“The focus in the future is on sharing rather than just owning”

Q: What are we going to see more of and less of?

More: Betterness Not More, but Better” will be our motto over the next decade. It has been around for some time now ­– but being aware of your consumption and its impact on our planet and our wellbeing will be a hot topic influencing all areas of our life in the future.

Less: Showing off status and material wealth by flashing soulless designer icons – all bought because “I can afford them”, rather than because “I took time to carefully select them”.

Q: What are the major megatrends?

* Smaller but Better:
* ‘WE’ Culture and Collaboration:
* Hyper Local and The Real Thing:

Q: How do these changes influence consumer behaviour and the wat we want to live and organise ourselves?

Habitat: Smaller but Better
Energy-efficient smaller spaces,with a greater focus on sustainability, will be our preferred choice of home. We might have two habitats – a ‘smart flat’ city dwelling and a ‘back to basics’ leisure home close to nature to recover and rejuvenate.

Possessions: ‘We’ Culture & Collaboration
The focus in the future is on sharing rather than just owning. Collaborative communities and hubs – where people share facilities, tools, objects and ideas – is already a key trend among early adopters. Collaborative Consumption includes shared or ‘pooled’ cars, bicycles, workspaces and even our homes. Airbnb is a great example of people sharing by renting out everything from a room to the whole space, and in the future we will see many similar concepts.

Cuture: Hyper Local and The Real Thing
Trading on unique culture and heritage is vital in a globalised world flooded with cheap goods and more of the same. Now we seek out ‘The Real Thing’ – via storytelling and reinvented domestic and cultural rituals – happily weaving it into our own personal narrative. Locally made and locally traded will reach ‘must have’ status, while craftsmanship and a sustainable philosophy move firmly into focus for us all.

Q: What is the most sought trend?

Hyper Local and The Real Thing: In a digital world, authentic experiences and a ‘Human Touch’ will grow exponentially in value (see above)

Q: What has the greatest influence on past and upcoming trends?

The Internet has had a huge impact on our lives and will influence us even more in the future. Already we shop, socialise, work, pay bills and bank on the Internet – we even do health diagnostics online before we visit the doctor. Smart Apps help us run a more efficient, streamlined life – be it holiday planning, home buying or making lifestyle decisions, we base them on internet research. Social sites, such as Pinterest, have become a great sourcebook and forum for planning and dreaming about how we’d like to live life now and in the in the future.

Q: Which companies, designers, etc. are or will be great? What are they doing well?

The correct answer to the first question would be worth its weight in gold! But I don’t want to point in one direction, as I personally think we have lost the value of individuality. We certainly have longstanding good design traditions in Denmark, but the drawback of living in the shadow of an old master is that expectations can be like a ‘clammy hand’ over the next generation of designers. Perhaps the biggest opportunity here is to challenge why good design should be expensive, and explore a redefinition of ‘great design’, looking at segments other than the luxury market. Businesses must dare to take risks and come up with new models – also understanding that the 4P bottom-line, where People, Planet and Pleasure (as in wellbeing and meaning) must be balanced with the product’s price. Using these parameters, you tell me which companies are currently doing this well? I am afraid that I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Q: What should designers, shops, hotels, etc. Do to approach us consumers in the right way?

I think they should focus on ‘the real thing’ and stories we can rely on. People are tired of consumer culture and current and future housing trends for smaller homes and living spaces make it more important to focus on quality rather than quantity. Pioneering small hotels, such as Juvet Landscape Hotel, are based on this very simple concept that smaller is better. Designers need to understand what is happening and be in contact with the sub-culture that drives new trends to understand the value of local versus global appeal. Active participation with social media is a must – designers, stores and hotels that demonstrate the ability to innovate and respond to open dialogue will win. The future is already here, we just need to learn how to tap into it and invest in the long term.

Interview: Questions by Karin Gråbaek for RUM, October 2012, Denmark (DK) >>

The Kjaer Global ‘Real Thing’ Inspiration Checklist

Authentic Experiences
* Hveravellir, beautiful, extreme and inspiring geothermal experience
* Kaffeslabberas, true ‘designer originals’ from the Granny Knitting Club
* Coffee Culture Fuglen Oslo, antithesis of the soulless coffee chain

Less is More
* Hytta Trend >>
* The Tree Hotel in Harads >>
* Cykelmageren, hand-crafted bicycles >>
* The Icelandic Experience >>
* Nordic Noir >>

Food and Hotel Experiences
* Fäviken Magasinet, Magnus Nilsson’s authentic Arctic cuisine >>
* Kex Hostel, Reykjavik, back to basics with style >>
* Juvet Landscape Hotel, making the view the real star >>
* Million Donkey Hotel, interactive, aware and ‘real’ tourism >>

Images
1) Hveravellir geothermal experience
2) The Tree Hotel in Harads
3) Magnus Nilsson’s Fur Coat
4) Magnus Nilsson’s Authentic Arctic Cuisine
5) The Icelandic Experience
6) Kex Hostel, Reykjavik
7) Million Donkey Hotel

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