News 23.10.2018

Need to Know

Dutch Design Week 2018 begins, Harry’s launches a female razor brand, Equinox offers wellness holidays.

Dutch Design Week 2018: Data Church reveals our invisible data

Data Church by Vito Boeckx

Eindhoven – Created by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Vito Boeckx, Data Church is a virtual reality installation that offers a sanctuary to reflect on our digital behaviour.

Despite continuously contributing to the mass flow of data, most people are unaware of their individual impact and input because such digital exchanges are never made visible. Boeckx says of the installation, presented at Dutch Design Week: ‘I want to make sense of something we cannot see or grasp.’

Visitors to the Data Church are requested to kneel at a Dataism altar while wearing a virtual reality headset. Tracked data from local wi-fi points are then translated into various buildings, forming a VR digital data city. As localised online activity intensifies, large neon-lit skyscrapers grow before the viewers’ eyes, allowing them to travel around this virtual, dynamic urban landscape to fully experience the continuous exchange of information.

As explored in the Foresight section of our macrotrend Morality Recoded, complex digital systems are now central to our lives and there is an increasing need to create visual metaphors to communicate these often intangible concepts.

Flamingo streamlines body hair care for women

Flamingo by Harry’s Flamingo by Harry’s
Flamingo by Harry’s Flamingo by Harry’s

US – Shaving start-up Harry’s has launched its first female-focused brand, Flamingo, designed to simplify the shaving process for women.

After discovering that more than a million women had signed up to Harry’s to order its high-quality offerings, the company’s brand strategist Allie Melnick and senior vice-president of R&D and design Brittania Boey decided to create a dedicated line of shaving products that respect women’s increasingly individual and nuanced relationships with body hair.

‘In creating Flamingo, we spent years speaking to hundreds of women to truly understand their needs and preferences in hair removal, and designed every aspect of our product suite with those needs in mind,’ says Boey. Flamingo provides a choice of a la carte products, allowing women to choose from individual razor blades, pastel-toned handles, at-home waxing strips, exfoliators, shaving gels and body lotions.

In our new microtrend Shaving Rebranded, we examine the brands reframing their messaging and campaigns in line with women’s evolving relationship with body hair.

Equinox expands into wellness tourism

US – Gym brand Equinox is moving further into the lifestyle space with the launch of a collection of bespoke travel experiences.

Having announced its intention to open a chain of luxury hotels by 2019, the brand has recently introduced domestic getaways in the US, alongside international breaks focused on fitness and wellness. Each trip will offer a unique itinerary inspired by the destination, with guests taking part in physical activity ranging from tailored fitness programmes to training with a champion athlete. Equinox will also offer one-to-one consultations, enabling guests to customise their trip based on their personal fitness and lifestyle goals.

Travellers now consider their holidays not only as a way to escape from hectic urban lifestyles but also as an opportunity to improve their holistic wellbeing. Read our Wellness Tourism market to explore how consumers’ growing interest in their health and fitness are making a mark in the travel and hospitality sectors.

Enchanted Hills by Noa, Italy

This lamp warns against excessive screen time

Skärmfri Lamp by Länsförsäkringar, Sweden

Sweden – Skärmfri – or screen free – is a smart lamp that doubles as a visual aid, helping families to limit their daily screen time while promoting face-to-face interactions.

Currently in beta mode, Skärmfri is connected via wi-fi to each family member’s personal devices. It allocates 30 minutes of screen time to each person, at which point the lamp’s colour changes from white to red. Created by the insurance company Länsförsäkringar, the lamp forms part of its digital health and wellness initiative, skärmhjälpen, or screen help, which encourages people to change their browsing habits to form more healthy, conversational bonds with their family.

In creating a physical object that sits in the home rather than an app that physically blocks screen usage, the lamp is able to assume the role of benevolent guardian, becoming part of the family unit. ‘Skärmfri is the objective family member that kindly hints when it’s time to go offline,’ the company explains in a press release.

With consumers questioning the impact of excessive screen time, brands in the digital space are rethinking their business models and products to ensure they encourage a healthy attitude to device usage. To read more about how to design technology for digital resistance, read our Opinion piece.

Stat: Humans are causing autonomous car crashes

Despite expectations that autonomous vehicles will reduce the number of car accidents annually, recent findings suggest it will be some time before human-operated and autonomous cars can exist harmoniously.

Since 2014, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has received 104 autonomous vehicle collision reports, including 49 so far in 2018. When exploring the reasons for collision, the report found that 57% involved other drivers rear-ending an autonomous vehicle, while 29% involved driverless vehicles being hit from the side.

While many consumers have been quick to question the competence of autonomous vehicles, the findings suggest that road users could benefit from education about how these vehicles work and operate on the road, with the aim of reducing the number of accidents.

Thought-starter: Is data reliance affecting brand creativity?

Mike Buonaiuto, executive director of communications agency Shape History, considers the impact of algorithms on the charity sector's creativity.

Companies such as Netflix have built their whole model around the idea of turning data into tangible products. ‘But while Netflix goes from strength to strength, is this data-driven approach to creative thought and expression good for all industries?’, asks Mike Buonaiuto, executive director of communications agency Shape History.

‘With legacy donations from older generations falling away, and scandals and transparency issues putting the third sector under scrutiny, charities must develop new ways of engaging their target audience with new techniques that don’t become tired,’ he says.

Yet, Buonaiuto explains, by taking its lead from platforms like Netflix, the charity sector is becoming stifled by shyness and defined by tried-and-tested decision-making. ‘In what should be a quest for innovation, playing it safe has become the motto on most charity marketing agendas.'

Read the full Opinion piece here.

Hand Play by Jesper Lindborg
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