Surface & Material Directions

Introducing SS 2021: Factory

In our SS 2021 design direction Factory, we predicted that an appreciation for the crafted and artisan would expand to the less romantic, but equally rigorous, disciplines of factory production.

Considered and durable, materials and surfaces reflect practise, process and the production line.

From this forecast, first published in MIX Magazine issue 56 and examined in more detail in our SS 2021 CMF forecast, we're sharing two of the key material and surface focused Factory directions.


In repeat

With a focus on regularity, the repetitious nature of the production line is translated into a visual reference. Complex and precise, surfaces mimic a machine-made aesthetic.



Self-designed and low-fi machinery inform the design process in the ‘Pressed’ series by Studio Floris Wubben. Utilising a fabricated 'pressing machine,' stoneware is slowly and consistently worked through to create distinctly extruded objects. These unique and repetitious grooves emphasise production and process.



In Sophie Rowley’s Khadi Frays textile series, the repetitive action of conventional hand-weaving is reversed. Instead of building up a flat material, thread by thread, the woven fabric becomes the starting point. In a time consuming process of deconstruction, over 10,000 threads are patiently removed one by one, to reveal meticulous frayed layers of the remaining warp or weft.



Often assumed to be created by 3D printing or CNC machinery, the Herringbone Stone Blend Vase by Phil Cuttance belies low-fi and man-made with meticulous hand crafting. Custom patterns are projected onto pliable flat plastic and scored and folded into 3D moulds before being casted with a gradated blend of jesmonite and crushed stone to create ombre effects.


Concertina and Corrugate 

Cylindrical tubes and piping inspire as surfaces are defined by the repetition of deep folds or ridges. Through concertina and corrugation; durability, strength and resilience become key design features.



Buxkin’s textile products are made from recycled and natural materials from the packaging industry. The industrial manufacturing process sees waste leather, paper, wool and plant-based felts ground and transformed into new surfaces with defined ribbed and corrugated structure for architectural interiors.



Waste cardboard is broken down and turned into a pulp base material for furniture and sculptural objects by Domingos Tótora. The corrugated appearance of the Kraft bench is achieved by assembling layered sheets of Tótora’s cardboard composite; a careful and labour-intensive process of hand moulding, drying, shaping and finishing. 



The Concertina collection of furniture and lighting by Huw Evans is fabricated by methodically processing timber. Systematic cutting of the material produces a versatile and resilient quality as the wood can be moved in multiple directions.



Inspired by the delicate fibres found in oak wood, the Eik rug by Norwegian Volver Studios alternates depths of hand-tufted ridges and creases for a corrugated effect. Made from 100% New Zealand wool, honest design disciplines play out in the use of single materials.


More insight...

More material, surface and pattern directions for Factory are featured in our SS 2021 CMF forecast.

The trend and colour forecasts in MIX Magazine are developed with an in-depth exploration of materials and application in our bi-annual CMF forecast.
Both publications are included in Colour Hive membership. Each forecast features material palettes and concepts illustrated with more than 250 fully credited directional images.

Become a Colour Hive member today


Image credits from top:

MIX Images © Colour Hive | MIX Images © Colour Hive | Studio Floris Wubben | Sophie Rowley | Phil Cuttance | Heleen Sintobin | MIX Images © Colour Hive | Materials by Buxkin | Domingos Tótora | Huw Evans | Volver Studio | photo by Trine Hisdale