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Each year, I review the trend world with one major quest: to answer the question “Why” behind color and design trends. If you understand the big picture trend story, then the parts and pieces of design and color come together with ease, interest and texture.

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Design Talents Watch

6.3.2012 12.00

Three talents from Europe: Jolan van der Wiel, one of the rising stars in the interior design world; Martin Leuthold, with a career spanning over four decades in the design of fashion textiles and interiors, and Doreen Westphal, who likes to make unexpected material mixes, especially when using concrete.

Design Talents Watch 1: Jolan van der Wiel

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Jolan van der Wiel of The Netherlands debuted his graduation project from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam: Gravity Stool at the January 2012 imm D3 Design Competition exhibition in Cologne, Germany. When you experience his perspective and innovation, there is a sense that you are among a rising star in the design world. Jolan winning the 1st Prize Interior Innovation Award for Young Talent 2012 at imm verified this feeling.

Post your calendars to visit him at Ventura Lambrate during the Milan Design Week on April 17–22, 2012. For more information about this new design talent, visit

Gravity Stool was a design school project that started with the concept of “Nothing is Something”. In Jolan’s words: “The aim was to explore and visualize what was always already there, but invisible to the human eye. The search of a means of visualization and gravitation had caught my attention. As an invisible but omnipresent power, gravity offers the possibility to manifest itself visually within the realm of the material”.

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Jolan continues: “There is the potential in joining technology with a natural phenomenon by developing new ‘tools’ as an important means in allowing new forms and designs to take shape.” Inventing a “grass roots” machine to create the stools enabled Jolan to experience the design process from start to finish. He believes that his role as a designer is one of support… to allow the shape to take its course. 

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The materials Jolan van der Wiel uses are a mixture of iron filings (almost 6 kilos/stool) with different components of plastics, which after mixing will harden within five minutes. Color is added to give a visual "texture" that reflects as something other than the obvious metal color. What is the end result? The stool is strong enough to sit on, holding around 200 kg! 

Watch this design genius at work at


Design Talents Watch 2: Martin Leuthold

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Martin Leuthold, Creative Director of the luxury Swiss textile company Jakob Schlaepfer, is as prolific and talented as they come. Having followed his collections since the early 1990s, as international awards that have continued to acknowledge his work in the world of innovative textiles, Martin’s career designing fashion textiles and interiors spans four decades of  designing 4 collections/year for haute couture fashion and 1 collection/year for interiors. His textile "genius" can be found on all of the international fashion runways.

I had the opportunity to connect with Martin in Paris during Paris Deco Off 2012 in January at the Neolux showroom showing his latest collection of interior textile innovations. Here are a few of the masterpieces that I admired and would like to share with you!

For information for those living in the Baltics or visiting the Baltics: As of October 2011, Martin’s work with Jakob Schlaepfer can be seen in the new Krassky interior showroom in Riga, Latvia

For more about Martin Leuthold of Jakob Schlaepfer, visit

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Concrete Tex-Tile: Known for developing state-of-the-art technology and production to create the ultimate in textile luxury, Martin fuses in these images concrete and fabric, using wood blocks for creating the production of decorative tiles for tactile wall-tile accents. The idea of transforming a draped textile effect into rigid and more permanent for wall installations is innovation at its finest. These are just a few of his textural gems, hot off the press!

MartinLeuthold 04Sheer Laser: Martin’s newest laser technology is inspired by the goldsmith industry. Showcased at Paris Deco Off 2012, a sheer chiffon textile, layered with a thin film of silver metallic was etched by the new laser machine, penetrating the silver layer ONLY (and not the entire fabric), exposing the colored chiffon layer beneath through a linear pattern.The result is a shimmering glow of pattern and surface interest that flows with any medium. 
MartinLeuthold 05Etched: Laser technology was also used to create this beautiful lace textile for the 2012 Interior collection. I particularly like how the pattern was etched with the relief texture in mind, adding dimensional play at every angle.
MartinLeuthold 06Korsakow brought Jakob Schlaepfer the Imagination Prize 2009 award at Premiere Vision 2009, a prize given for the most daring and surprising creation of material, technique and finishing. Korsakow is a 3D creation of foam tipped with gold leather and applied to a transparent tulle background.


Design Talents Watch 3: Doreen Westphal

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Doreen Westphal is a German designer living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. She designs with an eye to marrying architecture and science, considering each step in the design process. I had discovered her work while attending DMY Berlin 2010, when she was showcasing her Concrete Lace curtain. Recently, I saw her at January’s Maison et Objet in Paris, continuing the signature work of marrying unexpected material mixes, especially when using concrete, to achieve more fluid and softer effects. For more information about Doreen Westphal, visit

When I presented Doreen’s Concrete Lace in my 2012 forecast direction to North American designers, they were astounded as to how concrete could translate into a delicate form and texture, yet possess the functional strength that concrete is known for in interior spaces. The “lace” is made from ultra high-performance concrete and mixed with suspension materials like ribbon or 1mm steel cable. Applications are found in hotels, auditoriums, window treatments, room dividers, restaurants, and the list goes on…DoreenWestphal 03

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Concrete Vase Copper, Silver and Gold Leaf: Doreen’s latest in concrete translation is Concrete and Detailed, a series of tableware and living accessories. The design of a concrete vase explores the tension between nature and culture, combining strong geometrical forms with organic ornaments—warm metallic leafing throughout the concrete. The major but hidden advantage of this innovation is in the production process. Ceramic concrete products use over 50 times LESS fossil fuels during the entire production process, as compared to traditional fired ceramics. 

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