The Reinterpretation category is all about manipulating a single visual attribute to achieve something both familiar and fresh at the same time. In this instance, Material Reinterpretation generally maintains all aspects of an iconic object’s form, proportions, and surfacing, but introduces a completely new material or production process to the design. As with all trends in the Reinterpretation category, the user is presented with an immediately familiar object, to which they bring a set of life-long associations with that design. However, the new material presents those associations in a new light that reframes the entire meaning behind the design, which is a form of disruptive thought that, like jokes or magic tricks, is especially appealing to our brains. This visual theme has been growing in popularity over the last decade, particularly in the housewares, furniture, and fashion categories. Material Reinterpretation is frequently associated with premium or modern urban/boutique aesthetics that seek to reinvigorate stale, older icons with an ironic and playful new twist. But beyond tongue-in-cheek stylistic irony, this trend has the capacity to fuel real innovation, such as BMW’s fabric car, GINA. I remember the day it was conceived at BMW’s Designworks facility: the designer said two words, “Fabric… Car…” and that was all it took to launch an incredibly rich conceptual design program. Its an easy exercise to dive into this aesthetic mode: “Inflatable + Couch”, “Metal + Ice Cubes”, “Naugahyde + Televisions”…and off you go.

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  1. Ali@Ali says:

    do any materials work with this trend? does it depend on the type products you are making?

    • AWOLtrends says:

      Hi Ali-
      It all depends on the context: for example “fabric + car” is a great disruptive combination, while “granite + car” is immediately problematic. The choice of icon and material should work in harmony to highlight the unique potential of each. It’s also highly dependent on product category: few products in the Consumer Electronics or Automotive categories could accept a Bamboo reinterpretation, but those in Furniture or Housewares might.
      -AWOL Trends

  2. Lee Xiang says:

    This is definitely a powerful trend to influence design. It be applied to any type of industry or product types.

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