Need to Know
08 : 08 : 19

Plants could become immersive interfaces, Frida highlights the raw realities of childbirth, and why America’s coastal cities are losing their allure.

Evenprime revamps K-beauty with an anime aesthetic

Evenprime, California
Evenprime, California
Evenprime, California

California – Evenprime is an American brand of skincare imbued with the nostalgic aesthetic of 1990s anime.

Drawing on Asian pop culture, its branding challenges packaging clichés and gender norms in the personal care industry. ‘We didn’t just want to sell soap. We wanted to sell a feeling,’ says co-founder Rickie Ashman. ‘As kids, our interest in fashion and beauty stemmed from playing games like Final Fantasy and watching shows like Sailor Moon. We decided to explore this tension in the hope of bringing people together.’

The unisex range of gentle, dermatologist-approved formulas have also been developed in collaboration with chemists in South Korea. Products feature hero K-beauty ingredients such as galactomyces ferment filtrate, antioxidant-rich botanical extracts derived from Kakadu plum and sea buckthorn, as well as niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. In a similar vein, our K-beauty Lite microtrend explores product launches inspired by K-beauty but made for a Western market.

Sonos explores music’s effect on the mind

The Brilliant Sound Experience by Sonos, London The Brilliant Sound Experience by Sonos, London
The Brilliant Sound Experience by Sonos, London The Brilliant Sound Experience by Sonos, London

London – To celebrate Google Assistant’s integration on Sonos devices, the audio brand has created an immersive, multi-sensory installation.

The three-day Brilliant Sound Experience deconstructed the listening experience and visualised music’s effects on the mind. Divided into two parts, the installation explored how sound becomes music and why music resonates on an emotional level. In the first section, Structure of a Song, visitors were invited to experience the layered composition of tracks from artists such as The National and Slowthai in order to explore the moment in which sound becomes music.

The second space, Emotion of Music, enabled visitors to see real-time visualisations of their brain’s reaction to music. To achieve this, visitors wore an EEG headband while listening to songs from British record company Beggars Group's portfolio of labels. As demand for memorable consumer experiences increases, brands such as Sonos are looking to technology to expand our understanding of sensory stimuli on our emotions.

Plants could be the interfaces of tomorrow

Massachusetts – MIT researchers have engineered ‘cyborg’ plants to act as an alternative to electronic screens.

In a process they call Cyborg Botany, researchers Harpreet Sareen and Pattie Maes have turned plants into sensors and displays. For one of the projects, they connected electrodes to a Venus Flytrap and Mimosa Pudica, allowing the plants to receive signals. Then, through an app, users can watch a live-stream of the plant and choose which leaves to close. This explores the possibility that plants can send notifications – for example, closed leaves could signal bad weather.

For a second project, the researchers grew a conductive wire inside the plant, turning it into an antenna or sensor that could send people an alert when detecting intruders. ‘Plants are self-repairing, self-regenerating organisms available at scale,’ the researchers say. ‘We envisage a convergent design world in which we reappropriate our natural capabilities for a new bio-interaction design.’

The project is not the only speculation of how we can turn plants into Immersive Interfaces – read our interview with Grow Your Own Cloud to see how plants can also store data.

Cyborg Botany by Harpreet Sareen and Pattie Maes, MIT

Frida Mom simplifies postpartum recovery

Miami – The team behind Frida Baby has launched a product line catering for the much-overlooked fourth trimester.

Frida Mom is a new line of products dedicated to postpartum mothers, many of whom return home from hospital with little support or advice on looking after their bodies after labour. With many turning to internet hacks for solutions, the Frida Mom collection aims to demystify the raw realities of the fourth trimester, with items such as disposable mesh underwear, ice maxi pads and perineal healing foam.

While the Frida brand is already known for its candid attitude to parenthood, CEO Chelsea Hirschhorn believes extending this to post-natal recovery – an entirely new category – will empower women at their most vulnerable. ‘The problem with postpartum recovery begins with a woman’s lack of knowledge and ability to prepare for what’s really about to go down. The intimidation factor – before, during and after – is debilitating,’ says Hirschhorn.

Frida is disrupting the feminine hygiene industry, challenging the taboos around the vagina, childbirth and early stages of parenthood.

Stat: Affluent Americans are uprooting to smaller cities

Sale prices of luxury homes in metropolitan areas are in modest decline, marking the first annual drop in recent years, according to a new report from Redfin. Although 24 metropolitan areas experienced double-digital growth in home sales, home sales fell in almost 40 West Coast US cities.

The study also found that US cities such as Phoenix, Austin and Virginia are experiencing higher demand, while coastal metropolises are losing their allure. ‘Many people are leaving places like New York and California, which have high taxes, in favour of places that don’t have an income tax,’ says Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. ‘We’re also seeing a lot of movement due to tech companies opening big offices outside of their headquarters.’

To see how this urban upheaval will affect sectors such as retail, hospitality and the workplace, attend our Luxury & Hospitality Futures Forum on 5 September.

Thought-starter: Is music redefining wellness?

Music is emerging as the next frontier for wellness, with musicians, record labels and start-ups harnessing sound’s impact on health, wellbeing and mood.

In the face of rising levels of anxiety and stress, music is redefining the way we approach wellness. Whether we want to wind down or find focus, more of us are turning to music to guide our behaviour and modify our moods. Not only has music been shown to have a positive effect on fitness, relationships and productivity, 74% of participants in Sonos’s Brilliant Sound Survey said listening to music helped them to reduce stress.

Now, the music industry is waking up to its potential role in the wellness sector. Earlier this year, audio start-up Endel made headlines when its algorithm became the first to be signed to a record label. In partnership with Warner Music Group’s newly created Arts Music division, Endel will release 20 albums to help listeners sleep, focus and relax.

Building on research and insights from psychedelic therapy, Wavepaths is using music to pioneer a new approach to mental health and wellbeing, starting with a pop-up space, which was open in London for 10 weeks, offering visitors meditative listening experiences using ambient music.

Read the full Music as Medicine microtrend here.

Wavepaths, London
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