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19 : 04 : 18

18.04.2018 Drinks : Youth : Workplace

Issey Miyake explores identity through technology, Nendo endorses Japanese manufacturing at Milan Salone 2018, Blue Moon founder creates cannabis beer.

1. Nendo collaborates with Japanese manufacturers

Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota
Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota
Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota
Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018.Photography by Takumi Ota Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota
Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018.Photography by Takumi Ota Forms of Movement by Nendo, Milan Salone 2018. Photography by Takumi Ota

Milan – Design studio Nendo unveiled 10 collaborations with Japanese manufacturers that embody the concept of motion. Each project at the Forms of Movement exhibition was based on the premise that objects either react to people, or people respond to an object, depending on its form or function.

With a clear focus on advanced technologies, state-of-the-art mechanisms and unconventional materials, the exhibition explored the theme through various guises.

One stand-out installation was manufacturer INAC and Nendo's Variations of Time. On display were four hourglasses carved from a volume of transparent acrylic and then polished by hand with fine metal needles tipped with abrasives. The resulting unconventional chambers and organically shaped cavities change the speed and angle of the flow of sand, and therefore the perception of the flow of time as it moves freely within the structure.

One hourglass has five minutes’ worth of sand divided into two cavities. Three minutes’ worth of sand accumulates in the left chamber, and then, when completely full, the sand falls into the right chamber for an additional two minutes. The use of precision engineering and merging of expertise enabled Nendo and INAC to attempt to ‘design time itself’.

For further reading on manufacturing and fabrication developments, read our forthcoming material innovation debrief from Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018.

2. Issey Miyake explores identity through technology

My First Me by Masahiko Sato for Issey Miyake, Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018 My First Me by Masahiko Sato for Issey Miyake, Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018
My First Me by Masahiko Sato for Issey Miyake, Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018 My First Me by Masahiko Sato for Issey Miyake, Milan Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018

Milan – Fashion brand Issey Miyake worked with Japanese artist Masahiko Sato to create the thought-provoking installation My First Me. Presented in the brand’s Milanese store, the project explored the potential of new technologies to change our sense of self.

Sato referenced the first voice recorders as a powerful example of this dynamic, arguing that the experience of listening to one’s own voice enables us to perceive it more objectively and to get to know ourselves better.

The installation focused on how newer technologies such as face and fingerprint authentication, DNA testing and other biometric verification mechanisms could also shape a different understanding of ourselves. One of the artworks, Pool of Fingerprints, featured a large screen displaying hundreds of fingerprints moving in organic patterns. Visitors were asked to submit their own fingerprint, which then appeared on screen and joined the movement of the group. While visitors were no longer able to distinguish their own fingerprint, they could always recall it by placing their finger on the sensor. On this cue, their fingerprint returned to the bottom of the screen.

The project highlights the permanence and infallibility of using biometric data and explores the emotional implications of using our bodies as authentication tools. For more on how brands are questioning the long-term impacts of new technologies, read our Morality Recoded macrotrend.

3. A non-alcoholic drink infused with cannabis

US – Blue Moon founder Keith Villa has crafted a cannabis-infused beer aimed at those tribes searching for alcohol alternatives.

The brewmaster, who left Blue Moon in January 2018, has launched the new drinks start-up Ceria Beverages. The company is the first to develop non-alcoholic drinks containing THC, a key psychoactive chemical derived from the cannabis plant. Working closely with ebbu, a cannabinoid research company, Ceria will produce beers in three strengths: light, regular and full-bodied.

In comparison to the growing rise in CBD and non-psychoactive products, the drinks are designed to deliver a physical high with the same onset time as alcohol. ‘Today, the opportunity and demand are here, inviting Americans to enjoy a more social way of consuming cannabis – by drinking rather than by smoking it or through the ingestion of edibles,’ says Villa.

Beer at Spritmuseum by Form Us With Love, Stockholm Beer at Spritmuseum by Form Us With Love, Stockholm

4. Sea Shepherd makes plastic sustainability emotive

The Plastic Ocean for Sea Shepherd by FF New York

Global – In an effort to encourage the use of sustainable plastics, Sea Shepherd has joined forces with FF New York to create a compelling video that communicates the damaging effects of plastic pollution on the ocean and its wildlife.

At first, the film appears to show the creatures swimming with ease, suggesting that they may be adjusting to their polluted living environment. But the film later reveals the true extent of their struggle as we begin to see the animals trapped and suffocated by the plastic detritus.

Alex Cornelissen, global CEO of Sea Shepherd, explains the importance of promoting these issues: ‘Plastics are invading the oceans on an unprecedented scale. It is wiping out ocean wildlife and taking over its habitat.’

The film taps into a wider aesthetic trend for digital animation to be used to create hyper-emotive visual languages, in this case by creating a visceral sense of the animals’ inability to breathe. In addition to creating pleasurable sensations through Visual ASMR, digital creatives are beginning to use visual stimuli to evoke more uncomfortable responses.

5. UK Millennials face being life-long renters

UK – Researchers at the Resolution Foundation predict that UK Millennials will be affected by the housing crisis until retirement age. The report estimated that the growing unaffordability of accommodation would result in housing benefit paid to pensioners rising from £6.3bn ($8.9bn, €7.2bn) in 2018 to £16bn ($22.7bn, €18.4bn) by 2060.

Recent reports suggest that Millennials will experience extreme financial difficulties continuing into the later stages of their lives. Proposals from the Resolution Foundation suggest short-term measures to ensure tenancies are more secure, but also acknowledge that landlords will probably oppose such changes.

With Millennials aspiring to many of the same markers of success as previous generations, it is important for brands to provide support in the transition to adulthood by addressing true-to-life narratives that confront real issues.

6. Thought-starter: Should we welcome more workplace surveillance?

With the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fast approaching, there is little consumer appetite for yet another technology unicorn to engage in personal profiling. But, argues foresight writer Peter Maxwell, is the workplace one place in which we should make an exception?

Communications technology has liberalised the future of work, allowing staff to collaborate more effectively, operate with flatter hierarchies and work more fluidly between the home and office. But has it improved the tone of our conversations, especially when it comes to gender relations?

As more and more of our work interactions take place across private digital channels, improper conduct can become opaque to those within an organisation that have been charged with eradicating it.

This phenomenon is recognised by leading workplace messaging app Slack. The brand is trialling a new tool that will analyse the way in which users, especially men, speak to their colleagues in order to highlight and correct incidences of gender bias. As several commentators have noted, this is likely to sound to many of Slack’s more than 6m daily active users like a new form of surveillance… but is this one instance in which greater oversight should be welcomed?

Read the full opinion here.

Live OS by Herman Miller, US Live OS by Herman Miller, US