‚The future is urban’ that’s this year‘s motto. What is the concept behind the Theme Park?
Effectively we are exploring the global phenomenon of the migration of populations from rural to urban environments, specifically the startling fact that by the end of this century almost all of us will be living in cities. Urban migration could be the most important change that mankind faces and our urban future will shape how we design the environment around us.
We have been exploring this theme for a number of months now, because the statistics released by global organisations such as the United Nations were so mind-boggling and it is a discussion many different parties, across multiple sectors seem to be broaching. We have also been mapping how the design and creative community have been inspired by this issue, tackling the challenges posed by our urban future head-on. Rather than approach this major global trend on a macro level and discuss the relevance to architecture and urban planning we wanted to take a more human-centred approach, to explore how our increasingly urban future will impact the spaces in which we live, work, consume, play and socialise. For example we are looking at responding to our changing lifestyles and the need to design for smaller spaces and more nomadic lifestyles. We are exploring how we can design our urban spaces to enable us to live healthier and happier, and the role technology can play in this, as well as where materials and resources of the future city will come from and how we can make the urban environment more sustainable.
Could you explain how this year’s Theme Park is structured in detail?
The book and exhibition are divided into two sections, lifestyle trends and design and colour trends. The lifestyle trends explore how our urban future will shape the spaces in which we live, work, shop and socialise through four Future Space drivers – The Flexible Space, The Healthy Space, The Re-Made Space and The Maker Space – while the design and colour trends explore the emerging textile and interior design directions influenced by our urban lifestyles. The exhibition reflects this structure, composed of a series of ‘pavillions’ or installations. At the centre of the exhibition is a curated selection of the Heimtextil exhibitors’ fabrics. The exhibition forms a key role in that many visitors use it as a central starting point and as a navigation source to help them decide which exhibitors they are interested to visit and therefore which booths and halls they will go to.
Which trends do you think will be important in 2018/19?
How our interior spaces with enhance our physical and mental wellbeing is a continuing key trend for 2018/19 and beyond. For example we are creating a specially commissioned ‘Colour Experience Space’ exploring how technology and colour can impact our physical state, specifically using colour to relax and recharge the visitor. Within this space we have designed a very soft, deep foam floor and asked visitors to take their shoes off on entry. This will help them to be really transported and give themselves over to the experience. We are also designing a living, breathing ‘Green Workspace’ building on research that suggests even one plant in the workplace can dramatically improve focus and productivity. As well as immersing themselves in a huge office-cum-conservatory, visitors will be invited to take a session with a ‘plant diagnosis’ expert who will listen to their specific requirements and advise on the best plant for their workspace.