Ripples on the surface.
Nature’s sensory alphabet.

Dynamic patterns are an exciting new trend in tableware and home accessories. Nature supplies the model for many of these successful shapes and surfaces – “delicate structures“ that give us fantastic sensory impressions.

Delicate structures

As Bob Dylan sang in 1964 – the times they are a changin’ – and it’s still true today. Surfaces used to be as sleek and smooth as possible in order to display elegance and refinement. Now, though, a diverse range of structures are being explored. These are to a large extent the fine, subtle structures found so abundantly in nature. Fürstenberg has conjured up sea urchin patterns on cups and bowls, while Miyama has decorated porcelain with fine grasses. Traditional Lithuanian weaving firm Jūratė has produced natural-coloured linens with feather-soft fringes. This trend fits seamlessly into an era where yoga trumps a workout and walking is undergoing a revival. We don’t just want to keep fit, we want to experience more – more of ourselves and more of the world around us.

Dynamic surfaces

Nature provides all the best ideas, with a rich alphabet to choose from: clouds, grains of sand, grasses, shade, shingle, veins in leaves. Vita Copenhagen’s ceiling lamp reflects the ripples in sand dunes and shines a warm light through them. The swirls on these plates by Luzerne seem to be inspired by spirals in sand, while the indoor fountain with pebbles by Philippi imitates the refreshing running river water in our homes. Glass provides an ideal surface for fine designs, due to its transparency and Nude has created a carafe with grooves so gentle they seem to melt into a single flow.

Stunning effects

Structured surfaces produce interesting effects designed not to dazzle. They create new constellations, new perspectives and new perceptions. When Ceramic Japan gives its fine porcelain a twist, it’s as if the surface has been scrunched up and smoothed back out. The viewer stops short: is this porcelain hard or soft? Toyo-Sasaki displays glasses that look as if they’re sun-kissed. Adding structure injects life into an object in a variety of ways, all of them beneficial – flowing, soft and flattering. A gentle, barely perceptible movement sweeps through the room as if our surroundings were rising eagerly to meet us. Nature extends a hand of friendship, and we relax in response. The colours also matter: light, soft tones play on tables, textiles and furniture, as here in the many pleats of Issey Miyake’s serviettes for littala. They lighten our mood.

Technology and invention

The latest technology also comes into play, not least laser sintering. The shade on the table lamp by Cozi Studio displays a distinctive shape. Polyamide is woven into a special textile using 3D printing, with curves and changes in thickness producing a sophisticated lighting effect.

Once again the inspiration comes from our familiar surroundings. Qurz and Kitchibe from Japan have joined forces to create a diffuser that draws on traditional incense culture and spreads a fresh mossy aroma. Kahla also ties in to tradition by using origami as the inspiration for the ‘folds’ in its porcelain. If you get the impression that Japan plays a key role in this whole trend, Claudia Herke from stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano will confirm your suspicions: “Japan is great at technical implementation. But the driver is not the technology itself – the impetus for the design comes from culture.” Japan has long represented understated elegance, and avoiding exaggeration and bombast is an ideal route into the current trend.

Enriching refinements

The new designs all have one thing in common. We reach out irresistibly with our senses to touch them, feel the ripples, stroke the fabric, smell the fragrance. In our increasingly digital age, sensory experiences are ever more attractive. Previously separate elements are brought together in new ways. Yet our perception is also becoming more refined. This trend is facilitating a new way of living. We celebrate true greatness in the details of the designs. These visual and sensory elements open up an encyclopaedia of subtle experiences. Gentle ripples on the surface spread far and wide.