So, we are still in the early stages of another year with most of our sights firmly set on ‘smashing’ those goals (as if the goals dey follow us fight sef) outlined at the start of 2018. While on the goal smashing quest, here are some top design trends in the Nigerian built environment to watch out for in the course of the year.
Co Working Spaces
Co working has been defined as a style of work that involves a shared working environment, yet independent activity by individuals from different organizations and professions. With sometimes exorbitant rates for both standard and premium office accommodation, co-working spaces are the viable option for the small business owner and startups. Technology start-ups are raving fans. Asides from being cost effective and the flexibility of usage, other benefits include increased creativity, improved standard of work and of course, excellent networking opportunities. Daily, monthly and annual payment packages are readily available. Some co working spaces in Abuja and Lagos include Ventures Park, Civic Lab, Aiivon Co-Working Lab, Lagos Co-work, Cre8Space, Cranium One among many others. .
2018 will see the continued rise of the Transformers use of re-purposed shipping containers. Their versatility truly knows no bounds with well-appointed contemporary homes and offices being designed from these modular shipping containers. Long gone are the days when their usage was restricted to temporary gate houses, construction site offices, provision stores, etc. Available in sizes of roughly 2.4m x 6m and 2.4m x 12m, their easy deployment, structural stability, portability and turnaround remodelling time of shipping containers is steadily making them get more than a glance from local architects and designers alike.
This disruptive form of technology (think the smart phone technology) which has been described as the fourth industrial revolution is rapidly making its imprint Nigeria. An additive form of manufacturing, 3D printing is the process of creating a 3- dimensional object either from a digital or virtual file or by the process of scanning an existing object with a 3D scanner. Plastic in the form of PLA (Poly-Lactic Acid) is at present the most common ‘ink’ used. In December 2017, the Nimi Akinkugbe owned Bestman Games, distributors of the Lagos Monopoly Game launched a board game – The Bible Game: Saints and Sinners which had all its pieces 3D printed in Nigeria. Even though 3D printing is still very much in its infancy stages compared to places like Dubai (which has 3D printed buildings), expect to see more of this technology deployed in various sectors from home décor to fashion.
Smart or Automated Homes
These are residences that have systems such as lighting, air conditioning, security, audio and video entertainment, and even outdoor irrigation that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule from any room in the home as well as remotely from any location in the world from computers or mobile devices. Nowadays, the technology has grown to encompass even kitchen and utility appliances. A major benefit of home automation especially for our lighting systems is the savings on energy which in turn translates to savings in cost. Imagine your lights operating automatically on a need-to-use basis only or switching on the bedroom air conditioner from your car with a smartphone.What about operating the window blinds with a keypad? Talk about living the life!
It is safe to say that black is now officially the new white. Never mind that Dulux’s 2018 colour of the year is Heartwood(a shade of pink tending towards lavender).Hitherto forbidden on walls in these parts due to its strong association with mourning, in recent years, black has made a quite a splash and bold entrance on both exterior and interior walls as local designers have learnt to embrace the forbidden and mysterious qualities inherent in this colour. It is also gaining popularity due to its ability to evoke strong emotions and of course, not forgetting that it is also the colour of sophistication, sexiness (think of the little black dress) and luxury.
Geometric Metal Furniture
Metal has made a huge comeback in furniture design, but this time in pared down, slimmer and simple geometric forms, worlds apart from the organic and winding patterns which articulated themselves in wrought iron in the years past. The geometric contemporary metal furniture is as much art as being functional and common combinations include metal & glass or metal & wood. Popular pieces include coffee and console tables, side stools and bar stools
House plants and gardens
It’s back to the basics for most Nigerians if the renewed interest in gardening is anything to go by. Maybe it was the recession that forced us to look inwards and explore hitherto forgotten habits where our common vegetables were grown in our backyards! Asides from the obvious benefit of beautification, plants act as air purifiers. With knowledge as they say, comes wisdom. Now that people are aware of suitable tropical plants that are low maintenance and hardy, the gardening culture is steadily gaining traction.
There you go, my design trend list for 2018, which I may quickly add is by no means exhaustive. Have you noticed any trends in the built environment you strongly feel will dominate this year? Kindly share.
Photo Credit: Gubkovladislav1 | Dreamstime.com