Research VI – Library

I found some very interesting books in the library and also an unexpected one, the Tibetan rugs that are very inspiring. I looked for books that talked about pattern, different layout styles, natural fabrics and colour. They are also full of references about different designer that I looked for.

My favourite book is ‘The Power of Pattern’ by Susanna Salk. it is very contemporary with different designers and design companies references and it has a very useful table of contents where it divides patterns by style.

Research V – Animals and Natural Habitat

Giant Ibis – Thaumatibis gigantea

As described by IUCN, the giant ibis lives alone, in pairs or small parties. Their natural habitat occur in marshes, pools, wide rivers and seasonal water-meadows. They prefer predominantly deciduous (that loses its leaves in autumn and grows new ones in the spring) dipterocarp lowland forest, although it seems to be dependent on soft mud around seasonal pools (trapaengs). It also nests in these trees, in fact studies show that around 90% of nesting trees are common deciduous dipterocarp species and females almost always lay two eggs per clutch in the wet season (IUCN). Based on my research I decided to associate the giant ibis with the dipterocarpus tree and its seeds, that also represents part of its diet among  invertebrates, crustaceans, eels, small amphibians and reptiles. I will experiment sketching it both with foliage and without. I especially like its winding branches that gives a more dramatic look in the winter.

Ibis natural habitat.jpg

Hawksbill TurtleEretmochelys imbricata

Hawksbill Turtles are found mainly in tropical oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. They eat mainly sponges by using their narrow pointed beaks to extract them from crevices on the reef, but also eat sea anemones and jellyfish. I decided to associate the sea sponge with my sea turtle since it is the main element of its natural habitat and main food. There is a vast amount of sea sponges, generally colorful and with interesting shapes that I believe will integrate my turtle pattern very well.

Hawksbill Turtle Natural Habitat

Sumatran TigerPanthera tigris sumatrae

The Sumatran tiger is only found in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Its natural habitat comprises evergreen tropical forests, freshwater swamp forests and peat swamps. Since its habitat is varied I decided to investigate further through the Unesco website that has a detailed article about the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra. I instantly fell in love with one of the typical Sumatran plants, the Cyrtostachys renda endemic in Sumatra, Borneo, Malaya and Thailand. It grows in the lowland swamp forests, especially in coastal areas. It has a bright red stem in opposition of the natural greens of its leaves. It is a tropical plant, topic that designers have focused on a lot these years. However this plant is not very well known and I believe it would fit very well within my original collection considering that I intend to keep part of its aspect as they are, while turn others into a more abstract aesthetics.

Sumatran Tiger and Habitat

Bee

There are around 20.00 species of bees but not even 2% of these are honey bees and bumble bees. The remaining 98% are solitary bees. Some have a different aspect than the ‘normal’ black and orange coloured that we are used to identify as bees. There are around 270 species recorded in UK only. On the first days of sun this spring I went for bee hunting around Cardiff and luckily I found a few to inspire my sketches. They were buzzing around these beautiful winter blooming Camellias which I have never noticed before. It attracted me the evergreen foliage of this very tall tree full of pink/red flowers especially in February when most of the trees are still naked.

Bee and habitat.jpg

Research Part IV – Primary and Secondary

For the nature of my theme, I am limited in my primary research due to the rarity of the species I intend to bring together for my final collection.

There is the possibility for a closure with some of these animals such as the Sumatran Tiger within the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), however I am personally against captivity for whatever reason. I consider most Zoos to have a hypocritical attitude today, when they bring up the comfortable excuse of “conservational” reasons for endangered species when it comes to justify their caged choices. According to several articles such as Euronews and BBC, two critically endangered Tigers were killed in captivity this February within a week, the second one in the London Zoo. Criticism from Wildlife Organisations arrived immediately. Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, Dr Chris Draper claimed that “Both tragic incidents demonstrate just how unnatural captivity is for these wild animals,”  and that “They are denied the opportunity to choose their mates, have no control over their environment, and are unable to escape conflict.”

I intend to use mainly the WWF and IUCN database and archive as well as the Smithsonian one which I find to be the more detailed and updated and also rich in imagery of all animal species and their natural habitat.

We also have a very good imagery database in University, the Bridgeman Education.

