As an antidote to everyday mundane stresses and pressures, we are finding release in regression, replacing highbrow pursuits with honest and innocent play and reverting to childlike experimentation and inquiry.
Our increasingly urban environments are witnessing a transformation as shared city spaces are reinvented as convivial play spaces both literally and metaphorically.
The city is no longer a drab grey industrial landscape of concrete, metal and motors, redolent of utility and business. Instead it is a vibrant, energetic, constantly evolving entity – a sensory landscape that is inspiring a refreshed playful approach across design categories from visual communication to fashion and interiors.
Designers are rediscovering the creative and intellectual value of play, remembering that the act of play is itself a learning experience and route to creation. We are seeing a reappreciation for playfulness and happy accidents as designers embrace naive experimentation in their practice. Bold and defiant designs of product, space, visual communication and fashion are injected with a sense of humour.
Return of the Memphis Group aesthetic
The Memphis Group’s aesthetic is experiencing a renaissance, reinterpreted in alternative scales and applications. Monochrome patterns are juxtaposed with block brights in geometric and irregular configurations.
Stereotypical spaces and product designs are adopting saturated colour palettes and abstract forms that challenge us to invent and imagine, to draw up our own narratives and lose ourselves in simple intuitive interaction.
Described as a ‘temple of wonder’, Camille Walala’s Now Gallery installation is a labyrinth of colour and pattern, encouraging visitors to “be more aware of their bodies, engage their minds and give themselves over to play”.
In honour of Centre Pompidou’s 40th anniversary, surrealist designer studio GGSV has created a fantastical interactive playground. The Paris-based duo took inspiration from the likes of René Magritte, Ettore Sottsass and Gaetano Pesce to design Galerie Party, a garden of distorted forms at exaggerated scales, with prints and colours that bombard the senses.
The multitude of playscape elements invites assembly and reconfiguration, suggesting multiple composition possibilities and highlighting the role of play in self-expression.
The pieces in avant-garde designer Henrik Vibskov’s spring/summer 2018 collection are adorned with cartoonish motifs. Knit jacquards depict ambiguous caricatured creatures and facial features while a neutral peach palette is punctuated by flashes of bright primaries.
In graphic design, illustration and packaging, clashing brights are applied in stripes, spots and abstract shapes that jigsaw across surfaces. Plasticised finishes and spot gloss varnishes are applied to flat graphics and figurative forms take a surrealist lilt.