Need to Know
27 : 06 : 18

Stella McCartney reduces shoppers' exposure to pollution with air filters, Beck’s transforms beer cans into champagne flutes, Kickstarter encourages small start-ups to get involved.

Purified air enhances Stella McCartney’s retail space

Stella McCartney Store, Old Bond Street, London
Stella McCartney Store, Old Bond Street, London
Stella McCartney Store, Old Bond Street, London

London – British fashion label Stella McCartney is highlighting its environmental and sustainability credentials with a new retail space that promises the cleanest air in London.

Levels of nitrogen dioxide inside stores on Oxford Street in London are found to be similar to those at street level. With the Stella McCartney store on Old Bond Street just a few minutes away, the brand has collaborated with Airlabs to reduce shoppers’ exposure to air pollution. Airlabs has installed custom-made, nano-carbon filters into the store’s ventilation system, which clean more than 1,800 cubic metres of air per hour, with very low energy consumption. The ease and flexibility of the system means that such air cleaning could be scalable to other retail spaces or heavily-polluted regions.

Indoor air pollution is totally unregulated, and more research is urgently needed to assess the full cost to our health over a day, not just the pollution we breathe outdoors’, saysSophie Power, CEO and co-founder of Airlabs. For more on how clean air can enhance the retail experience, read our interview with Sophie Power.

Beck’s switches beer cans for champagne flutes

Le Becks, Beck's, Germany

Germany – Beck’s latest premium beer container echoes the shape of a champagne flute in an effort to position the drink as a premium product.

Designed by creative agency Serviceplan, the special-edition beer flute marks a departure from the category’s conventional cans, which have remained the same for the last seven decades. The flute embodies a more luxurious design aesthetic with surface engravings and a brushed aluminium finish applied using a precision laser. Beck’s plans to distribute the flutes, which contain its premium Le BECK’s beer, for use in more sophisticated cultural environments such as art galleries and classical concerts, as well as special events.

Following a positive response to the flutes in its native Germany, Beck’s is now considering mass manufacturing of the product to potentially roll out to the rest of the globe.

To explore how packaging can both elevate and democratise a product, read our Accessible Premium micro trend.

Blinking exposes AI-generated DeepFakes content

Global – Three researchers in the US have identified a method to detect inauthentic videos produced using DeepFakes image synthesis software.

The infamous software uses face-swapping to create fake news videos or, in some cases, pornographic content featuring famous people. Such clips have been studied by researchers at the University at Albany, who propose that you can identify a forged video by measuring how often a subject blinks.

According to their academic paper, humans tend to blink 17 times a minute, while AI-generated faces often fail to blink due to the lack of images available online with a person’s eyes shut. Once noticed, the absence of blinking can be an tool to help identify fake clips.

During the recent IAM Weekend in Barcelona, CGI artist Alan Warburton addressed how computer-generated content has become so advanced that it may no longer elicit any hint of fake-ness. This development raises concerns about the ability to distinguish real from enhanced imagery, and how digital training may be essential in our technology-driven – and enhanced – future.

Mudafossil, Ash Koosha

Kickstarter refocuses attention on smaller start-ups

Envelope Bag, Quickstarter, Kickstarter Envelope Bag, Quickstarter, Kickstarter
Studio Offcuts Tangrams, Quickstarter, Kickstarter Studio Offcuts Tangrams, Quickstarter, Kickstarter

US – The crowdfunding platform is going back to basics with a new campaign focused on supporting smaller, creative ideas, in line with its original purpose.

Having supported an array of high-profile product launches, Kickstarter’s new Quickstarter campaign will shine a light on small-scale business ventures. Devised in partnership with Oscar Lhermitte, a French designer based in London, the project sets out a specific set of rules for potential Quickstarter proposals. Projects should require a maximum of US $1,000 in funding, or the local currency equivalent, and should be completed within a limited timeframe of three months. In addition, Quickstarter has to be included in the campaign name and creators should not reach out to the press or media for support, unless contacted.

As businesses become increasingly driven by brand purpose, initiatives such as Quickstarter demonstrate the importance of campaigns that capture consumers’ imagination and sense of creativity over monetary measures of success.

YouTubers struggle to support their lifestyles

Despite the publicised success of YouTube stars such as Zoella and PewDiePie, a new study highlights that most YouTube vloggers aren’t as financially successful. For every ‘Zoella’, there is an estimated 28 other video-makers who don’t reach an income of £9,166 ($12,140, €10,404) a year directly through YouTube’s ad revenue.

While the study specifically explores the challenges faced by YouTubers, a recent opinion piece by The Future Laboratory writer Carla Seipp questions whether social influencers have lost their sway as consumers begin to see through the sheen of their lifestyles.

Thought-starter: Why hotels must do more for disabled guests

Bespoke Hotels Group co-founder and chairman Robin Sheppard on what is required to make hotels more inclusive for disabled people.

In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) came into force in the UK, making it essential for hotels to have disabled-compliant rooms. For some in the hospitality industry, it was perceived as a nuisance. Twenty-three years later, many hotels still struggle to provide high-quality experiences for disabled guests. ‘I recall reading that many people who were able-bodied, when offered a disabled room, said they didn’t want it because they felt it was a downgrade. Well, if an able-bodied person feels that way, how does a disabled person feel?’ says Sheppard.

‘My target is to make sure that no able-bodied person rejects a disabled room. This will mean making all aspects of the hotel a source of delight for those with disabilities – no more dowdy colour schemes, but a little more cool instead. In response to this, Bespoke Hotels put together a concept that has become the Bespoke Access Awards, with the aim of getting architects and interior designers to put some ‘wow’ into disabled rooms so that everyone appreciates them.’

Read the full interview with Robin Sheppard here.

Empathy through Aesthetics by MnM Studio Architects
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