 

MoodBoards

My Moodboard is the result of the research I have been doing regarding my theme and the layout of my designs. It represents the critically endangered animals I decided to focus on and the nature they live in, where the man has trespassed, contributing with deforestation, to the extinction of these and thousands of other species. Even though my focus is even among the 5 species, the Giant Ibis, Hawksbill Turtle, Primates, Honeybee and the Sumatran Tiger, I decided to highlight only one, the tiger, in order for my moodboard not to get too busy but mainly to be almost surprised when discovering the other animals while watching the board more closely. This is the feel I also want to give through my designs. I have researched into several designers, illustrators and companies and found some designs that better reflect the nature and animals in a damask inspired layout.

Mood Board 2

My Colourboard reflects the concepts I have been reading about in WGSN through several reports. As explained in my previous blog regarding WGSN I have been looking at it from a totally different perspective than I did until last term. While it has been mostly about colours and a certain theme, this time I went way deeper, trying to get to the core of the why of certain colours and themes. I discovered how a growing number of people are more inclined now to look at sustainability in many different ways, regarding fabric but also colour. Neutral and earthy colours means less artificial pigments while digital is preferred to screen printing because more environmental friendly. A few reports talk about inclusiveness and how seasons are overlapping. Cool colours flow into summer while brights in winter. Brights are not only for teenagers anymore while gender neutral colours are becoming more requested, reflecting the society we live in. Transseasonal is another important terminology that keeps popping up in different reports. All this has brought me to chose a colour palette that reflects nature, neutrals and gender neutral tones for a transseasonal look with a touch of red and orange bright. Something that might appeal to both women and men, both for Summer 20 and winter 20/21. Black has also aquired a more natural and worm tone, in fact total black it is really hard to find in nature and while using it in all of my previous collection I felt it needed refinement. White has been also part of all my previous collections while now I have decided to worm it up with some orange, the same as the black. I also liked the idea of the Nature facing Humanity.

Colour Board.jpg

The Clientboard represents my client which is both male and female over 30 years old with a bold and sophisticated aesthetics. They are professionals who own their homes, therefore are willing to spend more in order to decorate it with own taste reflecting their personality. They love to travel and being in contact with nature. They bring their laptops everywhere they go, to never miss the chance to enjoy their surroundings while keeping up to date with their work.

Client Board.jpg

My competitors design for the luxury market, mainly interior such as the Timorous Beasties and Kit Miles but also fashion like Matthew Williamson and Christian Lacroix:

Competitior

Research Part III – WGSN

Wgsn has been a fresh and new perspective at looking at things. In my first year I hardly knew about its existence while in my second years I felt more forced than educated of the importance of trends. I was seeing them as somebody who chooses what colour and outfit or fabric is trending and the majority follows. In reality it is the contrary. Trend companies such as Wgsn try, through their multiple reports, to go more in depth and understand why and what leads to a certain shopping behavior. I found this long journey through many of these reports very interesting.  Some people might look at one or two reports to take inspirations from. My goal was to understand the mind set behind  people’s decisions in buying or not buying something as well as for the choice behind the colours, as a whole.

STATEMENT: I based the idea and design process of my collection based on these reports in symbioses with my own personal style. People are eager for products that have a meaningful purpose and connect emotionally. Transseasonality is one of the ways for use of products across different seasons and not just limited to one, there are fabric and colour considerations that I have taken for this, from light to thicker fabrics and a mix of colours that range from SS20 to AW20/21. Toxicity of water brings consumers and therefore designers to rethink the design process, one of the reasons I chose to digitally print my entire collection. Colour becomes inclusive for different age range. Tactile softness of fabrics and warmth of colour is part the inclusivness that is becoming so important. I therefore chose my darkest colours such as the black from a very dark  mustard, while my fabrics as well as my wallpapers are silk soft to the touch. Nature will be a key statement, and ‘new animal families‘ will increase appeal. Quilting and cushioning will become key for the research of the ‘nesting’ sensation where confort is the priority. In fact:

Global Colour S/S 20 Action points:

