Covid-19

In a time of global chaos, we outline the steps businesses can take to imagine new scenarios and build future-fit strategies to turn uncertainty into action.

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14 : 12 : 20

Architecture to boost Iranian tourism, Matter alleviates our touch fears and shoppers drive further support for black businesses.

Architecture to rebuild Iranian tourism

Hormuz Island, Iran Hormuz Island, Iran
Hormuz Island, Iran Hormuz Island, Iran
Hormuz Island, Iran Hormuz Island, Iran

Iran ­– Architecture studio Zav Architects has unveiled an urban development plan in Hormuz Island, Iran, in a bid to benefit the area’s economy.

The project, Presence in Hormuz, is made up of multi-purpose domes. The colourful domes are to be used as communal living spaces for residents to do laundry, eat and pray, as well as a tourism information centre. In order to establish the space as self-sufficient, the studio has made the structures out of the island’s local resources, educating inhabitants how to build future domes as the community grows.

The architectural project hopes to restore Hormuz island as a coveted destination for travellers. By training the community in construction as well as using Iranian resources, costs are reduced for inhabitants, allowing for bigger future tourism gains.

With architects increasingly considering the needs of indigenous residents, we're seeing a larger push towards Empowered Travel.

Folx is healing broken queer healthcare systems

Folx, US Folx, US
Folx, US Folx, US

US – Folx is a new digital healthcare system aimed at the queer and trans+ community.

While mainstream healthcare systems remain discriminatory and mostly inaccessible to LGBT+ communities, Folx is providing tailored support through a dedicated team of queer and trans+ clinicians. Through a digital subscription, Folx will provide personalised services that include gender-affirming hormone therapy (HRT), erectile dysfunction, PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for HIV), and STI testing. Plans are available for £44 ($59, €48) per month.

Challenging the idea that LGBT+ people are often treated as a problem in healthcare, Folx places holistic wellbeing at the centre of its values. As AG Breitenstein, founder of Folx, says: ‘I think that companies like Folx and others that come into the space are going to start to hopefully decolonise and demedicalise [access to care] for a lot of communities.’

Brands in the health and wellness space are beginning to lead conversations about Trans+ inclusion, moving away from the sector’s cisgender, heteronormative ideals.

An anti-microbial coating to ease fears about touch

Matter by Designsake Studio Matter by Designsake Studio

US – Strategic agency Designsake Studio is launching Matter, an anti-microbial coating to provide protection from high-touch surfaces.

The coating, which integrates advanced silver ion technology, protects against bacteria, fungi and viruses. Recognising the environmental impact of increased use of disinfectant wipes, soaps, gloves and hand sanitiser amid Covid-19, Matter provides a sustainable and cost-effective solution that can be applied to a variety of materials, from textiles to glass.

Unlike throwaway disinfectant materials, Matter’s anti-microbial coating lasts for the lifetime of a product and is fully recyclable after product disposal. While Covid-19 was the catalyst for this innovation, Matter is responding to a longer-term shift towards safer products and environments.

While heightened awareness of hygiene and safety is prompting new rituals, more long-term, intelligent material solutions are needed to address the ecological damage of protective products.

Stat: Shoppers seek intersectional local businesses

Shoppers are continuing to spend based on their social values, according to review platform Yelp's 2021 Trend Forecast report.

Searches for black-owned businesses on Yelp this year rose by 6,500%. Meanwhile, mentions of women-owned businesses soared by 114%. The catalytic socio-economic events of 2020 had an impact on these behavioural shifts, with the search rate 25 times higher for black-owned businesses and 50 times higher for women-owned businesses than last summer.

Collating its data to offer predictions for food trends for next year, Yelp’s findings indicate that social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter caused a surge in support for black businesses, and this will continue in 2021.

Our microtrend Moral Commerce explores this further, as consumers look to brands as allies in the wake of the anti-racism movement.

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