Natural light: The next wellness obsession

The summer design graduation shows are always a good bellwether for future trends. It’s this generation of designers who will be creating our world in the near-future, so to see their work now, is to see ahead to how all of our homes and products might soon look and feel.

A tour of this summer’s grad shows reveals one particular obsession: health and wellness. The class of 2017 are clearly feeling the effects of the Age of Anxiety – and their solution? Natural light. This year’s shows deliver light therapy in spades – from whole concept spaces designed around light to refined tabletop projectors and lamps that help to boost wellness. Here are five of the best.

Kotaro Abe

The sunlight seeker: Kotaro Abe

Royal College of Art Design Interactions graduate Kotaro Abe showed the results of We Want More Sunlight, a project that saw him chasing natural light to a parodic level. Dressed in a special uniform, monogrammed with the word “sunlight”, Abe went in search of light – even taking an oversized magnifying glass to the park to try and harness sunlight to cook an egg. He also took an extended “holiday from sunlight”, staying inside his room and avoiding all contact with natural light to see what effect that would have.

Daria Jelonek

The concept space: Daria Jelonek

Royal College of Art Information Experience Design graduate Daria Jelonek showed Technological Nature, a series of experiences (a film, virtual reality experience and audiovisual installation) that investigate how natural phenomena could enter everyday life: so that you could, for example, encounter a rainbow in your shower, the Northern Lights in your fridge, or observe the sunset from an artificial window. “The project results from my experience of living with objects that artificially imitate natural light phenomenon – such as artificial sun clocks, rainbow machines and aurora machines – for a period of six months, in order to explore their nature,” says Jelonek.

Leslie Nooteboom

The thoughtful tech: Leslie Nooteboom

Graduating from the RCA’s Innovation Design Engineering course, Leslie Nooteboom‘s project Komorebi is named after the effect of sunlight dappling through leaves. In response to the belief that these days “lighting has become so artificial that there is no sense of day, time or place any more”, Nooteboom designed a tabletop projector that can be programmed to change the shape of light and its location. It connects to a platform where people can upload their own specific ‘light experiences’ to be recreated through the projector.

Lena Saleh

The calming object: Lena Saleh

Central Saint Martins’ Material Futures graduate Lena Saleh showed Future Sleep, a series of mindful objects to help users sleep better and more deeply – including a soothing light therapy lamp.

The big data lamp: Sofia Souidi

RCA Design Products graduate Sofia Souidi showed Gradient, a tabletop aluminium light that uses meteorological data to change the light it projects over the course of a day. With 90% of our daily routines happening indoors, Souidi reasons, we need objects and experiences that connect us to the outside; that re-ground our body in light, time and nature. Gradient projects a parallelogram of light that changes in intensity, shade and shape throughout the day, so that people can tune themselves to natural light for time-telling (and time-feeling) purposes once again.

For more on lighting for wellness, WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors subscribers can read our full trend report, Restful Lighting.


Like this post? Want to read more about wellness trends? Check out this post on wellness retreats.



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