Need to Know
17 : 05 : 18

17.05.2018 Travel : Hospitality : Technology

Hoshino offers affordable hotels to leisure travellers, Studio Drift visualises nature with technology, Instagram enables in-app payments.

1. Hoshino opens affordable hotels across Japan

OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka, Hoshino Resorts, Japan. OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka, Hoshino Resorts, Japan.
OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka, Hoshino Resorts, Japan. OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka, Hoshino Resorts, Japan.
OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka, Hoshino Resorts, Japan. OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka, Hoshino Resorts, Japan.
OMO7 Asahikawa, Hoshino Resorts, Japan. OMO7 Asahikawa, Hoshino Resorts, Japan.

Japan – The luxury hotel group has launched OMO, a new collection of design-led hotels that will cater for a spectrum of travellers.

Located in cities across Japan, the new Hoshino brand will focus on creating personal, tourism-orientated experiences for guests that typically stay in business or mid-range hotels. Offering varied facilities, from cafés to bars, each OMO hotel will provide a different experience unique to each city. OMO7 in Asahikawa features modular Danran rooms, with fold-away tables, while its facilities include a restaurant, bar and café. OMO5 in Tokyo prioritises room design by replicating yagura – a traditional Japanese wooden tower – with a bed on stilts that provides guests with more floor space.

As notions of luxury change, high-end hotel brands are becoming inspired by the philosophy of less, enabling them cater for a wider scale of budgets.

2. Studio Drift breathes life into data

Coded Nature by Studio Drift, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Amsterdam – Artistic collective Studio Drift has launched Coded Nature, its first solo show, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Exploring the evolution of relationships between humans, nature and technology, the show presents previously unseen work, together with a selection of films. A notable work in the show is Concrete Storm, an interactive augmented reality (AR) project and the first AR art piece designed for the Microsoft HoloLens, which translates data through technology to breathe life into objects as the viewer interacts with them, augmenting the physical environment of the installation.

As witnessed in Archive Dreaming by Refik Anadol, artists are exploring how to interpret and communicate data visually. We explore this further in our recent Q&A with sound artist and researcher of critical data analytics, Wesley Goatley.

3. Streamlined payments launched on Instagram

Global – The photo-sharing platform has quietly launched a payment feature that lets some US and UK users make purchases without leaving the app.

The new functionality enables users to permanently store their card details on the app, from which they can make instant payments to service providers such as hairdressers and nail salons. Participating companies will provide an internal booking system on their profile, enabling users to select a service and appointment time. In addition, the payment feature can monitor users’ purchase activity and provides extra security through a PIN entered while paying.

Social commerce brand Mikmak recently demonstrated how to make transactions a seamless, almost subconscious endeavour by enabling retailers to sell directly to consumers by attaching a customised URL to social video content.

Instagram payments. Instagram payments.

4. Photographer creates digital-deceptive imagery

The Robot Next Door by Niko Photographisme, France. The Robot Next Door by Niko Photographisme, France.
The Robot Next Door by Niko Photographisme, France. The Robot Next Door by Niko Photographisme, France.
The Robot Next Door by Niko Photographisme, France. The Robot Next Door by Niko Photographisme, France.

France – Photographer Niko Photographisme’s latest series, The Robot Next Door, questions whether humans will be able to distinguish reality from enhanced imagery in a digitally driven future world.

Using scrap machinery from washing machines, pipes and electrical wires, Niko built mechanical limbs to mimic a robotic figure. After photographing a series of models, he used photo-manipulation to superimpose the robotic parts onto the human bodies to create a ‘true’ image, despite their appearance of being computer-generated images.

‘We live in a world of appearances. In real life and the digital world we play roles and characters. But appearances are often false or deceptive,’ the photography tagline reads.

During the recent IAM Weekend in Barcelona, the power of science fiction in shaping discourse around the future was a notable theme. CGI artist Alan Warburton presented work that explored the evolution of computer-generated imagery as it moves beyond the Uncanny Valley. For more, read our IAM debrief here.

5. Americans demand action to protect the planet

New research from Pew Research Center suggests that Americans believe their government should be doing more to protect the environment.

The national survey of more than 2,000 participants found that citizens wanted more protective action on key aspects of the environment, including air quality (64%) and water quality in rivers, lakes and streams (69%).

The research comes at a time when businesses are increasingly stepping in to support social or environmental causes, where local governments are failing to do so. Seen in practice, outdoor clothing company Patagonia recently launched a microsite to unite activists with others in their community, in order to take action on causes they care about.

6. Thought-starter: Does the supplements industry need to embrace experts?

With two-thirds of UK adults taking vitamins or supplements daily or occasionally, the global dietary supplement industry is set to be worth £205.68bn ($278.02bn, €233.95bn) by 2024 (sources: Mintel, Grand Review Research). Visual researcher Jessica Smith explores how to establish credibility for these growing products.

Unlike prescription drugs, whose claims and safety have to be proven before they can be sold, supplements are barely subjected to government scrutiny. The issue of credibility is now being further compounded by the mass of celebrities, health bloggers and beauty businesses launching their own Instagram-friendly brands or providing endorsement to third parties. To settle fears about the safety and effectiveness of the products being promoted, we need more doctors in the conversation.

Seeking to overcome this, Brendan Murdock launched anatomë, a new retail space that aims to educate consumers by guiding them on which own-brand vitamins and nutrients would be suitable to them. With an army of in-house nutritionists and practitioners, consumers are able to understand their specific health needs without being sold merely on savvy marketing tactics.

Read the full opinion here.

Care/of, US Care/of, US