Milan 2019: Lucy McRae tackles our touch crisis
Milan - Designed by sci-fi artist and body architect, Lucy McRae, Compression Cradle is an experimental machine that affectionately compresses the body.
Exhibited at Triennale Milano, the installation sees air blown through membranes into a latex-like fabric. This in turn inflates a blanket that covers the participant, instilling in them a profound feeling of relaxation. When the air is removed, it squeezes the body to create the sensation of being artificially hugged.
Through the installation, Lucy McRae explores our current touch-deficit, which could become more extreme in the future. ‘If we slowly de-evolve from physical touch wanting beings then potentially that could change species as we know it, which starts to tip into broken nature, extinction and how we are evolving and de-evolving,' the artist explains.
As people increasingly choose to live independently and technology vies for their affection, brands will need to consider how they can cater to society’s evolving physical and emotional needs.
Milan 2019: Rethinking soap as a plastic free packaging material
Milan – Designer Mi Zhou has created a sustainable alternative to single-life plastic packaging which is consistently used by FMCG brands in the health and beauty industries.
‘In a commercially-driven society and in order to achieve maximum profits, manufacturers wrap everything in plastic which, as we are all aware, now pollutes every single corner of the world’, notes Zhou. This, and the fact that there is now more plastic in the ocean than marine life was a catalyst to develop a more sustainable alternative and the designer decided to explore how soap could be used in this context.
Called Soapack, the material can be used to package either toiletry or cleaning products in various shapes and formats. Once the contents have been expended, Soapack can then itself be used for cleaning.
As discussed in our Material Far Futures report, brands are looking to a new generation of transient materials to replace those with a limited-lifespan, therefore significantly reducing their environmental impact on the planet.
Lush is shutting down its UK social media channels
UK – The cosmetics retailer’s UK branch has announced it is stepping away from social media.
Making the announcement via Instagram, the company wrote: ‘Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. So we’ve decided it’s time to bid farewell to some of our social channels and open up the conversation between you and us instead.’
Moving forward, Lush UK will only be contactable by phone, email or live chat on their website. ‘Lush has always been made up of many voices, and it’s time for all of them to be heard,’ says the brand. ‘We don’t want to limit ourselves to holding conversations in one place, we want social to be placed back in the hands of our communities.’
As brands battle with online algorithms, some are turning back to more traditional channels of communication. In our Resilience Culture macrotrend, we explore the rise of these types of Enigma Brands that are purposefully adding friction to consumer touchpoints.
A delivery service for at-home cocktail parties
The delivery service is designed to reinvent the at-home drinking experience and enhance dinner or cocktail parties for time-pressed consumers. Customers within an 8km circumference of the bar’s central London location can order cocktails online or via Deliveroo, which will be delivered in less than hour.
Customers can choose from All Star cocktails, developed by in-house bartenders, or create their own custom concoctions. When the order arrives, they use a Liquorette shaker – included in the order – to mix the cocktails and serve fresh to guests.
With more people now choosing to socialise at home, Liquorette is creating a new type of convenient drinking experience that enables customers to enjoy high-quality cocktails without having to leave the house.
Stat: Young parents are driving ethical financial decisions
Young parents and women are leading a movement towards ethical financial saving, according to a new report by Triodos Bank UK. The research found that 65% of parents say it is important that their children’s savings help protect the planet, while 69% of younger parents – aged 18-34 – would like their children’s savings to be directed towards an organisation that shares their values.
Parents are also passing down environmental awareness, with 66% of mothers discussing the importance of protecting the planet with their children. Furthermore, the study noted how female savers are driving the demand for impact savings accounts and investments, with 60% saying they would switch bank if their money was having a negative impact on the environment or society.
As explored in our macrotrend Uneasy Affluence, wealthy Generation X parents are teaching their socially-orientated offspring how they can be more responsible with their wealth.
Thought-starter: Do we need to relearn how to sleep?
With technology having fundamentally inhibited our ability to sleep soundly, consumers are seeking new tools to help them relearn and improve old sleeping patterns.
Sleeping, like breathing, may be a necessity, but our technology-driven society is fuelling a culture of deprivation. Young people are growing up with poor sleeping habits instilled in them from an early age and this is having a profound effect on their overall wellbeing.
‘When we think about sleep health, it’s not just about a lack of sleep disorders, it’s also about the duration, quality and timing of sleep,’ says sleep doctor Meeta Singh. ‘We now know that the regularity and duration of sleep is important in predicting how long people will live.’
As sleep technology becomes more responsive to our sleeping patterns, there is a growing awareness among people of the need to re-engage with more natural sleeping behaviours, driving a new wave of devices that act in a much more intuitive way. One example is Embr Wave, a new category of wearable device that helps to induce a soporific state by automatically adjusting the wearer’s perception of temperature.
Read the full Retraining Sleep Market here.