Surface and Design Directions

Introducing SS 2021: Alice

Alice, for all its bright colours and dream-like images is rooted in anxiety and the need for distraction. We allude to dark fantasies, hallucinogenics and the hyper-real in an expression of our desire to escape by disappearing down the rabbit hole.

Immersive, maximalist and surreal; the aesthetic of Alice is expressed in a highly frenetic and psychedelic material palette.

The following material and surface directions are explored in more detail in our SS 2021 CMF forecast.


Material concept: Weird nature

Finding design inspiration in the dark and often bizarre genetics of nature.



Ceramics feel otherworldly in hybrid forms. The unnerving yet intriguing appeal of Gemma Wilson’s spiked, and protruded designs mirrors Alice’s narrative of dark fantasy.



Bringing together almost 1,000 images of flowers, Ellen Pearson analyses the visual semiotics in a book. Fed into a neural network, the images are used to generate new, machine-made depictions in her project A Rose is a Rose is a Rose.


In context: Glow in the dark

Optical illusions, UV treatments and perception-play inform sensory and immersive experiences.

Functioning as almost-blacksBlack Forest and Nightshade are cut through by intensely vibrant brights, replicating a glow in the dark effect.



Bathing the viewer in light and sound, teamLab’s experiential installation, A Forest Where Gods Live digitizes nature. Using digital tech, interactive UV lighting in botanical patterns is projected onto rocks and caves.



Regine Schumann’s site specific installation in Brussels replicated this glow in the dark aesthetic with acrylic boxes featuring live edges in fluorescent colours under ultraviolet light.



Work with material and colour?


Building on the design directions first published in MIX Magazine, our bi-annual CMF forecast features concepts, and colour and material palettes illustrated with more than 250 fully credited images.

Both publications are included in Colour Hive membership. Members can access our full forecasts including the CMF forecast for SS 2022 and design directions for AW 2022/23, out now.

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Image credits from top:

© Colour Hive | MIX Images © Colour Hive | Gemma Wilson | Ellen Pearson Photo: Iris Rijskamp | MIX Images © Colour Hive | © Colour Hive | teamLab | Regine Schumann Photo: Joost Vanhaerents