Haining, China – Lukstudio has designed the store for fashion platform Dear So Cute, imagining the retail space as a theatre.
The store, located in Haining, was inspired by the Chinese city’s cultural tradition of shadow puppetry. Lukstudio installed a series of steel boxes to mimic a theatre set, breaking up the open floor into smaller rooms. Windows frame these spaces, giving shoppers a peek of Dear So Cute’s collections, while doorways provide a path for visitors to explore the space.
The store also includes a café, which has been staged to turn diners into an audience that can watch shoppers as they browse. With its voyeuristic approach to store design, Lukstudio is tapping into the benefits of Inspiration Per Square Foot, creating a retail space that encourages discovery while also celebrating local history.
3D printing can reduce food waste
3D-printed food snacks by Elzelinde van Doleweerd
3D-printed food snacks by Elzelinde van Doleweerd
The Netherlands – Elzelinde van Doleweerd has joined forces with a Chinese technology company to create snacks that are 3D-printed from leftover food.
In collaboration with the 3D Food Company – which has been experimenting with the process since 2015 – the snacks include crackers made from waste rice and purple sweet potatoes. To start the process, Van Doleweerd, a graduate from Eindhoven University of Technology, mashes together the ingredients to create a smooth paste, which can then be printed and baked. After baking, the crackers are dehydrated, which means no bacterial activity can take place and the food is safe to eat for a long time.
‘Looking at the growing population, more food is needed in the future, but on the other hand, one third of the food produced is wasted nowadays,’ says Van Doleweerd. ‘With the use of new technologies, I want to explore societal food challenges.’
US – A recent study by the University of Michigan challenges the myth that buying luxury items can impress others.
To conduct the study, social psychologist Stephen Garcia set up hypothetical scenarios in which he asked participants what they would do in one of two roles – to make friends or to evaluate potential friends. Garcia found that 65% of respondents would travel to a wedding party in a luxury car, over a basic car, in order to make friends. However, the luxury car owners were deemed less socially appealing than basic car owners.
The rest of the results followed a similar pattern, hypothesising that people generally prefer those who do not flaunt their wealth. ‘People think… that status is going to attract new friends,’ Garcia told The Atlantic. ‘However, it actually has the opposite effect – people would rather befriend, in a conversation or in an interaction, someone who doesn’t display [high-]status, but rather more neutral markers.’
We’re entering an era in which the social values linked to material goods are evolving. For more on how this will affect traditional markers of luxury, explore our macrotrend Uneasy Affluence.
Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield documents the absurdity of 20th-century capitalism
Facebook enters the home assistant market
Portal by Facebook
US – The social network has launched its first technology product – a video calling device that connects families and friends.
Portal is a smart device for the home, complete with webcam and screen, that users can activate with voice commands. The addition of artificial intelligence (AI) means that the camera can follow the caller around the room, allowing for more natural conversation. Users are also able to call friends and family without a Portal device by using the Facebook Messenger platform.
Although Portal is arguably a competitor to Amazon’s home devices, Facebook has chosen to incorporate its Alexa system into the device. This turns the Portal into a home assistant, allowing users to check the weather, request sports scores or order groceries.
According to Bloomberg, Portal was originally scheduled to be launched in March 2018, but was delayed due to the unfolding Cambridge Analytica scandal. To address this, Portal features security measures such as the ability to easily disable the camera and microphone.
As living arrangements diversify, brands are helping families connect through Telepresence Tech.
Stat: A sustainable attitude is an attractive trait
A new study by JWT analysing consumers in the UK, the US, Australia and China highlights the global movement towards sustainable living. Some 92% of respondents said they try to live more sustainably, while JWT reports that green living, including growth in veganism, is also expanding beyond the West. In China, for example, veganism is expected to rise by 17% by 2020.
This mindset is also extending to dating, with more than two-thirds (79%) of respondents stating that caring about the environment is a trait they look for in a potential partner.
As people lose interest in appearance-driven dating apps, niche alternatives such as Grazer are emerging specifically for audiences such as vegans. Social platforms are also hoping to unite users through their interests, with Facebook recently launching its Dating feature.
Thought-starter: Are women driving the cannabis market?
With the pharmaceutical industry under scrutiny for not accommodating women’s needs, foresight writer Rhiannon McGregor explores how female consumers are turning to marijuana as their favoured approach to wellness.
Fuelled in part by women’s use of cannabis as a health product to treat the symptoms of menstruation and menopause, for example, the US legal cannabis market is predicted to grow to £30.8bn ($40bn, €34.8bn) in 2021.
Catering for women in particular, a host of new publications and platforms are emerging that address the idea of self-care through cannabis. Producer and distributor of health and wellness cannabis products, 48North, recently launched its new platform Latitude, which celebrates the real-life stories of women using cannabis to improve their health and wellbeing.
In recognition of the fact that men and women metabolise and therefore react to cannabis very differently, Fleurish Cannabis, due to be launched later in 2018, has conducted extensive research to ensure that its products, such as pre-rolled joints, are specifically suited to women and their health and wellness needs.