Need to Know
28 : 11 : 18

Swedish homes form a scattered design museum, Netflix is voted the simplest brand in the world and BMW rethinks car interiors.

Libresse unashamedly celebrates the female vulva

Viva La Vulva by Libresse, Sweden

Sweden – A new ad by the feminine hygiene company is encouraging women and girls to feel more confident about their vulvas.

The company, known as Bodyform in the UK, has already tackled the taboo of periods. Now, for its line of personal hygiene products, it’s turned its attention to the stigma surrounding the vulva, citing that over half of women think theirs is imperfect. In response, Libresse has launched Viva la Vulva, a campaign film featuring a objects that resemble vulvas, such as oysters, grapefruits and fortune cookies, as well as women inspecting their own genitals.

Set against the song 'Take Yo Praise' by Camille Yarbrough, with lyrics such as ‘you make me glad I’m a woman’, Libresse hopes to alleviate women’s insecurity about the appearance of their vulva. According to a recent BBC News article, girls as young as nine are requesting labiaplasty, a surgery to reshape the lips of the vagina.

Brands that wish to challenge the taboo around feminine hygiene should not focus solely on menstruation, but address the vagina itself.

This design museum features real Swedish homes

The Home Viewing Exhibition, Sweden The Home Viewing Exhibition, Sweden
The Home Viewing Exhibition, Sweden The Home Viewing Exhibition, Sweden

Sweden – The Home Viewing Exhibitions turns real open houses into examples of modern Scandinavian culture.

The latest exhibition by the Swedish Design Museum is not in one place, but scattered around the country within a number of homes for sale. Referencing the Swedes’ penchant for visiting open houses for design inspiration, visitors will be able to step inside the homes of real people as a way to understand the country’s culture.

Featuring a hand-picked selection of homes, from rural villas to urban apartments, the exhibition – which is part of a tourism push from Visit Sweden – will also be accessible online. ‘Travellers around the world with an interest in design are curious of, and want to experience, Swedish lifestyle and culture. This is exactly what The Home Viewing Exhibitions will offer them,' says Jennie Skogsborn Missuna, CEO at Visit Sweden.

Consumers are increasingly seeking ways to learn about a country’s culture without the need to physically travel. This summer, Japan House opened its latest outpost in London.

Netflix is the world’s simplest brand

Global – The internet entertainment service has topped Siegel+Gale’s annual Global Simplicity Index for the first time, followed by Aldi and Google.

For this year’s poll, 15,000 people across nine countries, including the US, Europe, Asia, India and the Middle East, were asked to rate brands based on their simplicity. The top-ranked companies are thought to consistently deliver on their brand promise by providing clear, intuitive experiences.

The survey attributes Netflix’s rise from fourth place in 2017 to first place in 2018 to the platform’s ease of experience, which not only allows users to stream, pause and resume viewing content without commercials, but uses algorithms to track viewing patterns and help viewers decide what to watch next.

The results show how convenience is increasingly a major driver in brand loyalty, in many cases becoming more important than choice for consumers. In a similar vein, recently-launched paint brand Clare focuses on simple, fuss-free shopping by offering a limited number of paint colours.

Interactive Adventure by Netflix, US Interactive Adventure by Netflix, US

BMW adds a homely aesthetic to AVs

BMW Vision iNext BMW Vision iNext
BMW Vision iNext BMW Vision iNext

Germany – BMW i has announced it is releasing a highly automated, emission-free and fully-connected car that is designed like a living space on wheels.

The BMW Vision iNext, set for release in 2021, will provide passengers with the freedom to relax in a new type of mobile space. The rear of the vehicle has a particularly lounge-like character and features Shy Tech, an integrated invisible technology system that only appears when required. The driver’s area will also adapt based on different driving modes.

‘BMW i exists to generate creative, pioneering ideas that transform the way we think about mobility,’ says Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design. ‘The BMW Vision iNEXT marks another next big step on that journey of transformation, showing how more intelligent vehicles can make our lives easier and more beautiful.’

Developments like autonomous driving and connectivity are opening up possibilities for future vehicles by introducing the idea of leisure and rest to conventional automotive design. Recently, Ikea’s innovation lab Space10 imagined the future of self-driving vehicles with a series of speculative car interiors, such as a convenience store and a moving hotel.

Stat: Americans find more meaning in money than friends

Americans today are placing more value on their finances than their friends, according to a new report by Pew Research Center. When 4,867 US adults were asked what gave their lives meaning, 23% said money, while just 19% said friends. However, the most popular answer was family – cited by 69% of respondents. In addition, people who are married are more likely to value family and religion over those who are single.

With money taking precedence over friendship, the study shows how modern attitudes towards relationships are changing. In our macrotrend Neo-kinship, we explore the 21st century dissolution of close relationships, including how technology could replace our friends.

Thought-starter: Is silence the next luxury commodity?

Luxury homeowners are looking to reclaim domestic serenity with solutions that block out the bustle and bleeps of urban living, says foresight writer Holly Friend.

Our lives have become tainted by noise. According to data from the UN, 55% of the world’s population live in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. As the number of urban dwellers increases, so does noise pollution – an issue that has become so prevalent, scientists argue that peace and quiet has become a luxury commodity.

But this increase in background noise isn’t just a symptom of vibrant city surrounds. It’s also coming from within consumers' four walls, and specifically via connected devices. With more connected devices entering the home, the resulting speech, beeps and thrum emitted by these devices risks transforming the home from a peaceful space into an audio battleground.

From noise-masking new materials to high-end residential developments that shut out city sounds, discover how silence is becoming a luxury selling point in our Silent Homes microtrend.

Sleepbuds by Bose, US Sleepbuds by Bose, US