Need to Know
19 : 05 : 22

A disused Detroit bakery is given a second life, Airbnb expands its curation capabilities, and speed dating makes a comeback.

Transforming a derelict bakery into a creative hub

Lantern by OMA, Detroit
Lantern by OMA, Detroit
Lantern by OMA, Detroit

Detroit – Architecture studio OMA has unveiled plans to transform a disused commercial bakery in Detroit’s East Village into a mixed-use art and education centre. The Lantern facility will include gallery spaces, affordable artist studios and retail spaces. It will also serve as the headquarters for two local arts non-profit organisations, Signal Return and PASC (Progressive Art Studio Collective).

The redevelopment makes use of the building’s existing structure, for example by transforming an area missing both its roof and an end wall into an accessible public courtyard. Through its design, Lantern is bolstering local skill- and community-building in a city that is experiencing a creative renaissance. Anthony Curis, co-founder of OMA, says: ‘The core of our mission in East Village is focused on creating an inclusive community centred around the arts.’

This project demonstrates an evolution of Detroit’s continuing re-invention, and the initiatives that are rebuilding the city’s commercial potential while benefitting the wider community.

Strategic opportunity

Urban planners must work to protect the needs of local groups when undertaking such redevelopment projects. Ensure the spaces you create are accessible and reflect the wider community

This RTD rebranding takes an ingredient-first approach

Swee rebranded by Bedow, Stockholm Swee rebranded by Bedow, Stockholm
Swee rebranded by Bedow, Stockholm Swee rebranded by Bedow, Stockholm

Georgia – Design studio Bedow is breathing new life into Georgian drinks company Swee, taking an unconventional approach by designing its ingredient list into its packaging. As a producer of naturally-made kombucha, the visual refresh allows Swee’s ingredients to be placed at the fore.

In the new design, each ingredient is represented by a specific colour and pattern, appearing all together as a form of design-led bar graph, with each shown in a different size to represent its percentage in the drink. While drinks ingredients are typically displayed in discreet, functional blocks of text, allowing brand names to take the lead, Swee is flipping the script. ‘We saw the possibility to turn what is typically functional information into a visually playful infographic system,’ says Perniclas Bedow, creative director at Bedow.

As we explore in Frivolous Foods, there has been an ongoing move towards less sterile approaches to nutritional food and drinks – with identities that instead combine nostalgia, escapism and pleasure.

Strategic opportunity

To stand out in the food and drinks market, use your branding and communications to really elevate your unique traits – whether it’s about local sourcing or the story of your founders

Airbnb harnesses data to keep up with travellers

US – The home rental platform is introducing a series of consumer data-informed updates to improve its user experience. Recognising a rise in people creating wish lists for certain activities or design aesthetics, one update allows travellers to more easily search for a home based on categories such as Design, Arctic and Chef’s Kitchens. Meanwhile, its Split Stays update comes as the company recognises a growing demand from its customers to be able to easily stay in more than one location.

These updates arrive as the platform reocgnises that its customers’ travelling habits are changing, with many seeking longer and more curated stays. To ensure its listings appeal to consumers, Airbnb uses a combination of machine learning and human curation. ‘The way people travel has changed for ever,’ says Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, noting the new features as ‘the biggest change to Airbnb in a decade’.

Airbnb’s innovation is leaning into the strategies explored in Data-driven Escapes, with tourism brands harnessing the power of data to offer more nuanced services for travellers.

Split Stays by Airbnb

Strategic opportunity

Travel operators could partner with social media or content platforms to better serve customers. Such projects could also spark inspiration for physical events or tourist meetings

Stat: Speed dating is back in business

Tinder Tinder

As people re-embrace in-person dating, there is fresh interest in speed dating as a way of meeting potential partners. While the sector has been defined by swipes, DMs and ghosting in recent years, Eventbrite reveals that it has seen a 63% surge in speed dating events hosted on the platform compared to the previous year.

Interestingly, there has also been a diversification of the types of speed dating events being organised on the platform, with options including Tantra speed dating, a kink-friendly Queer Comedy Night, and an event for nature-lovers in New York’s Central Park. Such targeted events provide a welcome alternative in a sector that has been defined by negative tropes such as swipe fatigue.

As Marc Baghadjian, co-founder of dating app Lolly, explains, Generation Z are leading the way in a reboot of dating, and are recognising the importance of having more meaningful ways of meeting new people.

Strategic opportunity

Retailers and hospitality venues should take note of this shift in behaviour, and consider how they can use their spaces to facilitate moments of connection

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