Need to Know
28 : 01 : 19

A driverless bar on wheels, Toyko Metro offers free food to reduce congestion and volunteering could help tackle the loneliness epidemic.

Nordic Health Lab lends healthcare a design-led aesthetic

Nordic Health Lab film by Lucy Hardcastle

Denmark – Nordic Health Lab, an experimental division of Nordsjællands Hospital that tests creative solutions to future health challenges has released a new video campaign that visualises its more holistic approach to medicine.

The animated film, created by Lucy Hardcastle Studio in partnership with ArtRebels, uses visual metaphors to reframe the meaning of good health. Inspired by concepts such as the Anthropocene, the interdisciplinary studio’s shape-shifting animations are intended to give form to the three pillars of the lab’s mission: humanity, nature and community.

By adopting a sensory aesthetic, the video reflects the way healthcare brands and medical services are taking visual cues from the lifestyle industries. This more design-focused approach to healthcare not only echoes Nordic Health Lab’s experimental approach, but also a wider move to destigmatise medical products and rebrand them as human and emotional. For more, explore our Soft Aid design direction.

A driverless bar on wheels that delivers cocktails on demand

Guido, a project by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati with Makr Shakr, renderings by Gary di Silvio (CRA) with Carlo Turati and Marco Conte (Makr Shakr) Guido, a project by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati with Makr Shakr, renderings by Gary di Silvio (CRA) with Carlo Turati and Marco Conte (Makr Shakr)
Guido, a project by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati with Makr Shakr, renderings by Gary di Silvio (CRA) with Carlo Turati and Marco Conte (Makr Shakr) Guido, a project by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati with Makr Shakr, renderings by Gary di Silvio (CRA) with Carlo Turati and Marco Conte (Makr Shakr)

Turin – Italian design firm Carlo Ratti Associati has revealed a design concept for a self-driving bar unit operated by a robot.

The concept for the bar on wheels, named Guido, has been developed in partnership with Makr Shakr, an industry leader in robotic bar systems. Comprising a unit featuring two mechanical arms that can precisely prepare and serve any drinks combination in seconds, the bar is mounted on a self-driving platform.

Much like ride-hailing services such as Uber, an affiliated app allows anyone to book the bar on demand. Once the bar arrives, consumers use the app to order a drink, which will verify their age and let them pay via their smartphone.

The project re-imagines the future of autonomous vehicles and reveals the potential of driverless technology to transform leisure in cities. Visit our dedicated Far Futures vertical for more on the future of mobility.

Tokyo commuters get free noodles to travel off-peak

Tokyo – The city’s metro system hopes to reduce congestion by working with local restaurants to offer free food vouchers.

Trains on the Tozai line operate at 199% capacity at morning rush hour, according to a Tokyo Metro spokesperson, making it an unpleasant experience for commuters. In an effort to stem the flow of passengers, the metro is rewarding people who change their commute times to off-peak hours for 10 consecutive days with food vouchers.

The vouchers can be redeemed for buckwheat soba noodles and tempura at local restaurants. The government is also running a similar campaign in preparation for the crowds of the 2020 Olympic Games, which encourages businesses to offer flexible working hours for their employees. Nearly 1,000 workplaces have agreed to let workers commute earlier or later than usual.

In order to make cities a healthier place to live, brands and governments are rolling out creative new initiatives that prioritise citizens’ wellbeing.

Little Tong Noodle Shop, New York

Airbnb is taking over a small Italian village

The Italian Sabbatica for by Airbnb, Grottole

Grottole, Italy – The home-sharing company wants to revitalise the village of Grottole, which has more than 600 homes sitting empty.

In a project called The Italian Sabbatical, Airbnb is inviting four people to become temporary citizens of the village in order to support the local community. The temporary citizens will get the opportunity to experience typical Italian life, with language lessons, training in growing local vegetables and one-to-one cooking all included in the three-month experience.

The arrangement will also see the four people set up Airbnb Experiences to promote tourism to the area. In addition, Airbnb is providing the funding for the village to convert three buildings into a new community centre. ‘[The mayor] was looking, not for tourists, but people to enjoy and be part of the community,’ says Federica Calcaterra, PR manager at Airbnb Italy.

With rural villages lying vacant over the world, travel and hospitality brands are stepping in to turn ghost towns into tourism opportunities.

Stat: Nearly four in 10 Britons volunteer

Almost four in 10 (38%) of Britons have volunteered in the past 12 months, according to a new survey of more than 10,000 people by YouGov for NCVO. The survey also found that volunteering has personal health benefits as well as social – 77% of respondents found that it improved their mental health, and more than half (53%) said it improved their physical health.

Loneliness is a problem that can be alleviated through volunteering, especially among young people. The study found that for 77% of 18–24-year-olds volunteering had helped to combat their sense of isolation. ‘There is an emerging body of evidence that suggests volunteering can improve your mental health and the language I have read is that it can help with depression, life satisfaction and wellbeing,’ said Karl Wilding, NCVO’s policy and volunteering director.

In the future, collective happiness will become an increasingly important way to measure progress, as governments fight to tackle dangerous rates of loneliness. For more, read our macrotrend Post-growth Society.

Thought-starter: How can hotels encourage guests to connect?

Luxury hotels, well-versed in anonymity, are inviting guests to leave their inhibitions at the check-in desk and embark on chance encounters.

Unwilling to settle for a less-than-perfect holiday, or to wait around for a suitable partner to join them, more people than ever are travelling solo. In 2018, roughly one in four people (25%) said they would travel solo, according to marketing firm MMGY Global.

‘Solo travel is no fleeting fad’, says Anna Hart, travel columnist for The Telegraph. ‘Hoteliers and tour operators need to start treating solo travellers less like an anomaly, and more like the customer base of the future.’

In response, high-end hotels are developing virtual lobbies and social experiments to encourage solo travellers to make unexpected connections with fellow guests.

Exclusively available for those staying at The Standard’s High Line boutique hotel, The Lobby is a new app that encourages guests to create a digital alias, revealing as much – or as little – about their identity as they wish. They can engage in chatroom conversations with other guests in the hotel, or invite them to meet in real life in The Standard’s various social spaces.

Read the full microtrend here.

If It’s Meant to Be film by Virtue, Park MGM, Las Vegas
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