A long time has passed since design stopped being viewed as solely a direct action applied to a product, morphing into a new way of thinking and an axis of transformation for companies, corporations and institutions. In regard to how this discipline influences people, companies and communities, and the global and local connections that exist between them, for some time people have been looking to professionals and companies that help others evolve based on a foundation of design. Design that does much more than just create products and that also generates ideas, using as inspiration the concerns of individuals and new groups.
The architect Nacho Martín knows a lot about the evolution of the planet, people and companies, and their influence on design. The Design Director at Fjord, Accenture's design and innovation consultancy created to make design accessible to companies, shared his vision at the "Design Trends 2022" event, organised by the Leading Brands of Spain Forum design network and moderated by the researcher and disseminator of design trends, Marisa Santamaría, at Actiu's showroom in Madrid.
Design is viewed as an experience that goes beyond the product and that now involves a new type of vision, connecting with businesses and people and taking things one step further, while the school of thought that once placed man at the centre has evolved towards a more global vision, which includes all life on the planet, not just the human being.
“A paradigm shift that seeks to strike the balance between our relationships with the planet, sustainability and responsible consumption, opening up a world of possibilities in terms of discussion and evolution that includes new ways of eating, living and working as part of a whole”, says Nacho Martín.
Of an increasingly multifunctional nature, design is much more than just the product, the individual, the companies or the nations themselves, and already functions as a global tool. A commitment to supporting local coexists in many cases with decentralisation in the search for the best talent.
With parallel digital universes in which designers are already working, the digital and physical become permeable and strongly connected experiences that, like Gaia by Actiu®, blur the lines between what's virtual and what's real. A proposal that, as Marisa Santamaría tells us, "first launches a virtual universe of furniture to then make it real after analysing the impact it has on the public.”
Borders and paradigms have been broken in all spaces. At universities, the teacher-student relationship is now two-way, and the new office concept opts for a more playful and relational space. Leisure is work, home is work and work is family, and companies need to rethink their ways of working. “Each company has to look at what values it wants to transmit, what the role of its office is and the models it wants to promote when it comes to working," says Fjord's Design Director.
The new generations are looking for a purpose in what they do and companies must review their strategies, the philosophy they want to share and how workspaces can become a representation and staging of their values. It is of the utmost importance for them to understand the value of going into the office as a space that is conducive to social relationships and that is committed to healthy lifestyles and, as is already the case in retail spaces, to view it as a place for generating new types of experiences.
For Actiu's Counsellor and Head of Corporate Reputation, Soledat Berbegal, “Companies can contribute much more to workers through motivational aspects related to their well-being. Our mission is to offer them solutions that allow for the creation of healthy workspaces that ensure people's physical and emotional well-being.”
Terms such as sustainability, innovation and creativity are now joined by others such as transcendence or transparency: it's no longer just about communicating but about spreading, teaching and adding value through new ways of living and experimentation. Design as a multifunctional experience, which goes far beyond generating "beautiful" objects and that communicates how said objects are built, where the materials come from and what they are for. A design capable of transmitting sensations and emotions, and which, as Marisa Santamaría highlights, "has ceased to be the final throes of the process to become a fundamental part of its beginning."
The trend in recent years of viewing objects as something that transcends design and dilutes the boundaries between products and services is consolidating itself towards an increasingly digital world, where the physical transcends into a more experiential field. As an agent of change that streamlines, facilities, improves efficiency and optimises, design presents itself in 2022 as a tool for the connection and hybridisation of experiences and trends through different materials, new colours from recycling and innovative shapes resulting from digital processes and virtual experiences.
A multifunctional and interdisciplinary kind of design, the best example of which can be found this year in Valencia, selected as World Design Capital 2022, and which will show the world the infinite capacity of this discipline, leaving behind a legacy capable of transcending and establishing itself as a key value in the social structure.