Liam Mooney is a Cape Town-based industrial designer with a design studio of the same name. Since graduating from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2006, Liam has followed an exciting path designing and manufacturing furniture, lighting and accessories. This has included partnering with Cameron Munro and Justin Rhodes to start WhatIfTheWorld Gallery and designing the interiors of Merchants on Long’s Merchant Cafe. In 2008, he won the South African leg of the Elle Decoration International Design Awards for his Arc Lamp. Proving to be a knowledgeable and talented force to be reckoned with, HL took five minutes to sit the young man down for some coffee and probe his brain for his top trends in product design for 2013. Here’s what he offered: 1. Craft and Technology People are moving away from a purely craft-based aesthetic and are mixing the handmade with the machine made in quite interesting ways. Some more fascinating developments have been to make by hand what can be or was being made by machine, in order to give it a much more tech-savvy look with still adding the personal touch. 2. Super Graphic Forms and Volumes Products come back with graphic designs and forms in plenty of volume. Some have even taken on an optic-illusionist approach to their designs. There will be a lot of natural material and steel inclusions in these designs as durability will play a role as consumers seek longevity. 3. The African Aesthetic Africa’s influence on design – in every platform – will never cease. It’s back in 2013 and this time it’s much more refined and curated through everything from fashion products to home textiles. And less stereotyped. Products are much more fun, colourful and patterned. Texture is key and repeated African patterns create fresh new prints. The exact opposite of Japanese minimalism. 4. Cape-Inspired Everything The Cape and the Dutch will always have some control with South African product design. They both prove to be very classic genres which can be updated in small nuances every now and then to create a new look. Whether it’s taking the favourite Dutch porcelain design (historic blue and white ceramic plate designs) and creating the same effect but painting more South African culture-inspired motifs, or taking in the wine farm kitchen and patio designs into suburban homes, the Cape will always do best. 5. Fun In essence, the amount of fun a designer has with their products this year will be reflected in the final manufactured item. Designers are taking themselves less seriously and starting to design with a lighter point of view. This will showcase a variety of innovative designs and fresh products. House and Leisure will definitely be keeping an eye out for the mentioned trends and if you’d like to find out more about Liam and his work, check out his website at liammooney.co.za.