  • Everything from soft oranges to pale mint greens will cross the gender divide in 2020. Keep an open mind when planning your seasonal ranges.
  • Oranges and yellows have been gaining ground for the past few seasons, but in S/S 20 they will move beyond the youth market and hit mass appeal.
  • Get ready for an inter-generational explosion of colour, it’s time to rethink the rules and use colour in unexpected ways.
  • Warm, sunny colours will always have a strong pull in summer, but we will also see cool, almost clinical blues and greens emerge in 2020

Big Ideas S/S 20: Colour:

  • The days of brights being for youth consumers, or pastels being for women, are over. It’s time to take a more inclusive approach to colour
  • Sustainability Matters The conversation around sustainability is growing louder, and will be a key element of brand success in 2020 and beyond. Currently, one fifth of the world’s water pollution is a direct result of industrial textile dying processes, so colour is a major part of the conversation. by 2020, the global number of people allergic to chemicals will grow to 60%.
  • our has always been used as a tool of self expression, and even more so in the age of social media feeds

The Vision 2020, Part 1: Empower Up!:

  • Consumers are demanding more purpose beyond products and services from businesses

The Message 2020, Part 1: Fix the Future:

  • in 2020, we will embrace the importance of new voices, inter-generational perspectives, and a world where our emotional needs cannot be fulfilled by a smartphone.
  • People will move away from tired marketing, traditional corporate structures, and mass consumption.
  • People will fix what’s broken, instead of breaking what’s working.

Lifestyle & Interiors Global Colour A/W 20/21:

  • Make palettes transseasonal: include typically summer hues in winter collections, and vice versa, to create designs that are more flexible, and less tied to a particular season.

Materials Trend Concepts A/W 20/21: Women, Men & Interiors:

  • Build tactile softness into design: challenge taste perceptions with joyful lumpy and squeezed forms, and create homely comfort through padded tactility.

Europe Colour Trend Concepts A/W 20/21:

  • Nature will be a key inspiration: as concern around sustainability becomes more urgent, colour will have a role to play – either through shades that offer a connection with nature, or through neutrals with transseasonal appeal, or through colours that can be produced with less harm to the planet
  • Experiment with accent brights: create excitement with a considered use of bold brights.

Lifestyle & Interiors Trend Concepts A/W 20/21: Considered Comfort:

Soft materials and rounded forms emphasise cosiness and play into themes of self-care, warmth and comfort for homes and lifestyle spaces

  • Quilting and cushioning will come to the fore in A/W 20/21 with brands exploring and developing products that provide a safe, cocooned, nesting sensation.
  • Comfort is the priority, with rounded shapes and exaggerated plump forms creating a sense of warmth and fluidity

Research Part II – Damask and Artists

The V&A has a large collection of damask motifs. What I love about it is that besides finished patterns, it also holds a big amount of work in progress sketches that can give me a better idea about how single elements are placed into creating the intricate and sophisticated look of the damask layout. I realized that a vast amount of these designs belong to Scottish artist Joseph Neil Paton while finished designs, to William Morris, which then I have also decided to investigate further. William Morris is also one of the designers that deeply inspired the Timorous Beasties which became my main source of inspiration since my second years. They also inspired artists like Kit Miles which has detailed drawing elements from nature, both flora and fauna that are sophisticated and high end, also relevant to my design collection.

Pinterest is another source of inspiration, it gathers both traditional Damask layouts but also designs from latest artists with their unique approach to it:

Timorous Beasties are the one I look up to the most. They are ironic, bold in design and colour with sophisticated patterns. They design for the high end market and are inspired by nature and whatever surrounds them. The way they play with neutrals and colours creates a very intricate layout that is powerful even in designs with low number of motifs due to the high details of their hand drawn motifs:

Kit Miles is another designer that is inspired by nature and also architecture. He is renowned for his dynamic use of colour and hand drawn imagery. He did his internship with the Timorous Beasties and designs for luxury interiors. I admire him for the bold use of colour in combination with the use of neutral and his hand drawn motifs and also for the combination of organic and geometrical elements:

Mattew Williamson is a British fashion, lifestyle and interior designe known for his use of bold, colourful and carefully constructed designs. I love how effective his designs are from the most sophisticated to the most simple ones:

Christian Lacroix is mainly a fashion designer but he is also an interior designer and print is key for all his collections. His style is opulent and infused with bold colours and a tropical and fantasy patterns:

