Spring 2020

CnTFactory’s Trend Report

Top 5 colour and trim trends

The CnTFactory team hunts for innovations and new materials in fields such as architecture, fashion, design and lifestyle, and identifies forthcoming trends for the automotive design community.
CnTFactory is now bringing its expertise to Interior Motives: here are its top five colour and trim trends, plus highlights from the 2020 digital Geneva motor show.

The return of warm neutrals

Grey tones are giving way to warm neutrals. Terracotta, rust and saturated beiges are making their way back into the design world with their warm softness, subtle strength and a substantial reminiscence about our heritage. These colours carry an undertone of sustainability and appreciation of nature. New shades of warm neutrals radiate quality and longevity. The darker tones are not only associated with heavy, thick and solid materials such as leather, metal and canvas, but also with flowing elements.

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Moulded leather

Some brands have it in their core DNA to steadily strive for new standards of contemporary craftsmanship, such as seen on the 2019 Bentley Flying Spur doors fitted with textured leather upholstery, crafted in three dimensions. The door panels are finished in an incredible tactile three-dimensional diamond-shaped leather – inspired by the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car from 2015, which featured wood panelling with the same pattern.
French still life photographer Charles Helleu in collaboration with design studio Studiofoam reuses Haute Couture leather wastes to be thermoformed into decorative shapes as backdrops for his photo subjects [see gallery below}. The process is ingeniously simple: collect leather waste, boil the leather, then thermoform it before drying.

Building the concept

Natural botanical dyes

Nike used botanical dyes for its AirMax95. These dyes are extracted from food waste and natural resources, such as plants, fruits and vegetables. Their impact on the environment is minimal as there are no toxic chemicals and colourants applied in the process. They also use less water and are biodegradable. Botanical dyes can help transform the way colourants are used in products towards a more responsible system of production and consumption, without compromising on creative access to  rich hues and beautiful tones.
Pangaia, a materials science company that produces sustainable clothing has launched a core collection of t-shirts, brought to life by seven colours: cobalt blue, saffron yellow, flamingo pink, persimmon orange, celestial blue, orchid purple and jade green. The company’s dyeing process is designed to reduce water consumption through steady recycling and filtering of textile effluents.

Seamless embedding of technology

Technology catalysers like miniaturisation and IoT (Internet of Things) accelerate the integration of embedded smart technologies into textile materials and those materials are being used to enhance the user interface (UI) in vehicles. UIs enter the world of colour and trim design. Smart materials enhance the visual, haptic and olfactory experience with technological interaction.

The power of light

Previously relegated as a tool to highlight a feature or specific shape, designers are now incorporating light into their designs. It is a powerful element in design, adding dimension, mood and ambiance. Technology catalysers like miniaturisation and IoT (Internet of Things) accelerate the integration of embedded smart technologies into textile materials. UIs (User Interfaces) enter the world of colour and trim design. Smart materials enhance the visual, haptic and olfactory experience with technological interaction. More lighting trends on CDN.

Geneva digital motor show

The Polestar Precept concept is definitely standing out among the recent concepts for its strong and relevant eco-friendly and sustainable material content.
The use of Bcomp's powerRibs, a flax-based composite, on interior panels and seat backs offers significant improvements over conventional materials, including up to 50% saving in weight and up to 80% reduction of plastic waste. Inspired by the vein structures of leaves, the powerRibs™ form a 3D structure on the back of a panel to drastically increase both strength and stiffness of the panels. As a result, it can be built thinner while retaining the same structural integrity compare to traditional materials.

The seat surfaces are in 3D knit materials made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Bolsters and headrests are executed in recycled cork vinyl, while carpets are made from reclaimed fishing nets. These elements, combined with digital artistry, define a new premium luxury that surpasses the conventions of leather, wood and chrome. Another clever innovation on the Precept concept is Bcomp’s AmpliTex material, which is made from woven flax fibres. These fibres are a key enabler in dampening vibrations by 250% as well as reducing weight, all while retaining visual interest on the surfaces. The fibres are processed mechanically as opposed to chemically, and the flax itself is less taxing on soil than other crops. More on the Precept on CDN.

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Colour trend – yellow

The past few years have seen a dominance of various shades of green. This year the colour trend is shifting to yellow hues, from dark gold to warmer sunset tones. Yellow has always been seen as a sporty and dynamic colour on cars. We are now witnessing a resurgence of yellow tones on both production and concept cars, on exteriors and interiors alike, in full colours and in accents. This colour range is bright and fresh looking, and is perceived as energetic, becoming hi-tech when shifted to neon yellow.

Fiat 500 Giorgio Armani – exterior etching

Timeless tailoring and sustainability combined with laser technology – this is how Armani wished to shape the metal covering of the car's bodywork (and eventually etching it) with exclusive micro-chevron engraving, bringing it as close as possible to the three dimensions of a fabric. The result is further enhanced by an Armani grey-green paint is finished in a “silk effect" colour.

Seat embellishments

Car companies are always looking for ways to add visual interest to their interiors. One way of doing so is to use co-branded collaborations to embellish seats with exquisitely executed details. This type of creative solution is increasingly common not just on luxury cars, but also on mass-market vehicles. It is an efficient practice for brands to add value, raise perceived quality, and create strong brand recognition. The gallery below includes examples from BMW Concept i4, DS Aero Sport Lounge Concept, Fiat 500 Giorgio Armani and the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar.

For more trend reports, visit https://www.cardesignnews.com/interiors