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A conversation table for coffee shops, BiteUnite offers co-working kitchens, Tinder launches a dating service for college students.

Imagining the sensorial future of retail spaces

Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger
Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger
Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger
Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger Plastic Rain by Andrés Reisinger

Barcelona – Designer Andrés Reisinger has created a series of digital retail concepts that transform the store into a meditative environment.

The digital image series, Plastic Rain, is complemented with ideas of how customers should experience each room. In one environment, Reisinger proposes that visitors leave their shoes in box in order to feel the long hair carpet against their feet. The images utilise 3D tools to bring sensuous textures to life, including balloons, liquid, material fringing and thick carpets.

Reisinger uses digital art and surrealism to envisage how our retail spaces would look without architectural limitations. Retailers must consider how they can embed tactility and sensory experiences in their physical stores, prioritising inspiration over sales per square foot.

BiteUnite creates a co-working kitchen for chefs

BiteUnite, San Francisco BiteUnite, San Francisco
BiteUnite, San Francisco BiteUnite, San Francisco

San Francisco – The Hong Kong-based company has opened its first US location, allowing chefs to effortlessly book kitchen and café space.

BiteUnite is a multi-use space that allows food entrepreneurs to book a fully-equipped kitchen and commercial space to publicise their offerings to customers, something that can be hard to achieve without funding. By connecting chefs with customers, they can gain real feedback and fast-track the process of starting a culinary business.

An accompanying online platform makes the booking process seamless, where they can make selections to personalise their space such as having a communal table for cooking classes or 24-hour access to the kitchen for baking.

The food and drink sector is increasingly drawing inspiration from Silicon Valley and creating incubators to foster collaboration in the kitchen. For more, read our Edible Incubators microtrend.

Costa wants to spark conversations among strangers

UK – The coffee chain is rolling out the Chatty Café scheme to encourage its customers to start conversations.

Following a successful trial period this year, designated Chatter and Natter tables will be implemented at over 300 branches of Costa around the UK, suggesting customers sit at the table if they’re happy to chat. The scheme was created to connect strangers and help to address the loneliness crisis, an issue that is particularly prevalent among the elderly.

According to a study conducted by the coffee chain, nearly half (49%) of adults admit having face-to-face conservations on average fewer than six times a day, while 4% of respondents said they don’t have any. ‘With loneliness and social isolation on the rise, feeling part of a community is more important than ever,’ Victoria Moorhouse, head of sustainability at Costa Coffee says of the initiative.

As explored in our macrotrend Post-growth Society, organisations are finally focusing on our collective happiness over fleeting personal pleasures.

Costa Chatty Cafe Scheme, UK Costa Chatty Cafe Scheme, UK

Tinder U is a dating service for college students

Tinder U Tinder U

US – The dating platform is launching Tinder U, a version of the app that connects nearby college students.

Accessible through the Tinder app, users must sign up with a .edu email address and be geo-located on campus to be certified. They can then swipe as normal, but only from a pool of other college students at nearby schools.

According to Tinder, the feature will make it easier for students to make new friends and study buddies as well as romantic partners when they move to a new city, which often can be an alienating experience. While the UX is much like regular Tinder, the student’s university badge displays on their profile image.

By providing an exclusive space for college students, Tinder U is a similar concept to the original version of Facebook. For more on how consumer attitudes towards dating are changing, and how apps must keep up, read our Opinion piece Is Instagram really a dating app?

Stat: We’re still not comfortable talking about death

YouGov recently conducted the biggest UK study ever commissioned on attitudes towards death and bereavement on behalf of Co-op. With responses from 30,000 people, the study focused on death as a taboo subject, finding that almost 18 million people are uncomfortable talking about it.

The study also found that 93% of women have considered their own morality, a slightly higher number than men (91%). It also drew comparisons between the taboo around talking about death and people’s failure to plan ahead – 81% of people have not saved anything towards a funeral and only 27% have written a will.

In July, funeral company Funeralbooker, which eases the process of making funeral plans, rebranded as Beyond with a contemporary identity in order to encourage conversations around death that don’t revolve around sympathy.

Thought-starter: How important is the hotel gym?

Reluctant to abandon the fitness regimes that have become such an integral part of everyday life, gym enthusiasts are seeking hospitality experiences that facilitate a premium workout, says foresight writer Rhiannon McGregor.

For an increasing number of consumers, the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle even while away from home has become imperative. Although hospitality brands recognise the importance of upgrading their gym offering, the fitness industry is expanding beyond the everyday to provide consumers with specially curated travel experiences. Some 46% of US hotel guests travel with the intention of working out, according to Cornell University.

Hotel gyms have long been a staple of the hospitality industry, but as consumer expectations about health and fitness grow, forward-thinking brands are re-evaluating their offer to better align with a boutique gym experience.

‘Hotel brands will evolve beyond heads and beds in order to remain sticky and a brand of choice for those who really care about health and wellness,’ says Mia Kyricos, a global expert in wellness-driven hospitality, and president and CEO of Kyricos & Associates, a hospitality and wellness-focused strategic advisory firm.

Read the full Hospitality Fitness Market here.

The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills The Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
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