Milan 2019: Google data suggests how design can improve wellbeing
Milan - Appearing at Milan Design Week, A Space For Being by Google explores the potential of neuroaesthetics to show how physiological changes of the body respond to design.
Working in collaboration with the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University, visitors were fitted with a wristband to capture biological data, measuring their heart rate, temperature and breathing. They were then guided through three different domestic rooms, each designed to elevate the senses through visual, tactile, sound and olfactory stimuli. Physiological response data was captured throughout the experience to provide the visitor with an understanding of which space they were most at ease within, based on their neurological reaction.
In line with our latest design direction Digital Dialogues, Google understands the importance of creating a new visual language to make the intangible tangible, providing each visitor with a personalised visual representation of their data to communicate their individual experience.
As neuroscience becomes increasingly mainstream in brand marketing, future-facing companies and consumers will benefit from these hyper-personalised experiences and services, allowing them better serve their subconscious preferences.
Milan 2019: Water creates an interface between humans and technology
Milan – Is Memory Data? explores whether water could be used as a way to bridge physical and virtual reality.
Created by The Dornbracht Research Lab, a new innovation arm of kitchen and bathroom brand Dornbracht, the exhibition at Milan Design Week 2019 enables individuals to understand how virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) realities could elevating our future cleansing rituals.
Central to the exhibition is Hyper Fountain, an immersive VR experience that lets the viewer experience water in a subversive way. A virtual representation of a sink is visible in VR, with the wearer simultaneously washing their hands in a physical basin. Various emotive textures, shapes and symbols appear on screen to represent water, neurologically tricking the brain into thinking these visual and touch senses are connected. Post-experience, people report feeling calmer, meditative and like the water is still running, even when their hands are dry, highlighting a potential creative, digital solution to reducing water consumption.
Although currently a concept, the development of unobtrusive AR suggests how this concept could evolve to improve physical and mental wellbeing in daily cleansing rituals.
As the gap between the physical and digital realms becomes increasingly fluid, brands are having to consider how static products can fit into an era of Programmable Realities. For more on this, look out for our viewpoint with Mike Meiré who created the installation for Dornbracht.
Puma designs an augmented reality shoe
Germany – The sportswear brand has launched an augmented reality shoe called LQD Cell Origin AR, which incorporates QR codes into its design.
By downloading the proprietary Puma LQD Cell app, users can scan the QR code-enabled shoe to play interactive games, as well as access filters and add effects to pictures and videos of the product. Uniquely, users do not need the physical shoe to activate the features and can also trigger the AR content by scanning an image of the product on a screen.
According to the brand, the LQD Cell Origin AR shoe is Puma’s ‘answer to a world in which the line between reality and the virtual realm becomes increasingly blurred’.
In our Programmable Realities macrotrend, we explore how the rise of reactive new materials and technologies is transforming physical consumer touchpoints, which are increasingly no longer fixed, but in a constant state of flux.
Bianco’s campaign tells Millennials to stop overthinking
Denmark – Awkwardness leads two strangers to miss out romance in the latest campaign from footwear brand Bianco.
The campaign, Step Out of Your Head, encourages consumers to silence their inner critic and let go of perceived insecurities that hold them back from serendipitous life experiences. A short film entitled The Lift shows the message in action, following a man and woman who silently ride the lift together at work, both on the verge of a romantic encounter but held back by their thoughts.
The film is accompanied by a visual campaign featuring models wearing Bianco shoes, accessorised with thought bubbles such as ‘when you really like her but then you accidentally liked her picture from two years ago and now everything is ruined’.
‘In today’s society, we’re spoiled for choice and presented with thousands of possibilities every day. And in some way or another, we’ve all held ourselves back by overthinking,’ says the brand. For more on the pervasiveness of avoidance culture and why it's time for brands to help consumers step out of their comfort zones, read our macrotrend Resilience Culture.
Stat: Singledom is on the rise among young Americans
New data released by General Social Survey finds that more than half of young Americans said they did not have a steady romantic partner in 2018. This figure is up significantly from 33% in 2004.
With singledom rising to a record high among all age groups, 35% of the general public say they have no steady partner. Between genders, a higher proportion of men (42%) than women (31%) were found to be single. Factors contributing to the increase in single Americans are thought to include individuals choosing to delay marriage as well as child-bearing.
As more adults embrace the single life, brands are having to re-think their communications around relationships. For more on this societal shift, read our Uncoupled Living macrotrend.
Thought-starter: Will K-beauty take over in the West?
K-beauty retailers are transforming from importers of goods to skincare brands in their own right, says Daniela Walker, with private-label launches made just for the Western market.
In the past 10 years, Korean – or K-beauty – brands have gone from being niche products that could only be purchased on a trip to South Korea to mainstream names and cult products like Dr Jart and Benton’s Snail Bee Mask.
Dedicated K-beauty e-commerce sites such as Peach & Lily, Memebox and Soko Glam have been critical in bringing Korean brands and beauty regimens to Western consumers. As retailers, they have acted as educators and curators of products, but now they are applying their expertise on Asian products to the skincare needs of a far wider community. The result is, by definition not K-beauty, but product lines that act as a next generation of beauty inspired by Korean innovation, ingredients and rituals.
For example, Then I Met You offers an oil-based cleansing balm and a tea cleansing gel, mimicking the Korean two-step cleansing routine. It also celebrates the Korean principle of jeong, or the cultivation of deep bonds with others, offering tips for its customers to care for others – but nowhere does it call itself K-beauty.
Read the full microtrend here.