I've been thinking a lot about the past decade. The time between 1996, the dot-com and economic boom to now. Not so much about war and the big political shifts that seem to be an endless distraction and tireless drain of radar, but the smaller manifestations in things like aesthetic sensibilities and style shifts.
The antiseptic, minimalist sensibility that arose from the mid to late 90s was cool. tech and aloof. The stability and abundance made it easy to theatrically stage an ordered version of reality that showed no signs of a struggle or fear of disruption.
Fast forward to today. These are messy times of conflict. Visions of future have been replaced by limited visibility and an uncertain outlook . Life is having its sweet, sweet revenge. Chaos and entropy are in the house.
Life, interestingly enough, is one of the most pervasive of themes at large, It goes way beyond the simple embrace of more organic forms to the actual use of floral patterns and animals and insect imagery. It is present in graphic design, fashion and textile applications.
Magazine spreads featuring com temporary interior design in the 90s always reminded me of lounges in a space stations. They were tightly controlled spaces devoid of clutter and the mess of life. The reaction against this sterility celebrates rich textures of forms and association that go beyond creating a visual language of increased complexity. The use of floral patterns and animal imagery gives one the impression that the designs created are seething with life.
Installation by Ryan McGiness.
CD sleeve. Kam Tang.
Samsonite. Product and window display.
Industrial and furniture design has also embraced the resonance of life in the use of wood (often the raw use of logs and sticks) as well as animal forms and parts like antlers and bone.
USB Flash Drive by OOOM.
Antler Chandelier. Jason Miller.
"Go Find a Branch" coat rack. Dash Macdonald.
Saint-Ssprit Stool. Philippe Starck.