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Need to know 28 : 07 : 17

28.07.2017 Hospitality : Fashion : Luxury

In today’s daily digest: The Krane, adidas and Alexander Wang, Disney, Theory 2.0, commoditising time and the increasing price of human-to-human contact.

1. The Krane celebrates serenity with the colour black

The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj
The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj
The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj
The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj
The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj The Krane by Arcgency, Copenhagen. Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj

Copenhagen – The former industrial coal crane in Copenhagen harbour has been redesigned as a luxury two-person retreat. The interior, designed by Arcgency, celebrates the colour black, both as an homage to the building’s previous function and as a way to spotlight the view outside and promote tranquillity.

‘Black plays a pivotal role in muting and minimising visual distractions so people feel almost enveloped in the interior,’ lead architect Mads Møller told Dezeen. In the current attention-based economy, luxury consumers are looking for brands to create sanctuaries of serenity that minimise the distractions of 21st-century living. For more, see our Serene Hospitality microtrend.

2. Adidas and Alexander Wang put the onus on customers

adidas Originals and Alexander Wang Season 2 by Ryan Staake, New York

New York – For the launch of their second collaborative season, the fashion designer and sportswear brand have employed a counter culture approach to marketing. Following on from last year’s collection, which was sold out of bin bags from the back of trucks, the duo will this year employ bike messengers dressed in items from the range to deliver the garments in unmarked packages.

To buy the items, customers have to text the number displayed on posters across the city. By ensuring the onus is on the fans to open up lines of communication, adidas and Alexander Wang are limiting accessibility and heightening the buzz around their product launch. For more, see the Opt-in Culture section in our Backlash Brands macrotrend.

3. Disney uses facial-recognition technology to track emotions

US – Disney Research has developed an artificially intelligent (AI) system that uses a neural network to track cinema-goers’ emotional responses. It is able to track the faces of hundreds of people in real time and determine whether they are smiling or laughing.

The system, which was tested across 150 showings of Disney films and generated 16m points of data, is designed to enable Disney to identify scenes that create maximum enjoyment for viewers.

Film-makers will increasingly use big data to edit content in real time to create films that are tailored to individual audiences. For more, see our Choose Your Own Adventure microtrend.

Factorised variational autoencoder by Disney Research Factorised variational autoencoder by Disney Research

4. Theory promotes collective female entrepreneurship

Theory 2.0 capsule collection, New York. Photography by EDTN Theory 2.0 capsule collection, New York. Photography by EDTN
Theory 2.0 capsule collection, New York. Photography by EDTN Theory 2.0 capsule collection, New York. Photography by EDTN
Theory 2.0 capsule collection, New York. Photography by EDTN Theory 2.0 capsule collection, New York. Photography by EDTN

New York – To mark the fashion brand’s twentieth anniversary, Theory’s founder Andrew Rosen has enlisted the company’s most enterprising employees from across departments to help drive the brand’s future creative direction.

The team, which comprises 28 members, 23 of whom are women, functions as a start-up within the company as a whole, benefiting from parent company Fast Retailing's resources but run as a separate entity. Dubbed Theory 2.0, the start-up last week launched its first capsule collection in the US, Asia and Europe. For more on the future workplace and the rise of female entrepreneurship, buy our Female Futures Report 2017.

5. Paying for time can buy happiness

As LS:N Global explored in our Luxury Futures Report 2017, time is fast becoming a luxury commodity. A recent study of 60 working adults in Vancouver, Canada, showed that participants’ stress levels dropped and feelings of happiness increased when they spent £30 ($40, €34) on products and services that enabled them to save time over the course of one weekend. Read our macrotrend The Focus Filter for more on how brands are re-engaging time-deprived, stressed-out consumers.

6. Thought-starter: Will human touch become a future luxury?

As automation advances in retail and hospitality, human-to-human service could become the ultimate luxury, argues The Future Laboratory senior writer Kathryn Bishop.

Automation is creeping into our everyday actions, fuelled by the ease of ‘tap and go’ contactless card payments and the increasing number of self-checkouts. Now, having to enter a PIN or dig around for loose change can feel wholly inconvenient.

It is also making its mark in premium retail and hospitality. Ian Schrager’s latest hotel, Public, has only 50 members of staff to serve almost 400 rooms, and its restaurants and bars – automated systems pick up the slack.

What will this mean for industries where human service has long been a USP? Arguably, the human touch will become a future luxury. Only the most affluent shoppers will be able to enjoy personal contact with a knowledgeable, emotionally intelligent and caring brand ambassador, while other shoppers humbly interact with in-store AI systems.

To find out how automation is changing customer service, read the full opinion piece here.

Fabled by Marie Claire and Ocado, UK Fabled by Marie Claire and Ocado, UK