It didn’t exactly happen overnight, but design has gotten cleaner and brighter, at least here in New York. The New York Times has a piece that looks at this shift and features one of the Hand & Eye’s favorite design studios, Bower.
Not only has this cleaner design aesthetic been on display at places like Sight Unseen Offsite, but we’ve heard it from some of the makers here on the site. Taavo Somer from Friends & Family reflected on his view about the direction of design in this post. “I’m trying to be in the present, and not look at the 90's or anything, just look forward,” he says. You can see it in his work.
And same with Jim Morgan from Tall Cotton Supply, who provides the materials to designers of all kinds. “Cleaner surfaces never would have sold five years ago. Everyone wanted an old surface with the original patina. I’ve really been happy seeing people use clean milled surfaces, “ he says in this post.
Design is of course always evolving. My sense (and I’m sure it’s not my original idea) is that the throwback vintage/salvage look of the 2000's was a a reaction to the unease after 9/11. That aesthetic was a result of our search for comfort, and we found it through a nostalgia for the past.
Luckily, we’ve mostly shaken that off, at least in the design community, and today design really is brighter, cleaner and more forward thinking. In another word, optimistic.