Fernanda Sternieri is a brazilian surface designer. Her style is very busy and colourful and I like the use she does of it with dark backgrounds:

Cole & Son is a high aspiration for me to be able to work for one day. It groups some of the most talented designers such as the ones I mentioned before:

Research Part I – Critically Endangered Species

My previous research led me to the most well known National Geographic and especially WWF where I started to learn about the distinction between the risk level of different animal species. This led me to learn about the IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species where all the other organisations take most of their data from and it is also the main source for journals and articles. Established in 1964, is now “the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plan species” (IUCN). According to its data, “more than 26.500 species are threatened with extinction” which represents more than 27% of all assessed species and considering that there are still a big number of unknown species that we were not able to locate because of the location of their habitat, deep in the amazonian forests or in deep waters.

As my research shows there is an exorbitant number of animals at risk, however due to the time and outcome of my brief I decided to chose a limited number of animals representing different territories and species. These species are among those that have an important ecological, symbolic and often spiritual value.

Sumatran Tiger

It only lives in the Island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, this species counts less than 400 tigers and its population is decreasing due to deforestation and rampant poaching. Tiger bones are still largely used in Chinese medicine with the consent of its government. Its presence represents an important indicator for biodiversity where all the other species, including humans, benefit from.

London Zoo's Annual Animal Stocktake

Hawksbill Turtle

Lives in tropical oceans, mostly in coral reefs. it is hunted for its highly valuable “tortoiseshell” that is being sold in markets and it is also accidentally killed by fishing gear or trapped in nets. According to WWF “They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds”.

SCR_290360hawskbill-why-matter-LG

Giant Ibis

Its population decreased to less than 200 and going, due to human disturbance and hunting. It can reach one meter in size and it is Cambodia’s national bird, the last country where its population mainly resides. Already extinct in Thailand, it has only been sighted in Vietnam and Laos close to Cambodia’s borders.

giant_ibis_thaumatibis_gigantea

Honeybee. In regard to bees, they are not directly critically endangered as a whole however there is an alarming decine in their number in short time. Several hundreds of species are already considered extincted while others have become Vulnerable or Endangered. According to the World Bee Project “The significant decline of honey bee and other pollinator populations threatens food security, biodiversity and ecosystems, with drastic consequences for the human race and the planet”.

329px-Pollinationn

Orangutans and Cross River Gorillas. Primates are considered very important, without their seed dispersal, hundreds or plants and trees would become extinct threatening the life of other species.

Orangutans share 96.4% of our genes and are highly intelligent. They live in tropical forests and are considered the “gardeners” of the forest, they play a vital role in seed dispersal. Gorillas are the largest living primates. They are found in central Africa counting around 200-300 individuals. They are mainly threatened by deforestation, hunting and illegal trading.

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I have come across various articles about scientific debates on the most relevant species for the survival of the human species across sources like The Guardian and The Telegraph. This gave me a further in depth knowledge of the importance of the biodiversity in its complete cycle where some of the most relevant aspects are not immediately visible, however it could have devastating consequence if there was for even one of these species to become extincted. Like the organs in our body, every single animal, from the biggest (blue whale) to the smallest plancton, insect or bacteria, has its purpose.

Case History: One of the historical disasters known as the “Four Pests Campaign” introduced in China between 1958-1962 by Mao Zedong was a hygiene action aimed to eradicate the pests responsible of pestilence and disease. Mosquitoes, flies, rodents and sparrows were targeted not only by the government but also by the population. Especially sparrows were targeted as considered among the main causes of agriculture damage because of their diet of seeds and fruit. As a result of the “Kill Sparrows Campaign”, ended with the death of around 3.000.000 birds, pushing the species near to extinction. This led to an ecological imbalance with a rise in bug population and consequent destruction of crop, resulting in being one of the main causes of the Great Chinese Famine in 1961 where around 25-40 million people died of starvation.

There are many other organisations who’s mission is to create awareness and protect endangered animals or animals subjected to inhumane conditions: World Animal Protection, Fauna & Flora, Conservation International, Edge and Conservation Evidence that gives important indications based on studies or other evidence, among others.