Touch of the luxury product for 2012, tactile trend




TACTILIST French page




The trend for focusing on the touch feature of a product as a magic function control or as a means of identification

The touch screen on your iPhone is a sign of modernity.

Its success is linked to the fact that it is both fun and practical, letting the fingers do the talking, intuitively, instinctively and even creatively. It reclaims the pleasure of touch never provided by, for example, the touch control on your PC screen.

Hence the temptation for manufacturers to apply the basic principle to all sorts of products to ensure their success, in very diverse forms, adapted to food products, decorative items, car driving or payment terminals.

The result has led to emergence of a trend in consumer products - tactilism. We are talking about play rather than the sensory in connection with already well established trends.

Four ways in which Tactilism is expressed :

Seems like magic.
The luxury of t
he natural.


An iconic benchmark of technological magic has, for the last ten years, and still is, Ferrari’s famous Manettino, a steering wheel-mounted dial – like on Formula 1 cars- which instantly adjusts the technical characteristics of the car to suit the desired style of driving, since copied many times.

Innovation today is led by the Tesla S electric car: a 17” touch screen permits control of all the vehicle’s functions.


It is an example of the extension of the “touch screen” effect to other technological products; recreating its magic on other everyday products or using its technology to create an illusion of the original object in a form that is more accessible because it is simpler, miniaturized and mobile.

The magic effect extended to other everyday objects.

The padlock  Master Lock One without numbers or letters but coded by programming movements from top to bottom or left to right in the same way as on a touch screen. The result ensures quicker, easier and more secure locking.

Watches : wrist watch phone with a touch screen.
The Kisai on air wrist watch whose functions are controlled by touch in a very
innovative design.


Computer keyboards: Minebea’s magnificent touch control keyboard

Lights: the Krom touch control lamp, the magic is that turning the light on and off and light intensity are controlled by simply touching the product and not by a switch.

The entirely touch controlled wireless headphones designed by Chris Tan for Muse Concept.
The outside faces of the headphones are fitted with digital touch screens which provide the control and music adjustment functions. Synchronised with a smartphone, the headset can also be used to pick up phone calls.

Cash dispenser: the Ogaki Kyoritsu bank is to install biometric readers on ATMs, users will first have to register their biometric data in a bank branch. These readers will allow cash withdrawals without needing a bank card.


The illusion of the original object in a more accessible form.

Touch Sensitiv Guitar : all the sounds of a real guitar with a simple touch of the finger. Wifi transmission to your speakers or computer as well as social media sites. A myriad of integration possibilities for this first contact with music tool.

A mini pinball machine. Set up your iPhone for the Pinball Magic Game, load the free application and start playing pinball with all the functions of the real thing.

Then there are products that update usage requiring a physical action :
a foldaway mini speaker for the iPhone, the Designaffairs studio Foldable Speaker Concept folds down flat when not in use.


To add refinement inspired by artist craftsmanship.
Either to signify or emphasize a touch of luxury, or to enhance the impression of the product at the touch of a finger.
In any case, a focus on detail which makes all the difference.

The touch of luxury.

The Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects and its incredible finely worked metal façade. The modern interpretation of traditional carved stone and wood. Note that the interior décor is also an ode to the materials and the way they feel to the touch.

Designer Martí Gixéu’s Gold Key $4. A gold key to dream of, to replace the original key and customise your keyboard. Inspired by memories of the gold tooth?


Must one draw a parallel between the art of relief and “interesting” texture with the irresistible glamour of the 36/24/36 image of the ideal body?

The raised trademark on the Heineken bottle, a tactile ennoblement?
Do the colourful sensory reliefs of Hennessy  cognac redesigned by Kaws, an artist based in New York, give it more taste?

Isn’t this silicone wine label with its relief pattern designed by Juhász Örsi an invitation to grab the bottle?
Doesn’t this Colier sparkling wine packaging by Reynolds and Reyner make you think of the luxuriance of an evening gown?

Will a bar of chocolate be perceived as more up-market with engraved typographic designs like the Typographic Chocolate Slabs offered by Dynamo?

The relief design of the Gauloises Tactil  cigarette packet which slides open like a mobile phone: a major innovation encouraging users to play with the packet and thus increase addiction?

We should also remember the relief designs on the packaging of Tommy Hifliger and Eight Energies cited in the Cool Luxury trend.

Just as the touch screen initiates a new way of handling the product, 3D, which is also a relief art form, finds its equivalent in packaging design with 3D Vidéo Mapping, a technique creating the illusion of relief in an image.
An example from the Paris studio, Lonsdale, is shown.


Raw materials treated, worked and combined in a very sophisticated way in a new spirit of luxury favouring the material and its natural nobility.

Hilla Shamia’s “Wood Casting” furniture collection, combining unfinished wood and cast aluminium.
Seppl, Espresso Machine in Porcelain by Arvid Häusser. In white porcelain and wood.


The Concrete Business Cards from the Murmure studio, small business cards made from concrete, a material that could not be more commonplace, become very sophisticated small objects.


When touched or handled, the product makes it disappear or change into something else: the product gives power to the hand.

After the soluble films on laundry tablets, we have the soluble and edible cellophane film of MonoSol. Sachets that open the way to food uses which could be amazing.

Kabloom’s Seedbom, to throw on to any piece of ground. When it breaks it releases varieties of flowers that will grow easily anywhere. Seed bombs designed for guerrilla gardening.


Precut sheets of paper, wood and balsa that are transformed into shapes and real objects.

The business card designed by Rethink Canada for Norburn Model Aircraft becomes a small plane ready to fly.

The architectural model kits by Japanese designer Terada Mokei which become miniature scenes, street furniture and people ready to bring life to an architect’s model.

Remember too, the beauty product packagings that become all-purpose boxes that we also mentioned in la tendance Cool Luxury.


When the action of the fingers, touching something, is the source of a sensation or magical effect, the image, the range level of the product is raised. This range level then comes closer to Cool Luxury, our October 2011 trend

There is a noticeable expansion, as well as a democratisation, of this form of luxury which promotes expertise, the feeling for detail of artist craftsmanship even for a bottle of wine costing a few dollars.

This reflects the expectations of consumers, who want it demonstrated that the product has been well made while giving thought to his/her individuality.