Designing Smarter Textiles

Recently I was asked about the integration of electronics into carpets and textiles and what my ideas are to bring this inevitable merger together.

That got me thinking… Is it inevitable?

“Should we be designing smart textiles or should we be designing textiles smarter?”

Yes the Internet of things sees us all being ever more connected, phones are now wearable, your shoes can now talk to your smartphone. There will certainly be a continuation of miniaturisation, automation and personalisation that will make our digital lives seamless. But does it necessarily follow that everything will become smart?

Perhaps the true value of soft furnishings is comfort and style and a release from all things technological?

Anthropology cannot be separated from your future trend mapping. We have to plan textiles that will enrich people’s lives. Textiles need to respond to basic human needs before they can change the TV channel, and lets not forget that good health is a human need. Do we really want to plan a society that is full of lazy, gadget-dependent couch potatoes?

Textiles need to be pure, recyclable, ethically produced and beautiful. Once we master that we can soften the digital world by wrapping it in our woolly luxury.

I’m all for better homes and workplaces and better technology. Safety is a brilliant place to innovate new textiles that will monitor people and their habitats. Ultimately textiles are about comfort; from bearskins in our caves to sheepskin rugs by our curved screen TV’s.

Yes there is a trend to digitise life, but its one trend that responds to a sub-set of human needs. There are many trends that ignore digitisation. I’m not saying we shouldn’t develop smarter fabrics, I’m just saying we should always ask why.

The favourite chair in my house is in a room with no TV.  The furnishings in this space are about escape, switching off, comfort and colour.  Its a space for real human interaction.

Perhaps the smart way to design textiles is to keep them dumb?

 

Desso phillips carpet

Desso use transparent carpet which allows LED’s to shine through.

 

The Style Gallery

As always we have to make it easy for people to fall in love with our products.
Today we have launched the Style Gallery to showcase the very best products that are created with the very best wool.

The Gallery includes products by Crucial Trading who are the latest brand to come on board with Laneve.

It’s a visual experience so the least said the better…

Just take a look at THE STYLE GALLERY

Crucial Trading Laneve

Kyoto in Laneve Wool by Crucial Trading

Designing Success

Designing Success

Organisations that thrive plan and design for repeated successful product launches.

The reason companies like Samsung, Apple and Phillips continue to pump out amazing products and profits is because they have a culture of design that is embedded into the way they do business. And it is because the products are more than just beautifully designed objects, rather the products are just part of a total experience of buying and owning a brilliantly thought out experience.

Doing business is not just making a product and hoping for sales. These companies set about designing an experience with their brand. The physical product is just part of the total experience that is a portal to the total enjoyment of being part of something special.

Imagine the iPhone without a great website, stores with experts to help you, an iTunes store to download songs and millions of apps. Without these things you still have a wonderful object, but fundamentally it is just a telephone.

Apple have thought about the total experience of buying and owning an apple device, even the packaging is part of the carefully designed experience. If your phone breaks then the way you get it fixed is also not just an after-thought. And if you think Apple sometimes miss a few features that is also deliberate, hence the long queue lining up to buy the next version. If you give away all the tricks in version 1 then nobody needs to buy version 2.

Design Success does not need just apply to mobile phones. The ethos of being design-led and focused on innovation can be applied to any product or service, even carpet.

With Laneve we are working to build a total experience with New Zealand wool carpet. We could sell wool to spinners and stop there, but that would only be doing part of the job.

We think about who can make Laneve, we build websites to explain the process, we created a network of 280 Premier Partner stores to sell the products, and after the product is installed we created a process for customers to find out which farm grew their wool. We are not finished yet, we are only in version 1.0

Below is the Innovation process in info-graphic form. It applies to everything.

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