one favorite neo-primordial material hands down is wool felt. It is natural, renewable, insulating, acoustic, water and stain repellent. It wears like a Mack truck and it can be dyed the most vibrant and brilliant of colors. It can be cut with a laser (although it smells like burnt hair for a while after you do this) or milled with a CNC machine. It does not fray. Felt is used in industrial elements in your steering column as well as made into baby booties. Felt is my end all be all material. Fully recyclable polyester felt is okay too, for those who cannot tolerate wool.

Yuka: Wood, leather, and metal – we love materials that age gracefully and last for a long time.

4. Favorite design “buzzword”?

“Small move, big impact!” – Yuka Midorikawa

Megan: I do not like buzz words when they are used in any sort of serious way. Serious buzzwords make me feel like I am talking to the wrong people. Joking around with buzzwords is a totally different story. In that case, I like “smart” anything.

Yuka: I have two phrases that I like and I hear them all the time… “Less is more.” and “Small move, big impact!”

5. Is there a particular designer making an impression on you right now?

Yuka: I’m very interested in the work of Spanish designer, Jaime Hayon. In a recent article in Dwell Magazine, he was quoted as saying, “My design work is about questions and discovering new colorful forms and techniques. To start a piece, I always look for challenges in materials and in themes that I find curious or motivating.” I find that philosophy so interesting and inspiring!

6. What design sector do you see the most design ‘growth’ in 2017?

Megan: Hospitality is redefining itself. There are many possibilities for this sector to develop far beyond what have been its boundaries. With the incorporation of technology into the fabric of the architecture, the interior spaces will be free to evolve and adapt to each new tenant.

7. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Megan: My inspiration comes from an amalgamation of all that I see, read, make and hear all day every day. Science, movies, art, business, funny things my kids say, all of it goes into the mix. There is never a moment when I am not open to being inspired. It could even come from a blog post. No, seriously, it could be happening right now.

Yuka: I’m inspired by things from the past, nature, and human behavior

8. Are there any design trends that you absolutely love? Hate?

Megan: The entire concept of “luxury vinyl tile” is disgusting.

Yuka: I would not call this “trend”, but I love the fact many products you come across these days are made to improve an experience – to make people’s lives better. Things that I hate are the “wanna-be” products that look nice and cool but are not thoroughly considered for every usage situation, and therefore do not work the way you would expect. So disappointing!

Materials; I love warm-toned metal finishes such as rose gold or champagne gold with a satin surface finish. Brass has been a huge trend in the past years. The first group of products to be introduced using “new” brass was astonishing and beautiful. But many products that have been brought to market by the “followers” use brass that is too shiny and harsh looking- something about the color and finish I do not like.

Thresholds are the most important part of a design. – Megan Mitchel, Interior Designer

9. What are some timeless favorites that you always find yourself coming back to?

Megan: I love clean and simple thresholds. Thresholds are the most important part of a design. How you enter and exit can make all the difference. And while usually not helpful, metallic fringe in the entryway to a party is always a winner. Also, I always like Barcelona chairs. Always.

Yuka: Furniture and products designed by Hans Wegner, Arne Jacobsen, and Sori Yanagi.

10. Is there a specific design period you see making a comeback in 2017?

Megan: I really do feel that a 2017 version of the antidote to the Victorian Age that was the Arts and Crafts movement – small batches, hand-crafted (even the “crafting” is on a computer) and editing are making a comeback. Personal experiences and small batches of excellence make us feel like we are still human.

Yuka: Mid-century modern has already been back, but I think it will continue on trend with a more sophisticated Scandinavian flavor.