Trend Reversal Or Splintering In Choice Of Design

13 Mar 2015

Will the architectural forms of the near future become increasingly baroque, even gothic? There are some interesting cultural trends running counter to the contemporary surge of minimalism and modernist form.

At least there are in social sub cultures at the fringes of design. Over time, trends in design have swung from one extreme to the other.


 Trend Reversal Or Splintering In Choice Of Design


Steam Punk Diesel Punk Gothic Baroque

Given that today’s counter-culture trends, the outsiders and outliers, are composed of such ornate styles as the so-called steam punk movement, which calls upon the gothic and baroque eras of the past. It would appear that there is plenty of potential for such groupings to become the mainstream and therefore moving the trends away from the clean minimalistic lines of modernism.


Splintering Rather Than Shifting

There is another school of thought that, rather than uniformly following one trend, the styles and designs of the near future are likely to see a radiating array of diversity, clustering around individual sets of social influences and values. From this perspective the option of ornate neo-gothic is but one of many options.

Trends of subcultures following unique trajectories are nothing new. The American anthropologist Alvin Toffler wrote of such emergent groupings in his early seventies best selling book Future Shock. The fragmented state of design is a natural outcome of the fragmentation of society.

As the boundaries of space become less important, subculture members, who may be dispersed globally, can still have close connections through social media. The clustering of subcultures based on aesthetic taste and values opens wide in the digital age.


Many Forms Of Opportunity In Design

Some clients may wish to have extremely ornate structures that reflect elaborate steam punk and diesel punk influences. As the tools of construction become more versatile they support the imaginations of architects and the whims of enthusiastic clientele, the adherents to diverse brands of global tribalism.

For those who crave the ability to present both integrity and creative originality this fractured diversity presents the possibility of authentic design that is original. It becomes to be true to the visions and values to which they ascribe and provides a justification for architects to forge their own paths through the built environment.


Makers Movement 3D Printed Buildings And Design Styles As Yet Unseen

So unique designs enabled by digital rendering and 3D printing technology supports the ability to use 3D printing facilitates much more complex, bespoke design choices. Digital design can produce complex shapes and it is up to architects to select those forms that can be fabricated economically.

Clients will look to architects to draw from their cultural influences as inspiration for unique designs. This will become more popular as affluence increases and the cost to design and build bespoke forms drops. The landscape of residential design will increasingly reflect the subcultures.

Does this mean that social groups within subcultures will increasingly cluster in local geographic groups? I suspect not; the digital connection is without location and, with affluence, people can gather regionally and globally with little trouble. For architects such groups represent opportunity to find a tribe that is responsive and which will celebrate the originality of stylish design.

Staff Contribution | Thought Leadership

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