Category Archives: 15. ROLE PLAYING

Certain aesthetics represent deliberate departures from what is typically seen as a mainstream stylistic expression. In fact, it’s as if the rebellious practitioners of these counter-cultural aesthetics are trying to explore the visual ecosystem of a completely different lifestyle. They are role-playing for a world few of the general public live in. When hip-hop emerged as an alternate lifestyle in the 1980s, it had its own sound, clothes, accessories, cars, graphics, and even language. Similarly, when someone flips open a Wallpaper magazine to some uber-modern interior bedroom with one bed, stark wood angular panels, and a single lightbulb, overlooking a vast expanse of tropical ocean, it is similarly completely foreign to the aesthetic environment surrounding the general public. This category hints at those unique lifestyles, with trends that portray new ways to look at the world.


It’s hard to invent a new aesthetic. That’s probably why it happens so infrequently. However, that did not stop a young Milanese (Ettore Sottsass) and a small group of other European designers from giving it a real shot. In 1981, their Memphis aesthetic debuted at the Salone del Mobile furniture...

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Designers in the Premium/Luxury categories have always striven to differentiate their work from the great unwashed teaming masses of regular consumer products. In trying to communicate “I am better than you”, products in these categories have relied on such design levers as length (stretched limousines), height (top hats and rooftop...

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Some aesthetic themes arise purely as a counterpoint to an established visual mode. For decades, we’ve surrounded ourselves with increasingly polished, seamless, perfect objects; from smartphones to automobiles, the stylistic vector has been ever towards shiny, sleek, rational, and technological. Made by machines, with all hints of an artisanal human...

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The BioTech trend evolved as structural and material technologies began to intersect directly with the human form. Instead of considering tools as being externally operated by the human body, this aesthetic mode seeks to harmonize technology with the human form, creating a symbiotic relationship that is present in footwear, body-worn...

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American culture has long been fascinated with war…lucky for us that their regular occurrence keeps the aesthetic of combat ever in the spotlight. From the colorful regalia of  The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper album, to the black-ops look of Jay Z’s Roca Wear, pop culture has appropriated the visual elements of...

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Often, designers are asked to provide glimpses of what the future will hold. Throughout the evolution of the design industry over the last century, designers have always reached for visions of the future to inspire the products of today. We act as aesthetic change agents, taking the phrase “Fake it...

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