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Architecture tuned to the sound of nature, eye drops that sharpen near vision and British consumers prioritise ethical products.

A concert hall shaped by sound

The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing
The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing
The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing
The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing The Chapel of Sound by Open. Photography by Jonathan Leijonhufvud, Beijing

Beijing – Tuning into the natural environment, the Chapel of Sound by Chinese architecture firm Open is informed by the atmosphere of the surrounding landscape. Taking sound as its key design principle, the concert hall charts a new path for sensorial architecture.

Intended to look like a stone that has rolled gently into place, the building has an organic shape that evokes comparisons with caves and seashells. Indeed, the architects took inspiration from the subtle reverberations and echoes of caverns when designing the building. Made of concrete that has been enriched with minerals and rocks from the local landscape, the curves of the building are sculpted in the shape of a sound wave.

Composed of an outdoor stage, amphitheatre, concert hall, viewing platforms and a green room, the Chapel of Sound has a clear view of the ruins of the Great Wall from the Ming Dynasty era.

While the building is designed to celebrate the union of nature and music, it is also meant to be used as a space of tranquillity, rest and rumination between concerts. Bridging entertainment with thoughtful relaxation, the building aligns itself with the tenets of Contemplative Spaces.

Strategic opportunity

Consumers are increasingly seeking silent spaces away from their homes to rest and ruminate. Instead of creating elaborate displays, retailers should consider maximising comfort and nature to create shopping sanctuaries

CES 2022: BMW transforms the car into a chameleon

BMW iX featuring E Ink, Munich and US BMW iX featuring E Ink, Munich and US
BMW iX featuring E Ink, Munich and US BMW iX featuring E Ink, Munich and US

Las Vegas – The automotive brand has turned heads with its colour-changing ink that allows people to personalise their car at the touch of a button. The concept, launched with a concept model called the BMW iX Flow, is built out of the question: does a car always have to look the same?

For BMW, the answer is no. The body of the concept car uses E Ink – which is used in e-readers – and is laminated with an electrophoretic film containing microcapsules, which each contain differently charged white, black or coloured particles. When an electric field is applied, this creates an Electronic Paper Display (EPC) and ultimately allows car-owners to digitally change the colour or pattern of their car.

There are no plans for the chameleon vehicle to come to market anytime soon, but instead it represents a research project looking at the future of car personalisation. Still, it raises questions about what transformative future materials could mean for our consumption habits and the longevity of our purchases.

Strategic opportunity

Allowing consumers not only to have creative control over their premium purchases, but also to change this as time goes on, means these investments will be primed to last well into the future

These FDA-approved eye drops could replace glasses

US – Pharmaceutical company AbbVie is breaking boundaries in the eyecare space, with the launch of an eye drop remedy created to sharpen near vision. Called Vuity, the Food and Drug Administration-approved drops could replace the need for some people to wear reading glasses. Recommended for use once a day, the drops can improve vision for up to six hours at a time.

The first product of its kind, Vuity has the potential to transform the eyecare market for people with presbyopia, or age-related blurry near vision. ‘Many Americans deal with presbyopia, which typically begins around age 40, by relying on reading glasses or resorting to work-arounds like zooming in on their digital devices to see up close,’ explains optometrist Dr Selina McGee, fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. With this alternative product, some consumers may find eye drops to be a more convenient option for temporarily improving their vision.

This innovation points to a future when the Eyewear Market is supported by innovations that can reduce the need for creating new products in line with people’s changing eye health.

VUITY pilocarpine HCI ophthalmic solution, US VUITY pilocarpine HCI ophthalmic solution, US

Strategic opportunity

Consider how such solutions can reduce reliance on materials such as plastics needed to create new glasses or contact lenses. Healthcare brands should therefore invest in research to further improve similar developments

Stat: Ethical spending reaches new heights in the UK

Fashion Values. Photography by Nadira Amrani Fashion Values. Photography by Nadira Amrani

A recent report conducted by Co-op suggests that British consumers are using their spending power to enact positive environmental change. For the first time in UK history, ethical spending exceeded £100bn ($136bn, €120bn) in 2020, reaching a record-breaking £122bn ($166bn, €146bn).

In just 10 years, the ‘green pound’ in Britain has more than doubled, with shoppers embracing a range of planet-friendly food substitutes. The data also indicates that consumers are increasingly willing to boycott brands if they do not live up to their sustainability standards. ‘Shoppers are turning up the heat to boycott businesses which fail to act on ethical or social concerns. The report is a warning to brands that they must do business a better way for workers, communities and the planet,’ explains Steve Murrells, CEO of the Co-op Group.

With an increase in ethical spending and Moral Commerce, retailers must do more to align themselves with the eco-standards of contemporary consumers, or they risk a backlash.

Strategic opportunity

Companies that aim to assuage climate-anxious consumers should pursue green certifications to clearly communicate their environmental efforts

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