Who on earth came up with the solution, a few years ago, to call design trends "Feel Grace", "Hysteric Wonderland" and "Classic Return"? Was it written somewhere in the "Handbook for Minor Trend Researchers" that cryptic word combinations are the only way to paraphrase increasingly opaque design trends into manageable ones? Or have the trend researchers simply overlooked the trend, whereby even advertisers endeavour to use German, which is more or less comprehensible? The trend industry is a difficult, often ridiculed metier, which promises definite knowledge, where others offer only vague assumptions. It offers security if every study begins with "the current crisis" or "in difficult times like these" before coming up with a load of science and demographics, inviolability and academic titles. Amusingly remote trends are detected in trend forecasts, studies and analyses. Consumers follow these trends, which apparently only the trend researchers themselves are able to extract, like lemmings. Trend research, as sociologist and trend research critic Holger Rust so aptly analyses it, is often nothing more than "the semantic polishing of the self-evident". Occasionally, a term like cocooning does enter into common usage but generally these forecasts are designed specifically for creatives, who go about their business with their eyes wide open, rarely surprising, merely summarising what was already in the wind.
According to the Hamburg trend agency's third "stilwerk-trendstudie", which was presented by Professor Peter Wippermann at imm Cologne 2009, the trends "Archaic Nature", "Eco Pop", "Hysteric Wonderland" and "Hybrid Living" answer the question as to the future of living and, how things like climate change will affect the way we live or the way our homes will adapt to the changing structure of our lives. "Interest in information about living has been put on the back burner due to age," states Wippermann "increasingly, one's home is becoming more important as a place for personal development". It's about creating a personal image, "identity management" and living as a way of expressing "personal vision". By using natural materials, simple or organic shapes, solid wood or water in the living space, the trend "Archaic Nature" reflects our desire for the authentic. In the trend "Eco Pop", nature combines with high-tech, wellness with bio-design and "the biologically inspired" with "the digitally created". The trend "Hysteric Wonderland" transforms the home into a glamorous gallery, in which valuable one-off pieces are staged and the creative signature of the designer becomes a brand and the design an art. Finally, "Hybrid Living" expresses that smart materials and new production processes allow the creation of crystalline, interwoven, honeycomb-like and faceted structures and, as a result, new living forms.
What do we get from this? Perhaps, the barely surprising insight that, in the future. our Hysteric Wonderliving will fluctuate somewhere between nature and technology, tradition and progress, wood and plastic, the conservative and the extrovert; the perception that Professor Wippermann doesn't know the different between a lamp and a light and apparently hasn't heard much about Jaime Hayon, who he describes as an interesting young Belgian and the certain knowledge that, if it existed, the "Handbook for Minor Trend Researchers" would soon be in need of revision.
The third "stilwerk Trendstudie" has been available to download from www.stilwerk.de and is also on sale in stilwerk shops.