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Summersalt cashes in on status symbol travel-wear, Exit Here is a funeral parlour for the next generation, and a convenience retail boom in China.

Dutch Design Week 2019: A future of brand-sponsored food

Oats Sponsored by © Meastro by Pauline Wiersema and Thieu Custers
Sunflower Oil Sponsored By © Shell by Pauline Wiersema and Thieu Custers
Milk Sponsored By © KLM by Pauline Wiersema and Thieu Custers

Eindhoven – In 2040, grocery shoppers might be presented a choice: purchase products with advertising from commercial brands or pay more for stripped-back packaging.

Presented at Dutch Design Week 2019, Thieu Custers and Pauline Wiersema explore a potential solution to a time when food and drink prices have skyrocketed, making access to some groceries a luxury. In their Sponsored By © project, the duo speculate a future where commercial entities such as oil and gas company Shell, Dutch airline KLM, or political party VVD instead step up to sponsor healthy diets.

Presented as a typical supermarket shelf, consumers can either choose to purchase products with brand logos and slogans splashed across them – for example, Shell sunflower oil that states 'our oil has never been this clean' – or they can pay a premium for 'luxury' items with a simpler, Accessible Premium aesthetic.

In this possible future, Custers and Wiersema speculate that brands could take a role in our food and drink supply chains, sponsoring products to make them affordable. To learn more about how brands are acting as a force for good in society, delve into the Civic Brands macro trend.

Summersalt debuts apparel for untethered travellers

Summersalt travelwear Summersalt travelwear
Summersalt travelwear Summersalt travelwear

US – The swimwear brand is expanding its collections to cater to the ‘status symbol’ of travel apparel.

Summersalt, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) company, wants to cater to consumers before they reach the beach with a move into the burgeoning travel-wear market. Its new range includes transit-friendly essentials such as lightweight trousers, a versatile jumpsuit and additional layers for in-flight comfort.

While consumers are spending less money on material goods, they are spending more of their income on experiences such as travel. Recognising this, Summersalt is providing garments that will be part of their adventures. According to Reshma Chamberlin, the brand's co-founder, such travel-wear has become a cultural signifier. 'As we think about societal shifts on status symbols, travel is at the forefront of the consumer’s wallet, just like athleisure was a few years ago,’ she says.

As a life driven by flexibility and curiosity becomes increasingly desirable for high-net-worth consumers, Summersalt is tapping into the rise of Liberation Luxury.

Exit Here wants to brighten the funeral business

Exit Here, Chiswick, London. Photography by Agnese Sanvito
Exit Here, Chiswick, London. Photography by Agnese Sanvito
Exit Here, Chiswick, photography by Agnese Sanvito

London – This next-generation funeral parlour is using contemporary design to break taboos surrounding death.

Created by restaurateur Oliver Peyton and situated in affluent west London, Exit Here is a contemporary funeral parlour that offers planning and hospitality services alongside design-led caskets and urns. Designed by Transit Studio, the interiors of the space diverge from traditionally staid funeral parlours, instead infusing the business of death with pastel colours and contemporary furnishings to replicate a more modern, domestic environment.

With the aim of shattering outmoded attitudes towards death, Exit Here wants to refocus the funeral industry towards the importance of celebrating life. ‘We hope that our work can help break down taboos around talking about death, so that ultimately people can really choose how they would like to be remembered and celebrated,’ says Ben Masterton-Smith, director of Transit Studios.

As we move into a new decade – and with humans living longer than ever – people are beginning to think differently about their life and embracing mortality. For more on how this might look by 2030, read our Far Futures Scenario.

Stat: Chinese consumers are hungry for convenience stores

Rapid urbanisation and less structured lifestyles are set to fuel a surge in convenience store openings across China.

According to recent research from Mintel, China’s convenience store market reached total sales revenue of RMB140 billion (£15.4bn, $19.8bn, €17bn) in 2018, at a CAGR of 24% over the past five years.

With a new generation of hyper-connected Chinese consumers looking for on-the-go eating and instant access to lifestyle goods, Mintel suggests the nation’s number of convenience stores – known locally as c-stores – could increase rapidly from 75,000 units in 2018, to an estimated 117,000 units by 2024.

As we look to the future, convenience and grocery retailers will explore the use of in-store technologies to streamline the purchasing process further. To discover the early innovators, read our frictionless retail listicle.

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