Futurist, author and founder of trends consultancy Next Big Thing, William Higham gazes into his crystal ball to tell us what kitchens and bathrooms you’re going to want next year – and why.
After years of looking back to the traditions of the past, we’re starting to get excited about the future again. It’s no wonder, as yesterday’s science fiction is becoming today’s reality, from smart watches and hoverboards to mind control and robots. Plus we’re turning all Galactic thanks to the plucky spacecraft Rosetta, Philae and Orion, the grouchy new Dr Who, and films like ‘Interstellar’, ‘Gravity’ and the ‘Star Wars’ re-boot. Some of you are even feeling more confident about yourfinancial futures.
This will drive a space-age look and feel in the kitchen. Colours will mimic style-heavy space films like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and ‘Moon’– glossy whites, understated metallics and sorbet brights. But designs and materials will be more ‘Alien’– futuristic industrial, filament lights, reflective materials, distressed steel and glossy granite. The emphasis will be on leanness and subtlety, after all, there’s no room in a spaceship for anything that’s not functional. And for those still hooked on Retro styles, try that space-age 1950s look.
Sci-Fi will impact gadgets too, as the Smart Home finally becomes a reality. Interactive touch-screen worktops will guide you through new recipes in real-time. Apps will enable you to start the washing machine from work. The Internet Of Things will let your kitchen gadgets chat to each other – and even post updates on Facebook (no, really). Future-thinking will also combine with practicality to drive an uptake in adaptive, hybrid and modular units.
Another device that might have seemed Science Fiction a few years ago is the 3D printer. With its ability to make food in any shape and size we want (toy-shaped vegetables for the kids, anyone?), a home-size version’s likely to take pride of place on next year’s Christmas lists. It certainly ties in with the growing Maker Movement and the return of ‘artisanry’. High-end video cameras might move into the kitchen too, as the drive to show off our culinary creations on social media shifts from static words and pictures to do-it-yourself cookery videos.
Things take a different turn in the bathroom. Here it’s less about embracing technology, more about escaping it. We may be giddy for tech and wedded to our gadgets, but their complexity and ubiquity can also bring anxiety and stress. And when we yearn to escape – to take a Digital Detox – what better place to do so than the bathroom?
It’s all about the bath, so make that as big and as comfortable as possible. Other than that, the world’s your oyster. Whatever one’s escapist preference, the fantasy bathroom can indulge it. Some will enjoy re-creating the natural world – be it Moroccan souks or Preppy coastal retreats – mixing whites and earth tones, natural and traditional materials. Others will seek the imaginary worlds of fairy tales and witchcraft, amid plush fabrics, antique accessories, gilt and marbling, and purples, reds and Pantone’s colour of 2015, the luxurious ‘Marsala’. And this time it’s just about escaping the outside world, not about escaping other people, so put a mismatched chair or two in there too to encourage company – or let your partner share that big bath with you.
As it’s the 21st Century, of course, escapism’s not limited to physical decor. We’re so in love with our gadgets, we’ll even use them to help us escape from technology. Want to limit your time on Facebook? There’s an app for that. Escape reality by changing the lighting, scents, sounds and colours in your bathroom? There are apps for that too.