Materials: Be ready for pretty good design
Plexwood is a wood-based surfacing panel composed of end grain and grain veneers, which are glued crosswise, creating a distinctive linear structure 
A very engaged commercial interior designer recently told me while discussing a certified CEU training project: “Don’t just tell me what the trends are. Tell me why they are.”
Design trends (or currents, waves, movements, directions…depending on who’s talking) are anything but linear. “Retro” colors and patterns are given new meaning when realized in modern materials; changing values are forcing us to rethink terms like “value” and “authenticity;” and new thinking on sustainability goes way beyond the simplicity of, “Is it recyclable?”
The next generations of interior and product designers want their materials to come with a great story, about the visuals, of course, but also about the resources involved in obtaining raw materials and manufacturing them into the components they’ll actually specify. They want their pretty to also be good for the planet.
These issues come up increasingly when I do projects like the Materials Pavilion I put together for Architect & Design specifiers to explore and experience materials on their own terms. In the eight years since its founding the Materials Pavilion installation at NeoCon in Chicago has become the busiest exhibit at the fair.  
At the 2019 Executive Briefing Conference, I’ll be discussing the latest macro directions in design and materials gleaned from interviews at this year’s major furniture and material fairs in Germany and Milan, ideas shared by design students and educators, and some unfiltered opinions from working commercial designers who are always looking for fresh ideas from our industry. 
Running April 14-16 at the San Jose Marriott, the 2019 EBC provides strategic and practical information that addresses manufacturing challenges and a forum for discovery. This year's event includes an increased emphasis on materials and their role in production platform decisions, and I am delighted to be a part of that conversation.  For 15 years EBC has made its mark helping executives anticipate business opportunities, beat the challenges that lie ahead and will ignite and inspire attendees to create change when they return home. 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user kennbusch
About the author
Kenn Busch

Material Intelligence organizes educational material exhibits like the Materials Pavilion at NeoCon, creates and presents certified educational content on materials and sustainability for architects and interior designers, and collaborates with design educators and students to nurture new thinking about materials and materiality. Founder Kenn Busch also covers the major materials and design fairs in Europe for the A&D and manufacturing communities, and presents at industry conferences like the Closets Conference and Expo and the Executive Briefing Conference.