Li Edelkoort
Li Edelkoort
Image: Ruy Teixeira

International trend and design expert Li Edelkoort returns to South Africa next week for Design Indaba Festival 2018 and will deliver her annual distillation of how the state of the world is going to affect our lifestyle in the year ahead. We asked Li for a taste of what to expect.

“In chaotic and fearful times, humanity will naturally look for answers and find solace in its own inner circle.”

These are the somewhat apocalyptic words introducing trend expert Li Edelkoort’s newest lifestyle book, entitled “The Spiritual House”.

Speaking on the eve of her arrival in South Africa, Li affirmed that most people were feeling afraid and bruised by the effects of a destabilised world and this mood was influencing design and lifestyle trends.

With the rise of the right wing to global warming as well as the threat of civil wars and the widening of the wealth gap, she believes that the way of life that many of us know is going to undergo some major shifts in the coming months.

In The Spiritual House, Li outlines the trends that will emerge in this new era: As travel becomes more difficult, our homes are going to become unassailable sanctuaries. Family, friends and animals will be our primary source of comfort.

Three years ago, Li pronounced boldly that fashion had lost touch with the world and was at a standstill. Now she sees pockets of change that could revive fashion, with a culture of sharing, made to measure industries and ecological awareness bringing a fresh, new mood to fashion.

However, she fears that effect of technology on the design industry in general and the effect of a “labourless” society is going to have a very negative impact.
“We need a hybrid between Silicone Valley and the Hudson Valley where high tech and handcraft can work together to create a made to pleasure solution.”

She warns against taking all innovation “as a gift” and says it’s important to “vote for humans” every step of the way.

“We all need to become activists and organise humanitarian enterprises,” says Li.

Some of the design trends that Li will expand upon in her talk include:

  • The expression of contrasting forces in interiors, such as light and dark; minimal and tribal
  • Concentrated design as opposed to minimalism
  • Generous furnishing
  • Shared spaces
  • Floral patterns
  • Material collisions where contrast is good

Li’s trend forecast is not all doom and gloom, although the time frame is a touch disconcerting: “I’m very hopeful. We will go through a rough period but by 2050 we will have turned around entirely.”

This year’s seminar will be held in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, at Johannesburg’s LISOF: Fashion Design School & Retail Education Institute on 19 February 2018 and Cape Town’s Artscape Theatre Centre on Saturday 24 February 2018 respectively.

Tickets are available from webtickets, and cost R715 per person.

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