Feeling nostalgic for the bygone Goldrush days, the K&A team headed west to Dwell on Design (Dwell) in Los Angeles, California. The Dwell show featured thousands of products and hundreds of programs on three separate soundstages, focusing on innovative, marketable designs in urban construction, modern design and green living.
K&A hosted several client Industrial Design representatives at this annual “incubation lab” event, where we conducted extensive research on popular trends and emerging themes. From small desk accessories to full size cargo containers reclaimed as new age living spaces… the opportunities at the show were rich for exploring dramatic new fabrications and innovative solutions. The forum provided our client brands with a detailed environment from which to “blue-sky” product development ideas amid break-through introductions from around the globe. One theme in a particular semblance-of-harmony we’re titling: “Surface Solutions,” representing significant new approaches to outward facing layers and facades that interact most intimately with our human audiences.
Stikwood is a midrange price “peel and stick” wood planking overlay for surfaces such as walls, ceilings and countertops which is finished with AirPure: a non-toxic, formaldehyde free natural plant oil. One of the main promotional draws of Stikwood is its ease of application, particularly impressive in an industry dominated by high costs and complicated installation methods. The result is a highly textured surface rendered with an old world craftsmanship appearance in a cost-effective solution. In addition to the unique attributes of the product itself, we were naturally impressed with the brand’s go-to-market strategy, led by robust social media engagement.
Finium’s Friendlywall follows a similar path of simplified installation in wood-planked-skin walls. The pieces of Friendlywall fit together, much akin to a room-sized jigsaw puzzle. Interlocking pieces can be chained together across a wall or even an entire room. The Canada based company stresses eco-friendly products and consumer accessibility as its major selling points.
Giving new meaning to a bun-warmer? Galanter & Jones is a California based design and fabrication studio that is family run and operated, specializing in heated outdoor seating. Their newest product pictured here is the Helios Lounge, featuring a plug-in bench with a heated surface and adjustable temperature controls. We recognize that the heart of the home is now the backyard and as such, homeowners desire to enjoy their outdoor living rooms throughout the changing seasons. This innovative product complements this trend while featuring an ergonomic design that radiates heat outwards, designed to warm one’s entire body. Unexpected, is how incredibly energy efficient these “hot” seats really are.
Like accessories for the “little black dress” in the fashion world, so too can cabinetry be updated with entire new looks. Who would have thought that cost-conscious Ikea cabinets could be improved? Semihandmade cabinet doors – which ships its doors across the country and plans to set up shop soon in Ikea — offers an affordable solution to dress up Ikea cabinets to look like fine crafted, high quality custom cabinetry at a fraction of the cost. The best of both worlds… cost effective boxes and frames with doors designed to express your own design priorities. I wonder if Swatch Watches ever thought about introducing a cabinet line with mood compatible, swap-able doors?
The importance of innovations like these at Dwell on Design is that they not only represent emerging aesthetic trends in the market; but perhaps as important, environmentalism and affordability. Each highlight here represents a major shift towards eco-friendly and sustainability-orientated crafting methods –with an emphasis on the surface and its relationship to dwellers. I’m convinced we’ll continue to see momentum in this arena for home and building products for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned!