Lucy McRae explores beauty ideals in the digital age
Melbourne – The sci-fi artist has created an installation that determines the‘perfect’ face based on the ideal ratios of beauty.
McRae’s Biometric Mirror project uses a facial recognition system to assess aspects of the viewer’s face, such as age, gender and facial expressions, which are then calibrated and transformed into a statistically and mathematically perfect face. The project draws on the ideals of Hollywood plastic surgeon Stephen R. Marquardt, whose Facial Masks theory uses mathematics to gauge the ratios of what is regarded as beautiful.
With algorithm-orientated apps and artificially intelligence devices affecting consumers’ perception of themselves, Biometric Mirror highlights further how technology is shaping new beauty ideals. For more, see our Algorithmic Beauty macrotrend.
A rolling music speaker that encourages play
UK – Bang & Olufsen is continuing to demonstrate its artistic approach to audio devices with a playful touch-driven speaker that can be rolled from room to room.
The Beosound Edge, created in collaboration with furniture designer Michael Anastassiades, is a large, round speaker that can be rolled into position or affixed to a wall. Its in-built proximity sensors detect when a person moves towards it, illuminating the touch interface that allows music to be controlled with a tap. When placed on the ground, users can gently adjust the sound by rolling the device back and forth.
Originally explored in our macrotrend Awakening Tech, designers are continuing to merge technology and industrial design to create products for the home with magical-seeming abilities. Designer Karlijn Hoorneman developed the Powerplant, an elegant solar-powered flower that communicates with a home’s energy meter, blossoming when energy use is low and shutting down when it’s high.
London’s first white rum distillery
London – Following the launch of its Cabby’s Rum earlier in 2018, Taxi Spirit Company is opening London’s first white rum distillery.
When founder and part-time London taxi driver Moses Odong was rejected from interning at breweries, he decided to experiment with distilling himself, drawing on his family’s domestic distillation traditions in Uganda and Jamaica. He later joined forces with technical expert Abhishek Banik to create Cabby’s Rum, a full-bodied white rum with notes of sweet cane, black treacle, oak, coconut and citrus. Now, the brand is opening London’s first white rum distillery in the city’s east end offering distillery tours and a chance for visitors to take part in spirit tasting sessions.
As consumers’ tastes mature, many are searching for alcoholic drinks that allow them to enjoy nuanced flavour profiles over intoxication. For more, read the The Art of Sipping microtrend.
Vice opens a Munchies food court
The food court will host 18 vendors offering diverse menus, chosen according to how similar their ideologies are to those of Munchies. With a youth-driven perspective, the food court will act as a social hub as well as an interactive environment for events, such as demonstrations from guest chefs.
‘It’s about creating a memorable environment for our customers and a growth platform for our restaurateurs,’ says Dimitri Lalagos, senior vice-president of American Dream. ‘By working with Munchies we will attract a vibrant mix of concepts within an environment where our customers will interact and experience food like never before.’
Following in the footsteps of other publishers such as Time Out and Buzzfeed, the Munchies food court is the latest example of a media platform venturing into the physical realm to offer a more intimate experience for consumers. Read more about the comeback of food courts in our Destination Retail market.
Stat: Athleisure continues to dominate apparel sales
A recent report by market research group NPD suggests that the appeal of athleisure is unwavering, with sales continuing to dominate in the US.
Data from the study shows that in the 12 months to June 2018, sales of sport sweatshirts increased by double-digit figures, while sales of active bottoms such as leggings grew 5%. US athleisure sales are expected to rise further in 2019, with strong performances predicted across various other activewear categories.
‘I’m often asked if the athleisure trend is going to fade away, and the answer is no,’ says Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor for retail at NPD. ‘When you have comfort and function combined with fashion it’s difficult to go back to anything else on a regular basis.’
As discussed in our Chinese Fitness Market, athleisure is similarly booming in China, due to growing interest in healthy living among the nation’s middle classes.
Thought-starter: Why interfaces of the future must focus on human needs
Virtual interfaces that were once Hollywood fantasies are fast becoming a reality. But, asks Lee Fasciani, co-founder and creative director of Territory Projects, will they make our lives better?
Technology is nearing a level of sophistication where the fictional interfaces and virtual platforms we’ve seen in blockbuster films will soon be part of our daily lives. Even today, a host of once-futuristic interfaces are in advanced development, from gesture-based to holographic, voice, and brain-computer interfaces, as well as the already-familiar AI assistants, and virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications that have put intuitive experiences within our grasp.
However, to truly transform interaction and harness the potential of these applications, consumers need customisable, product-agnostic virtual experiences that function across disparate hardware, operating systems and software, uniting them as one seamless eco-system. In turn, these dynamic and intelligent systems will simplify their busy, distraction-filled lives, enabling them to do complex research, manage home utilities, order shopping and make appointments through slick, voice-led interfaces.
Read the full opinion here.