News 13.10.2021

Need to Know

Claridge’s hotel gallery democratises access to art, the BBC re-invents personal data usage and children’s play still perpetuates gender stereotypes.

Claridge’s hotel opens an inclusive art gallery

Angler Fish, 2018, at Claridges' ArtSpace. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science
Illarterate Colour Chart, 2016 at Claridges' ArtSpace. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
Spider, 2018, at Claridges' ArtSpace. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science

London – Luxury hotel Claridge’s is furthering its credentials in the art world with the unveiling of its multi-functional ArtSpace. Opening in tandem with annual art fair Frieze, the space will house a permanent gallery, a café and an art store. Despite the hotel’s premium status, Claridges intends for ArtSpace to be an accessible environment, with free entry for all.

Here, Claridge’s sets an example to luxury venues in how to democratise seemingly exclusive spaces to benefit the wider community. Indeed, a statement in a press release reads: It is intended to become an informal daily drop in for the local art community and Londoners alike, where they can see an inspiring new exhibition, find an original print, or simply enjoy breakfast, lunch or coffee and cake at the upcoming café.

In a similar vein, we previously identified how luxury goods group LVMH is supporting local communities through its La Samaritaine department store – a destination that caters for affluent shoppers while also providing social housing for local Parisians. Discover more ways the luxury sector is becoming more inclusive through our dedicated vertical.

Strategic opporutnity

The worlds of fashion, luxury and art should seize opportunities to design accessible spaces for audiences. Create cultural destinations that welcome communities, regardless of their backgrounds or prior knowledge

A digital space for plant-centric communities

PlantLife app, US PlantLife app, US
PlantLife app, US PlantLife app, US

San Francisco – Recognising the crossover between plant care and positive mental wellbeing, PlantLife is an alternative social media platform that combines an interest in plants with networking and engagement with the natural world.

The app functions similarly to TikTok, with full-bleed images and videos recommended to users based on previous engagement patterns, with content aimed at plant-lovers. A response to the growing number of people who identify as ‘plant parents’, PlantLife is positioned as a space for plant-centric communities to congregate online. Creators can share videos and swap tips on how to care for their greenery, while ‘plant influencers’ from other social media platforms are being courted to join the app where they will lead digital ‘clubs’ focused on topics such as mushroom foraging and setting up e-commerce shops.

As recently reported, the rise of Flower Therapy has re-centred the importance of nature in maintaining wellbeing. As the market for such eco-therapy grows, PlantLife is well positioned to appeal to consumers who are concerned about the quality of their digital diets and are looking to improve their mental health by interacting more with nature and each other.

Strategic opportunity

By integrating and supporting outdoors-focused communities, technology brands can help to offset escalating concerns about the impact of social media on mental and physical health

The BBC explores bespoke media experiences

UK – The broadcaster is empowering audiences to own and manage their personal data, with its research project focusing on data store prototypes. Focusing on the needs of consumers under 35 – who aren’t regular users of its apps and services – the company is experimenting with a web app that uses live personal data from the BBC, Spotify and Netflix to create bespoke media profiles for users.

These profiles allow audiences to access and edit their entire media viewing history in one place. The BBC can then send users curated recommendations and suggestions of relevant local events. By harnessing people’s data in this way, the company shows how online platforms can better serve the needs of consumers – in turn regaining their trust. ‘We believe there's enormous room for improvements with how data is managed online and our long history of researching and using established and emerging technologies can help move the industry forward to create public value and make a better internet,’ says the BBC.

In a world where people are increasingly sceptical about data usage, large organisations have an opportunity to reframe personal data in a way that benefits audiences.

Databox prototype by BBC Research and Development in partnership with University of Nottingham

Strategic opportunity

Media platforms can take inspiration from this initiative and similarly find ways to empower audiences through their data. Consider partnering with other apps and services to bolster the usefulness of your insights

Stat: Children’s play upholds gender stereotypes

Lego, Denmark Lego, Denmark

New research by toy company Lego reveals that gender stereotypes remain prevalent in children’s play, with 71% of boys worrying that they will be teased if they play with toys associated with the opposite sex.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute, presents a troubling picture of rigid gender expectations among children, with parents often playing a key role in reinforcing harmful biases. According to the survey, parents are four times as likely to encourage boys over girls to take part in games (80% versus 20%) and sports activities (76% versus 24%). Parents are also almost five times more likely to push girls towards dance than boys (81% versus 19%).

Following in the footsteps of multinational toy company Mattel, The Lego Group is responding by announcing the Get the World Ready for Me programme, designed to redress perceptions about gender by inviting parents to take part in a digital campaign centred on children’s creative empowerment. Elsewhere, we’ve tracked how emotionally intelligent toys are rising in popularity as parents and companies aim to dismantle fixed gender stereotypes.

Strategic opportunity

Promoting emotional intelligence in young children has become a priority for parents and brands alike. Toy manufacturers could benefit from aligning themselves with societal shifts that embrace a more equitable future

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