Sustainability is the New Luxury

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In autumn of 2019, Dubai unveiled the biggest 3D printed two-story home. Although it’s not the first, it’s the largest in the world so far (640 square meters) and holds a place in the Guinness book of records. Dubai is known to be a city of superlatives – the biggest, the tallest, the longest – but a 3D printed house was an unexpected feat for them. This just shows that house and building designs are taking a turn from superlatives to something else – sustainable, biofabricated, automated.

Sustainability is a new luxury, it’s not a trend anymore. It’s here to stay. And from here on forward, this will be the foundation on which architecture and design will be built. 

Vernacular Architecture

Local. Local. Local. People are not shying away from using locally sourced materials or taking inspiration from what’s surrounding them. The TECLA, a 3D printed habitat in Italy that is ongoing construction, used locally sourced clay to build. The result is a cross between neolithic and futuristic, something that we’ve certainly seen in movies before.

Photo: Teleca 3D House

The S House in Vietnam seems to be traditional looking at first, but also very practical, sustainable, modern, and best of all, cheap. Using steel, nipa palm panels, bamboo, corrugated cement board – it comes around $4,000 per unit (30 sqm). And it’s not just home designs, even furniture designs are derived from the surroundings. Australian architect and designer Ameé Allsop created a furniture collection called Pure Minimalist. She was inspired by the clean colours of the beach in the Hamptons where she is a resident. And this is only the beginning. 

Photo: The S House in Vietnam

The Great Indoors aka Biophilic Design

Yes, that’s correct, the great indoors, not outdoors. Biophilic design is taking on a bigger scale this year, but indoors. Sure, we’ve seen vertical gardens and green walls, but this year, it’s going to be more than just that. We will see indoor and outdoor spaces that are going to blend, usage of materials such as rope, raffia, twine, rattan, etc. It was even the number one highlight of the London Design Festival 2020.

Photo: Altrock Terrazzo

Mixed Metals

Is the Industrial design making a comeback? No, but, a few elements of the Industrial design are making it to 2020. Were talking about mixed metals, matte brass, recycled steel, matte steel, and copper. Imagine warehouses, factories, abandoned parking garages, being turned into residences and apartment buildings. Not to mention the shipping container house concept that’s taking the world by storm. This also brings us to the granny pods that Los Angeles hopes to solve the housing crisis. 

Upcycling Fever

It’s a no-brainer, when you think of design concepts and up-cycling will be up there, especially when the whole world is all about saving the earth. Altrock, which is a terrazzo made from marble waste, is produced with 87% recycled materials. And the end product is nothing short of pretty. Nova Scotia-based JD Composites built a three-bedroom home using 600,000 plastic water bottles. Ferrock is also going to be in production, and this material is made from different materials including steel dust and the great thing about this is it’s carbon neutral. Cork, which was used to build furniture as well, is also going to be one of the future favourites when building houses. It’s fire-resistant and water-resistant, doesn’t rot and could also be noise cancelling. 

Japanese Influence

Just this month, Ogata Paris welcomed its first customers. Albeit housed in a 17th-century building, inside you will feel transported to Japan. Expect to see more of this aesthetic. Michelle Lamb from Trend Curve adds, “Natural materials, used in simple forms, reinforce a feeling of purity that is at the core of this style.” There will be lots of angular styles, origami fold patterns, and wood-charring techniques. Wood has already made a comeback, add in some Japanese architecture and you’re good to go. 

Biofabrication and Biomason

These might be heavy words, not even recognized by the dictionaries yet. But true enough, this will be happening in the next few months. Biofabrication is growing materials and substances with the use of living microorganisms. It is still in development, they dream of making raw materials out of thin air. They do have sample products of textiles made from microbes and the possibilities are endless. Imagine home textiles that are biofabricated. This is also the same as bioMason, growing cement and other building materials from living microorganisms. These innovations make us think outside of traditional fabrication methods, which is an answer to the earth’s dwindling supply. 

Large Splash of colour and a lot of Geometry

Warm and neutral hues will still be apparent, but there’s nothing like a colour block on a wall, or a large scale artwork (think graffiti). The move towards modernization of the 1920’s architecture will include the usage of this year’s color – neo mint. There’s also a renewed love for geometric prints and geometric architecture. 

Close your eyes and think of all of these home building design concepts and put them all together. It’s not difficult to see, most of them are overlapping. Bare metal (made of recycled steel, etc) showing as support for geometric wall design, infused with a vertical garden, with wooden accents – this might be in front of your home someday. And what you’re imagining now is the new decade. 

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