The systematic shift away from overly perfected or curated design continues into 2017. It coincides with a major movement within the creative community toward more artisan, handcrafted approaches to products and interiors. But the phenomenon isn’t just about design. It’s about life and business, too. We’re craving authenticity – and even commercial carpet is responding to the call.
It’s a reaction against a whole slew of things, including our hyper-fast society, proliferation of consumer culture and increasing reliance on digital technology. Handcrafted design offers a balance that counteracts these things with calmer processes, originality and creativity. As consumers and humans, we’re hungry for more personal, comforting and simple connections. We’re stripping back and placing more value on quality over quantity. And products that give us the sense that we’re being touched by the hand seem to resonate even more in an age that many believe technology has rendered invasive and anonymous. The handcrafted look and feel is perceived as relatable and real.
Anne Odling-Smee, a writer and designer, explains it well: “Not everyone wants to live in an environment full of polished surfaces, artificial materials and perfectly designed spaces. Generally, people are attracted to rough edges, natural fibers and mistakes they can see.”
These “rough edges” create believability in design, that each piece of material has been considered by a human touch. In commercial interiors, and specifically commercial carpet design, texture is rising to meet this demand for authenticity and artistry. At Bentley, for example, we’re reengineering legacy tufting equipment to evoke the spirit of handcraftsmanship with a juxtaposition of textures – cut to loop. Despite being machine made, the result is unique and unexpected; the carpet mimics the look and feel of embroidery.
Embroidery is nostalgic – another “wave” we’re currently riding in other aspects of design. We’re recalling what’s familiar and meaningful. Above all, throughout all genres of design, business and life, that’s exactly what we’re seeking – meaning and intention. And that’s what the handcrafted movement delivers. It’s not just a trend.
Do you agree? What handcrafted, artisan-inspired designs are you specifying this year?