News 01.04.2022

Need to Know

A building bolstering the cultural identity of a resort town, Kate Moss becomes a model avatar and beauty consumers wake up to woke-washing from brands.

An Egyptian resort town reclaiming its identity

Gouna Festival Plaza in the Red Sea resort of El Gouna designed by Studio Seilern Architects, Egypt
Gouna Festival Plaza in the Red Sea resort of El Gouna designed by Studio Seilern Architects, Egypt
Gouna Festival Plaza in the Red Sea resort of El Gouna designed by Studio Seilern Architects, Egypt

Egypt – Seeking to reclaim and celebrate local culture as a push-back against homogenised tourism, The Gouna Festival Plaza is an architectural landmark created for the people of El Gouna, a Red Sea resort town in Egypt.

Designed by Studio Seilern Architects, the plaza is the tallest building in the town, and a powerful signifier of the region’s history. The columns, which have been made using glass-reinforced concrete, draw on ancient Egyptian architecture to provide shelter from the sun and wind. The structure will be a public space for weddings, concerts, conferences and sporting events. ‘The idea was to give El Gouna a cultural venue that would unify the town in a strong urban gesture, and give it a new point of focus with a captivating cultural venue,’ explains Christina Seilern, principal of Studio Seilern Architects.

While resort towns have often minimised their cultural differences to make global visitors feel more comfortable, this plaza points to a more thoughtful future of hospitality architecture and public spaces, and the lasting impact that such buildings can have on landscapes and local communities, something we have explored in Biomimicry Hotels.

Strategic opportunity

Resorts and hotels should empower local cultures and communities instead of erasing them. Consider implementing discreet design that does not intrude on indigenous settings

Kate Moss gamifies styling as an avatar model

Kate Moss on Drest metaverse in collaboration with Messika Kate Moss on Drest metaverse in collaboration with Messika
Kate Moss on Drest metaverse in collaboration with Messika Kate Moss on Drest metaverse in collaboration with Messika

Paris – Signalling the future of avatar modelling in virtual realms and metaverses, fine jewellery brand Messika has turned its supermodel collaborator Kate Moss into a digital icon within fashion game Drest.

Users of Drest will be able to style Moss’s avatar through a challenge using virtual fine jewellery from the model’s collaborative collection with Messika, alongside clothing from more than 250 luxury brands, such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Loewe.

Within Drest, people can style Moss in full-length or close-up shots, with her avatar’s appearance developed in close partnership with famed hairstylist Sam McKnight to be as true to life as possible, offering a choice of five hairstyles and several backdrops inspired by Moss’s life, including a fashion runway and Cotswolds field.

To encourage play and experimentation with its jewellery, Kate Moss will select her favourite avatar look as styled by a Drest user, with Messika rewarding this winner with a gold and pavé diamond pendant. The creation of such an accurate avatar and interactive experience points to new directions for Avatar Influence and brand interactions in digital realms.

Strategic opportunity

As avatar models become commonplace for brands, consider how aspects of models’ real lives or personalities can be translated into digital spaces, experiences or used to inspire interactions

Uber adopts yellow taxis to secure sector’s future

New York – Ride-sharing app Uber, which promised to disrupt the taxi industry, is now banking on traditional cabs to power its next phase of growth. As part of its wider mission to list every taxi in the world on its platform by 2025, the company has formed an alliance with New York City taxis.

When hailing a taxi, passengers will now have the option to order an Uber or traditional New York City yellow cab. The partnership is a response to the global shortage of Uber drivers, and the fees that have spiked as a result. It’s also a reconciliatory attempt to redirect business back to traditional cab drivers, who have suffered sharply in recent years due to the rise of ride-sharing apps and the pandemic. ‘It’s bigger and bolder than anything we’ve done,’ says Andrew Macdonald, senior vice-president of mobility and business operations at Uber.

After the pandemic dealt a blow to both traditional taxi and ride-sharing drivers, these rival sectors are consolidating to boost business, marking a significant shift for the Ride-share Market.

Uber

Strategic opportunity

How can industry disruptors forge healthier – and more profitable – relationships with traditional players? Take a page from Uber’s book to build bridges and enhance business together with sector rivals

Stat: UK beauty consumers uneasy about brands’ woke campaigns

Kinship, US Kinship, US

New research commissioned by beauty and health agency The Pull Agency reveals that 68% of UK beauty consumers are uneasy or unsure about health and beauty brands teaching and promoting ‘woke’ causes.

Some 41% of respondents say the amount of woke-washing or green-washing among health and beauty brands is becoming noticeable, highlighting concerns such as brands faking sustainability credentials or being superficial in their support of social movements. A quarter (26%) think those brands come across as inauthentic as a result, while one in seven (14%) deliberately avoid the brands they see as behaving this way.

In turn, more than half of respondents (58%) say all they want is for health and beauty brands to ‘pay their taxes, treat people fairly, respect the environment and not use it as a PR opportunity’. The same number (58%) want to see support for climate change, 56% are eager to see support for female body positivity, and 52% want brands to back diversity and inclusion.

When it comes to future marketing and communications, beauty and wellness brands should focus on betterment over bandwaggoning to avoid seeming inauthentic.

Strategic opportunity

While many brands feel they have to jump on social or eco-causes, these statistics show that the first step is to get the basics right, finding causes that align with your brand purpose or target audience

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