Hong Kong – This colourful dining space is reinventing Chinese desserts for the modern era.
Located in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, Eat Darling Eat challenges the conventional flavours, shapes and colours of local desserts, creating visually arresting alternatives such as Sichuan pepper ice cream with candied bacon and papaya soup with snow fungus and mascarpone.
Deviating from the often nostalgic identity of dessert bars, the space has a postmodernist interior punctuated by concrete details and fluorescent-coloured abstract art. ‘We wanted to create a provocative setting that would mirror the imaginative and experimental desserts,’ says architect Nelson Chow. ‘A postmodernist desserts laboratory provides the perfect backdrop.’
While some restaurants have downsized their dessert menus to save both business costs and customers' waistbands, others like Eat Darling Eat are exploring sense-driven ways to reintroduce excitement to sweet menus.
The Hoxton creates a workspace for side hustling
Working From_ by The Hoxton, Chicago
Working From_ by The Hoxton, Chicago
Chicago – The hotel group has created a shared workspace brand called Working From_, inspired by its open-door hotel lobbies.
While The Hoxton’s lobbies have been used as the unofficial workspaces of many freelancers since 2006, the brand is now taking the insights from this customer base to launch a dedicated co-working brand. Members gain access to public or private desks, ergonomic chairs, biophilic planting and wellness programmes, as well as discounted rates at Hoxton hotels and restaurants.
The first space has opened in the brand’s new Chicago hotel. It will be followed by an outpost in London's Southwark, opening in September 2019, with both offering flexible membership models according to the different needs of remote workers. Those who only require a desk on evenings and weekends, dubbed side hustlers, can access Working From_ with a lower rate of £75 ($95, €85) per month.
This flexible pricing highlights the ways in which remote and co-working is becoming more inclusive, driven by initiatives focused on community and access. For more, read our microtrend Inclusive Nomadism
Ikea taps into brainwaves to prevent resale
Brussels – Using brain sensing technology, the home and interiors retailer is ensuring customers are emotionally attracted to its products before making a purchase.
In a playful collaboration with Ogilvy Social.Lab for the Ikea Art Event Collection 2019, the retailer debuted a limited-edition collection of rugs designed by creatives such as Virgil Abloh and Craig Green. To stop people from simply buying the rugs for the purpose of resale, Ikea instead turned to technology that measures the brain activity of potential shoppers.
Those wishing to make a purchase were required to wear brainwave and heart monitors, which measured their emotional reactions to the products. Only those whose experienced an emotional upswing of over 70% were able to make a purchase.
In our upcoming interview with Ivy Ross, vice president of hardware design at Google, we examine the potential for brands to incorporate such neuroaesthetics into the design of retail or home environments.
He(art) Scanner by Ikea and Ogilvy Social Lab Brussels
An anti-choice furniture brand for modern living
Bundle by Resident
Bundle by Resident
US – As part of its rebranding program, home furnishing retailer Resident has launched a streamlined sofa brand called Bundle.
The direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand has launched with just two seating options: a simple sofa available in four colourways and a beanbag. It is the most recent addition to parent company Resident's portfolio, which includes other niche brands dedicated to offering a single, practical and high-quality product, such as Awara mattresses and Wovenly rugs.
‘Our approach is unique to the direct-to-consumer space because we offer multiple brands in any given category, like our four mattresses,’ says co-founder Craig Schmeizer. ‘This DTC brand-building model lets us cater to specific consumer needs better than our competitors.’
At a time of peak stuff, home decor brands like Bundle and Clare are removing excessive choice from the buying process in favour of giving shoppers a more focused experience.
Stat: Eatertainment impacts the restaurant sector
Eatertainment – a type of experience in which food and entertainment are combined – is gaining popularity among Americans seeking fun group outings, according to Technomic managing principal Joe Pawlak.
During a presentation at the National Restaurant Association Show, Pawlak reported that 70% of consumers prefer to visit eatertainment formats over typical casual dining restaurants when eating in a group.
With younger diners and families in particular seeking out these types of venues, restaurants are responding to demand. Alongside concepts such as Two Bit Circus, a micro amusement park with robot bartenders, restaurants are aligning activities such as archery, escape rooms and even axe throwing alongside dining experiences.
For more on how such hybrid experiences will dominate tomorrow's cultural landscape, read our Experience 2020 report.
Thought-starter: How can brands thrive in China’s e-commerce market?
Poised to surpass the US in retail sales in 2019, China’s progressive consumption culture has not only created the world’s largest e-commerce market, but one that is at the forefront of retail innovation.
Across China, retail continues to power transformational change. The country is already the world’s leading market for e-commerce, mobile payments and the sharing economy, but in 2019, it is set to overtake the US as the largest retail market.
For China’s hyper-connected consumers, their mobile phones are a primary means to access the internet and make purchases online, with mobile emerging as the fastest-growing retail channel in the country. Among China’s Generation Z consumers in particular, traditional paths to purchase are being replaced by messaging, live-streaming and social media.
‘The young generation is leading the trend for a consumption upgrade, and they’re a consumer group that we can’t ignore,’ says Zhang Xiaobo, a general manager at video streaming site iQiyi.