DAB: You have forecasted for some mighty brands, is there one product that you are particularly proud of?
LE: One of the most successful products that has come from my forecasting is the Nissan Micra. In 1993 it won Car of the Year and received numerous other prizes. This was the first time that a car manufacturer asked a trend analyst to design a car (and I don’t drive!), but it became a big success. It was also the first time an automotive maker truly considered lifestyle as an important tool for the conceptualization of a product. The Micra fused opposites like work and leisure, outside and inside, body and soul. Over the past three decades, I have also helped create electronics for Philips, beverages for Sprite, watches for Swatch, shoes for Camper, cosmetics for Estée Lauder, fragrances for L’Oréal and telecommunications for Siemens. Some of the most important projects in my career have been related to social movements for cities, notably the Dutch Ministry of Environment and Public Transport.
DAB: What’s the next technological advancement coming in interiors?
LE: One of the biggest trends these days is people’s love of cooking. It’s turning the kitchen into a creative laboratory. This means that appliances and accessories need to be much more sophisticated. Controlling temperature with precision is one such technology now accessible to everyday consumers, as seen in the new Chef Collection oven by Samsung. One can prepare different foods at different temperatures all at the same time or continue to warm something while other foods finish cooking. Other appliances such as fridges and dishwashers are turning into intuitive high-tech thinking machines, elevating the humble kitchen into a smart professional workspace.
DAB: You recently launched the Samsung Chef Collection. How was this unique.
LE: This was my first public appearance in Canada! Toronto was inspiring since I was able to see an artistic side of the city, visiting some local design and fashion stores. I look forward to coming back again very soon! I was invited to share some important farm-to-table lifestyle trends, which are very important for the Canadian market; especially now that the boundaries between town and country are blurring. The Samsung’s Chef Collection is well-designed and I especially love with the 4-door refrigerator which is quite smart and economic energy-wise.
DAB: Where do you look for inspiration?
LE: I find inspiration almost anywhere I travel and I’m always on the look out for outsider brands. Some of my favourite stores include Rossana Orlandi in Milan (so avant garde it makes Corso Como look bourgeois!). Art and craft also inspire my ideas about volume, material and colour. I develop trend concepts when travelling, whether it’s at a lifestyle retailer like Spence & Lyda in Sydney, a vintage furniture store in LA, a design fair in Miami, a visit to Cape Town (check out LIM), or seeing a craftsman in Morocco.
DAB: How have you fine-tuned your intuition to become a trends forecaster?
LE: My intuition is a companion that has
become inseparable to my being and we work together as a team building scenarios and scripting ideas. It seems to be a skill that can be trained like a muscle, taught like a brain, challenged like memory. It is also an instrument that cannot be escaped.
DAB: What is on your interior design must-have list?
LE: Personally I love open spaces with lots of light. For the home of tomorrow, the bedroom will become a major focus, a room which we will reinvent as a living area since we now do so much in there. This means nicer bedding, beautiful side tables and a chaise longue as well as a minibar and a coffee machine—living at home just like in a luxury hotel. The other big thing in interiors now is texture, so as long as they’re tactile, objects are very appealing. Important material ingredients continue to include copper and wood as well as marble which is making a come-back.
DAB: What’s your favourite colour combo?
LE: I’m a passionate colourist and so I love to work with all colours! At the moment, neutral interiors are brought to life by brighter accents such as tomato red or citrus yellow, but also rendered sophisticated by metallic finishes and even patterned wallpapers and draped textured textiles. Interior decorating is in a phase of enlightenment and so the return of patterned textiles and romantic fabrics is a welcome element.
DAB: What do you Dabble in when you are not trend forecasting?
LE: To be honest, everything I do and see is related to my work, so my holistic lifestyle is strongly connected to my forecasting work. But I am actually an avid cook and love reinventing dishes for my friends over the summer months when I’m travelling less. In the future, I also hope I will be able to dabble in painting.