Ambiente 2020: ‘Radical Escape’ and 4 Sister Trends

Ambiente 2020: ‘Radical Escape’ and 4 Sister Trends
Courtesy of Ambiente

February—In a fast-paced world, there’s a need to shut out the world, according to one of five trends featured at Ambiente 2020. For the eighth consecutive year, the consumer goods trade fair has teamed up with bachelor students in the Trend Research & Concept Creation in Lifestyle program at the Fontys University of Applied Science in the Netherlands to present “The Future Thinkers.” 

Backed by data-driven research, trend watching students at the university took visitors of the fair on a guided tour to highlight the products that fall in this year’s trends.


“Interwoven is about plants, animals, and humans getting reconnected,” says Sanne Aalbers, the fourth-year student who coached the team of five second-year students. “In order to create long-term value, we must adapt and restore the destroyed balance to our environment.” 

Materials falling into this category, according to the team, are organic and natural, recycled or recyclable, while tones lean towards the earthy or green.

Products by Halinh Rattan & Bamboo, for example, are handmade with natural and sustainable materials such as seagrass, rattan, bamboo and cotton rope.

Courtesy of Halinh Rattan and Bamboo Co

Radical Escape

“We live in a world full of media and you get to know everything, even if you don’t want to know it,” Aalbers comments on the group’s second trend. “‘Radical Escape’ offers us a safe space for ourselves.”

Landing in this category is what she calls “shielding materials”—metals or strong fabrics in soothing warm early tones.

A material board representing ‘Radical Escape.’ Photo courtesy of Fontys University of Applied Science.

Representing ‘Radical Escape’, Versatile Vagabond by Shanmei Yao is a modular clothing and bag system that distributes possessions over the body in pockets. The system is a solution to today’s rigid and often nonsensical carry on requirements, such as those that require items in one large bag versus dispersed over two small bags.

Photo courtesy of Shanmei Yao

Unchain the Rebel

“As children, we were more likely to get away with breaking the rules, whereas as adults we feel trapped more than ever,” says Aalbers on the group’s third trend, ’Unchain the Rebel.’ “This trend is about releasing that child from convention and having fun again.” 

The team sees bold colors, strong contrast, colorful patterns and a certain dynamic playfulness included in this category.

Representing ‘Unchain the Rebel,” the Familie Hempel collection of furnishings by Marie Radke is designed with a messy room in mind. Each piece in the collection—a pouf, a bench, and bar stool—provides a spot to store clothing.

Photo courtesy of Marie Radke.

Human Mimicry

Can technology take on the soft, comforting, and warm feeling of human touch?  

“‘Human Mimicry’ shows that there is a movement to make technology feel more human in order to make up for the lack of actual human connection,” Aalbers explains. 

This fourth trend examines whether solutions for humanity’s loss of human connection could actually work. 

“Compression Cradle,” a hugging machine by Lucy McRae that aims to prepare a user for a future without human touch. Photo by Scottie Cameron.

Bypass the System

The group’s last trend is a commentary on taking back control of personal data.

“These days it’s nearly impossible to disconnect from the online world—whether it’s through security cameras, friends or family on social media, or a thermos connected via an app to a supplier,” Aalbers comments. 

Products that deal with reflecting or transparency fall in this category, best represented by metal, glass, or acrylic.

The upcycled glass products by Chako Zanzibar, for example, are made from used glass bottles found on the island Zanzibar, Tanzania. The bottles are cleaned, cut by hand, made smooth and assembled into lamps, candle lights, drinking glasses and jars.

Courtesy of Chako Zanzibar

With the trend research and trend book, the group behind “The Future Thinkers” aims to offer a starting point for the development of useful new products and services.

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