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Coal Drops Yard opens for business, an eye-catching sustainability report and how beverages can integrate scent.

Coal Drops Yard is London’s newest retail district

Coal Drops Yard branding by Droga5, London Coal Drops Yard branding by Droga5, London
Coal Drops Yard branding by Droga5, London Coal Drops Yard branding by Droga5, London

London – The new shopping district has opened in King’s Cross with a host of independent retailers, restaurants and pop-ups on offer.

Following a successful campaign around the capital to drum up hype, which featured eye-catching branding from Droga5, Coal Drops Yard has opened for business. Heatherwick Studio has redesigned the set of historic buildings and railway arches, which were used to store London’s coal deliveries in the 19th century. The space is now home to more than 50 stores, restaurants and cafés, including brands Universal Works, Cubitts and Barrafina.

The development also includes an area for pop-ups, live events and experiential stores, curated by independent magazine KIOSK N1C. The dedicated street will encourage brands to use short-term leases and experiment with the spaces, as well as collaborate with the nearby Central Saint Martins college of art and design.

With traditional shopping malls fighting to retain their relevance, discover how retailers can adapt and thrive with our dedicated listicle.

This supermarket’s CSR report is a visual feast

MPREIS CSR Report by Moodley, Austria MPREIS CSR Report by Moodley, Austria
MPREIS CSR Report by Moodley, Austria MPREIS CSR Report by Moodley, Austria

Austria – The MPREIS supermarket chain is sharing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts through an design-led booklet.

After winning the Trigos – an Austrian award that is given to the country’s most socially-responsible companies – the chain enlisted branding agency Moodley to create the publication. Rather than confine the company's commitments to a bland PDF or small section of its website, MPREIS and Moodley have used simple visual language to portray CSR in a more appealing way, taking inspiration from the local region and the retailer’s restrained approach to its store architecture and design.

More accurately reflecting a lifestyle magazine than a business report, the supermarket will be using the booklet as a tool for internal communications among its 6,000 employees. As previously reported, sustainability is long overdue a rebrand. As CSR becomes increasingly intertwined with brands' identities, their visual language must tap into a vibrant New Consciousness aesthetic.

Haeckels wants to clean beaches around the world

Global – The English beauty company has turned its local Beach Clean initiative into a global loyalty program.

Haeckels has been rewarding local residents who take part in beach cleans around its coastal home of Margate with a free product from its skincare range. However, to make the initiative more powerful on a global scale, the retailer is encouraging people to clean a beach anywhere in the world, take a picture of their efforts and share it with Haeckels. They will then be incentivised with a 40% discount to use through the brand’s online shop.

With many of Haeckels’ products derived from the ocean – for example, a soap created from seaweed – the brand is demonstrating efforts to maintain the beauty of coastlines across the world. By turning a sustainability initiative into a loyalty program, the brand will also engage its current and future customers with such activities, while demonstrating its efforts as a Civic Brand.

Haeckels, UK Haeckels, UK

These natural drinks use scent to mimic flavour

Passionfruit flavoured water, Szent, US Passionfruit flavoured water, Szent, US
Mint flavoured water, Szent, US Mint flavoured water, Szent, US

Los Angeles – Szent’s beverage bottles feature a collar infused with natural oils, adding an olfactive element to plain drinking water.

While the bottles themselves are filled only with water, the range offers flavours such as mint and passionfruit, denoted by the coloured scent rings that sit at the neck of each bottle. The beverages evoke taste through the drinker’s sense of smell, which tricks the mind into tasting the flavour, while eliminating the use of sugar, artificial additives or calories. The drinks are being targeted at those wish to drink healthier beverages, but who find plain water uninspiring.

‘We've reached the limits of what today's flavoured beverages can offer. So we started thinking outside the bottle, and in the process realised how important your sense of smell is to the flavour experience,’ says Maddie Grandbois, chief creative officer at Szent.

The food and drink industry is following the lead of the beauty sector, which has already shown how new sensory touchpoints can entice and inspire consumers. For more, read our microtrend Multisensory Beauty.

Stat: Tablet ownership is on the decline

According to research by CivicScience, US adults are losing interest in tablet computers. While ownership peaked at 56% at the start of 2017, it appears to be on a downward trajectory. The study has attributed this decline to the rise in smartphone ownership, particularly those with larger screens, and an interest in touchscreen laptops.

Younger consumers are also driving this decline. While Generation X are the biggest users of tablets, 18 to 34-year-olds are less interested in this type of device, with 26% of Millennials reportedly holding an unfavourable opinion of the Apple iPad.

With smartphones becoming more sophisticated, we can anticipate that new, more immersive Interface technology will quickly become a reality. Our recent opinion piece by Lee Fasciani of Territory Projects discusses how these interfaces will mature in the years ahead.

Thought-starter: Is fashion negatively impacting mental health?

Georgina Johnson, founder of The Laundry, discusses the industry’s damaging culture of overwork and why fashion education needs to be reformed.

Johnson is the founder of The Laundry, an arts curation and collaboration platform for women that specifically focuses on black suffrage and people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

She recently put her couture label, Laundry Service, on hold, describing the pressure and lack of support she felt working in the fashion industry. ‘I realised that I didn't have enough support behind me and I was still working in a similar mode [to the one] I had been in at university. Except now, I don't have the same resources. I didn’t feel good and throughout my whole degree I was depressed. It was like a hangover from that time because I was still working in a similar way.’

Describing how fashion education and the industry itself are aligned, Johnson adds: ‘The thing that I still find toxic about education is that you’re always on a wheel. You’re never encouraged to take a break; it’s always excess. You see that mirrored in the industry – we're just producing at unfathomable levels and forgetting that there are actually people behind all of these brands. We put designers on these pedestals like they are machines, and they aren’t machines.’

Read the full Viewpoint here.

Memories 2017. Photography by Undine Markus Memories 2017. Photography by Undine Markus
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