Summer 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 for the coming months and some predictions based on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Precious upcycled plastics

As great of a material as plastics are, their accumulation and fragmentation is increasingly seen as a complex pollutant found in our environment and bodies. Difficult to recycle, we appreciate the rise of environmental awareness to drive creative recycling solutions globally. Beyond just the environmental aspect, the story behind the product and its up-cycled premium valorization has become quite prominent lately. Waste valorization is the process of reusing, recycling or composting waste materials and converting them into more useful products including materials, chemicals, fuels or other sources of energy.

Designers are looking for diverse techniques and effects to implement discarded plastics into their products. 
Inspired by nature, the example of Plasticiet with its mother of pearl effect are offering striking executions at a rarely attained-before level of visual premium-ness using recycled plastics. 
We also see more companies joining forces and co-developing products like the up-cycled phone cases designed by Kvadrat and Samsung. 
These are just a few examples adding momentum to the upcycling trend.

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Back to black

Even if black was never really gone, what we are seeing is a strong resurgence in black executions but not quite as we know it. The new direction brings with it a much softer side and an extra premium dimension to the materials. Multiple methods exist to treat and embellish these materials and the same philosophy is being applied with other raw or natural materials. Layering up black across a number of material substrates like black anodized aluminum can create a dramatic effect with a strong tactile black aesthetic, which strength of black can be calmed with matte finishes, brushed textures or painted applications. Another example is wall cladding on houses. Wood cladding isn’t a new solution however using the Yakisugi method of charring wood, especially cedar, not only add an extra weather protection, it also adds a striking premium effect to the architecture.

Building the concept

Minimalist aesthetic movement

"Light is law. It is power, force and life. Light is an energy that helps to create the world and define our experiences." Axel Vervoordt
Belgian interior designer Axel Vervoordt’s intense curiosity drives him to explore and draw inspiration from cultures around the globe. After being exposed to Eastern art and philosophy, it has become the guiding principle in his work, in particular the concept of Wabi. Developed in the twelfth century, Wabi advocates simplicity and humility, the rejection of all that is superfluous or artificial. In his extraordinary photographs from Japan and Korea to Belgium and Switzerland, Vervoordt shows the elements that inspire him: natural materials and time-worn objects that evoke the essence of Wabi. 
In his current creations Vervoordt reveals his fundamentally Oriental approach, with a neutral palette and simplicity of design in order to immediately feel the calmness in contrast to a taxing world out there. The use of Venetian plaster on walls add texture and his raw minimalist approach plays up the proportions.

Ocean inspiration

The ocean is more than ever seen by designers as an alternative source of inspiration, which is proving resourceful… We see bold concepts in which new materials are designed to help challenged environments, developed for their bio degradable qualities or simply because they offer alternative eco-friendly solutions like algae-based clothing or 3D printed objects made from algae materials. Similarly there are new form-follows-function purposefully created solutions arising like algae tiles either used as a cleaning method to purify the water from dye factories in India or by using shells from areas where invasive species like Zebra or Quagga mussels threaten local ecosystems. Often, there are additional benefits such as similar structural properties as concrete in the mussels’ tiles example.

Cadillac Lyriq

Airy minimalism, sustainability and natural patterns are the guiding motifs throughout the Cadillac Lyriq concept interior. The door decor has a gradated perforated wood pattern layered atop of aluminum that emits both sound and light.

The designers were taking cues from the interplay of sunlight and leaves overhead. In order to have as little waste during the Cadillac Lyriq

concept build process, with sustainability in mind colour and trim designers utilised the excess materials to make a one-of-a kind art piece that would flow through the centre console of the vehicle. ⁠The ‘art pieces’ are made with stacked leather scrap, bits of acrylic, and aluminum and are back-painted to glow. These were laid inside the centre console of the vehicle.

Trends and impact of pandemic

With Covid-19 interrupting global supply chains and public life a new trend gains attention: Slow fashion. Contrary to fast fashion this trend erupted as part of the slow movement, which advocates for manufacturing with respect to people, environment and animals. As such, contrasting globalized industrial fashion practices, slow fashion involves local artisans and uses eco-friendly materials, with the goal of preserving crafts and the environment and, ultimately, provide value to both consumers and producers.


Giorgio Armani has been musing on slow fashion post Covid-10. He sent an open letter to news outlet WWD in which he questioned how and when the fashion industry will rebound and what customers will then want from brands and stores. He suggests the possibility of the crisis leading to slower fashion and long-lasting designs, which he has long embraced, and to collections aligned with the seasons. A made to measure suit is ageless, as demonstrated by Charles Leclerc who is the new face of Giorgio Armani's campaign.

Sina Haegele’s thesis work depicts material transformation through nature and taking advantage of the material as a design feature. In the automotive design process natural qualities are typically suppressed in favour of thick, shiny lacquer. Transform by Sina Haegele shows unique wood veneer ripples or deformity through wood’s interaction with water.

Five considerations in fashion/product design and manufacturing gain momentum:


Transparency of supply chains, with clear declaration of the raw materials sourced and working conditions they are processed under. An important part of a sustainable business is the social and environmental responsibility. Do good and talk about it.

Offcuts (waste no more)

Reusing the leftover material after the leather or fabric was cut during the pattern-making process.

Minimising plastic use

Implementing natural and sustainable materials into products with the added brand message of environmental consciousness and the customers well-being in mind.


Multiple use cycles of materials such as the reuse of packaging materials and office supplies. Upcycling of waste materials by incorporating them in products in combination with new manufacturing techniques with the goal to aesthetically intrigue and elevate the overall appearance.

Cleanability/clean air

Antimicrobial materials that repel dirt, are easy to clean and safe to touch without passing on contamination.
Air purifying systems and materials to protect customers from pollutants and contagions. Also in combination with a comfortable room climate and breathable materials for optimal air humidity. Personal space and shelter is a top priority to customers to feel safe and stay healthy.

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