Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Final Fantasy

Collyn and I have finally finished our Fantasy article, which explores a new cultural movement we think will change design, culture and branding. The article is out in Wallpaper*'s March issue.

Here's a few snippets from the final draft:

We are looking for more magic, mystery and fantasy in our lives and design is finding its new mission to provide it. Designers are bored with reality. Function has been perfected as far as it can. As designer-cum-artist Jaime Hayon says, 'Fantasy is a very important component of design. I don't believe it's enough for a product to be of good quality, it must also have a narrative. The narrative takes you to another world.'

In the emerging Fantasy Age, storytelling is the new currency and the role of design, technology and culture will be to make our fantasy worlds a reality...

'We live in a fantasy world and we need to make products to fill it,' says Rolf Jensen, author of the Dream Society and one of the protagonists of this movement. 'Fantasy products may never materialise in the real world. It could be robot milk, a computer game or a concept car. The product is a by-product of a fantasy.'

The idea is not to create a fantasy brand, but to invent a fantasy world through which a brand can tell its story. The architects of our imaginations, the Eric Cloughs, Steven Spielbergs and JK Rowlings, will have an integral role to play in this new era of fantasy branding.

Dan Hon, CEO of Six to Start, a cross-platform entertainment and augmented reality game (ARG) company agrees with this theory. 'Harry Potter is a great example. It's JK's [Rowling] story. But in her world there are some amazing sweets and a company out there has thought – let's actually make these sweets. It's making fantasy a reality.'...

The commercial age has gone as far as it can. In the Fantasy Age, where we trade in stories and dreams, customers and creatives will be defined by their imaginations. 'People are ready for wonderful, special things,' says Hayon. 'In this era, the industry can do anything you want. What the technology can't give you is fantasy, and that's where the designer comes in.'

Images from top: D&G's fashion fantasy is an homage to the Queen, one of our most enigmatic icons; Robot milk, one of the early Fantasy products on the market; Interior architect Eric Clough has designed an apartment that invites its inhabitants to live out a mystery in their own home. 'Mystery on 5th', as it has come to be known, is designed as a kind of sophisticated scavenger hunt, embedded with riddles, ciphers and furniture with hidden compartments; Tim Walker brings nature indoors, tapping into the Fantasy aesthetics of menageries and aristocrats.

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