Material Trends for Navigating the Pandemic / #4: Return to Imagination

July 13, 2020
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In this 4-week series, “Material Trends for Navigating the Pandemic,” our team of designers are sharing four new materials and finishes trends brought on by COVID-19, paired with ideas to breakthrough and solutions to bring these possibilities to life. 

Trend #4: Return to Imagination

Consumers will exit this experience with a new appreciation for environments that unapologetically give us wonder, optimism, and curiosity in response to feeling overwhelmed with constant information and analysis during a global pandemic. People will be looking for personality, humor, and even a bit of whimsy. This trend breaks molds and puts us in a new portal of creativity. Think if a little bit of Rococo and the 1970s meets surreal digital reality.

It will use color, texture, lighting, graphics, and silhouette to celebrate the parts of life we’ve all missed while sheltering in place, with an eye on our evolving virtual connectedness. There is no room for one-dimensional approaches – the more personality and theatrics, the more engagement.

Spaces will amplify and respond to a new appreciation for public life with hyper-embellished and indulgent saturation of color mixed with spirited and playful metallics and soft pastels. Think moody and unearthly lighting, glossy and mirrored materials refracting and blurring reality, layering of textures with contrasting scales, and the play of opacity and transparencies. Expect whimsical environments, unconventional varieties of colors and materials, and a tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s okay to have fun here.


Look & Feel

How to Activate

1. Layer in different materiality to window displays and merchandising. Play with a distinct pattern, reflectivity, and different scales of texture.

2. Enhance your lighting to be more theatrical. Swap out the traditional lights with color-changing LEDs (on exteriors or a surprise moment in-store) and accent with interactive projections.

  • Vertigo Systems Interactive Projections help surprise and delight
  • Martin LED Color Changing Lights are a simple way to set the mood
  • Flex Mirror Combines video imaging and mirror, which turns reality into a new dimension

3. Graphics are a simple, quick, and impactful way to transform a space.

  • Flavor Paper Wallcovering is a quick and inexpensive way to inject pattern and color into your space
  • Graphic Image Flooring Custom graphic LVT is a cost-efficient and durable way to add fun bold patterns to the floor
  • LED Neon Flex Flexible LED neon offers maximum versatility for graphics and signs with countless features

4. Think about your spatial layout as more wandering than precise and tight. Organic can still be functional and will inject a sense of exploration.

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