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What is a Trend?

At this time of year we tend to talk about trends for the year ahead. But what exactly is a trend and is it something we should be following?

Swati Rokade shares her thoughts on this topic.

As an architect and an interior designer, I have always had an ambivalent relationship with trends especially when it comes to style trends.

We can define trend as something in vogue, the current style - assigning it an aesthetic value.

And we can also define trend as a general direction in which something is developing or changing.

In case of the former, if we look at trend as a fad or style, it is something that reflects the current flavour, what's fashionable or popular at a certain point in time. It is a certain style that comes in vogue for a certain period.

As a person or as a designer, a style trend is not something I would consciously seek to adopt in my designs or in my lifestyle.

I believe design should be about its form, function, flowing from its concept, organically taking shape in line with the requirements and concept. And that should be its ethos.

A trend could be in the form of an added accent or a flourish. It can be about material choices. It is the additional flair which speaks to the current times. It can be reflected in the furniture choices if it works with the concept.

Trends are transient while a design should be timeless. Especially in architecture and interior design as, by the time the project is built, the latest trend may have passed by.

A good design does not follow a trend alone, a trend can play a part, but it should not be the basis for the design. The space should be designed according to the client brief, what is needed within the space, how and by whom it will be used, with a narrative or vision that holds it all together. A trend comes and goes.

Great design is timeless. It is everlasting.

Also, in following what others are doing it is possible that we may lose sight of new inspiration. In following the herd, then do we still innovate? Does it subconsciously stifle our creativity? Does it allow us to create something fresh? Design is an art. And the first rule of design, is that there are no rules.

Trends come and go. It is important to identify what works with our design and how we can implement it so that it is a value addition.

Trends need to fit within a design and not lead the design. There is no point in trying to incorporate a trend just because it is the current flavour. Implement it if it works with your design.

If we look at trends as a general direction, then these trends usually arise as a response to the social needs at a particular time.

They are often solution-oriented trends which are aligned to the current requirements of the society and pave the direction in which we need to be considering.

They are influential in the way we build our structures, and they also influence the space planning in some instances - such as the trend of hybrid spaces which is garnering momentum.

As designers we do need to align ourselves with how the society is developing and keep pace with the emerging needs and advancements.

For instance, technology has seeped into various aspects of our lives and is an integral part of how we function. I believe in the year ahead we will see a lot of emphasis on intelligent spaces that are highly functional with sensor based and/or voice activated technology.

As architects and interior designers, we need to be fully cognisant of the current needs of the society and allow our design to be a solution. Function is the basic requirement of any space. And functions are dictated by needs and requirements of the current times.