Designing for the future–the answer is in the past.

This blog post is a part of the Design Blogger Competition organized by CGTrader


“Study the past if you would define the future.”–Confucius.

This Chinese thinker and social philosopher’s words are relevant even now. If you want to define the future, you should take a good look at the past. If you’re learning something new, you look at all the other things done in that area of study before. You need to see what was done before, in order to build upon it and come up with your own twist to an old design.

In this day and age, almost every entity has a little bit of the past in it. Check out these 5 design niches that prove that the past still has–and will continue having–a stronghold on design.

1. Architecture


When the Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century, I’m pretty sure “sustainable” wasn’t what the Khmer had in mind. However, it is the example of how a building should be. This architectural landmark was designed and built keeping Cambodia’s climate–which oscillates between extreme wet and dry–in mind. The temple is supported by a hydraulic engine with man-made pools. These reservoirs are humongous. They save water during monsoon, in order to be used during the dry season. The temple is oriented in a direction that protects it from the hot weather. The pools also ensure that cooling breezes are directed towards the temple center.

This is certainly something architects are inspired by even now.

2. Clothing


In fashion, trends keep coming back in. Peasant skirts? They were famous in both your mom’s and your time. Trapeze dresses, denim jackets, chokers, and more are all the past trends that have made a comeback in 2017.

3. Eyeglasses


Oversized frames are back again. Forget rimless and tiny frames for eyeglasses. Prescription or otherwise, the nerdy glasses are all the rage now.

4. Cruiser motorcycles


Remember when Harley Davidson was the fad on the roads?ย  They were then followed by sports bikes. Now, we’re back to motorcycles again.

5. Interior design


Floral wallpapers, brass fixtures, Japanese accents, and other staples of a 90’s home have made a comeback.

The Internet brings up so many more examples of the past making a comeback. While there will be new and unique designs being made, there will never be an end to the past cropping up in some form or other in the future.

The general human populace tends to keep returning to the past and making it the norm. Because, it is our past that defines us. Without that, who are we, really?

I know, I know! This is a little different from what I usually write. But, I was invited to participate and I was really interested. What did you think of this post? Do you think the future lies in the past? Let me know in the comments!

~ Shruti

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14 thoughts on “Designing for the future–the answer is in the past.

  1. Oh I’m all for the what’s old is new again. Been seeing that in movies especially. Remakes, reboots, classics, all that good stuff. I’m kind of fascinated at the difference between “outdated”, “retro”, and “classic”, and a little fuzzy as to what separates them. Time, yes, but how much? How old does something have to be to leave behind “outdated” and make it back around to “retro”?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, I’ve had the same questions myself! I personally believe that it depends on each individual. Sure, all the interior decor blogs are saying that the 90’s kind of home decor is back. But I still think it’s outdated. While some trends from the past making a comeback sound understandable, some others don’t make as much sense.

      Do you think there are reasons other than just the preferences of the “Guru” who declares a trend is in or out?


      1. Probably has more to do with how well that Guru’s company and team can convince people “everyone” is into it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I tend to think that every time I see some post about “this trend is taking over instagram and you can do it too!”

        Liked by 1 person

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