Need to Know
27 : 09 : 19

A restaurant menu heightened by cannabis, Veja moves into sustainable performance wear, and Instagram is evolving into a platform for reading.

Queen B is an AI coach for the working day

Queen B by Labor Lab, photography by Barbara Kieboom, film by JHB Visuals

Amsterdam – The Queen B project features an omnipresent AI technology that aims to increase workplace efficiencies.

To demonstrate Queen B at work, spatial designers Studio LONK collaborated with officemakers Ditt to create a speculative interior that allows people to experience a workplace that adapts to each individual. The intuitive AI service uses IBM’s Watson technology to gauge voice, facial expressions and mood, in addition to location tracking from Locatify, which collects data to guide and assist users throughout the day.

As the AI gets to know each user, they receive voice messages with suggestions to improve their working, such as ‘You look a bit tired, I suggest you grab a coffee’, ‘I would not formulate that sentence that way’, ‘I gathered that you are a morning person. Start the afternoon in the meditation zone.’

By prompting them to consider and amend their behaviour, the speculative project offers an engaging and interactive space where users can question the extent to which technology assists and facilitate them, or otherwise compromises their privacy and autonomy. Technology is enabling rapid change in the physical, organisational and social structure of workplaces all around the world. Read more about the future of the workplace on LS:N Global.

Veja debuts a post-petroleum running shoe

Veja AW19, photography by Vincent Desailly Veja AW19, photography by Vincent Desailly
Veja AW19, photography by Vincent Desailly Veja AW19, photography by Vincent Desailly

Paris – The sustainable shoe brand is moving into performance wear with its first running shoe.

Veja’s new shoe, the Condor, furthers the brand’s ethical credentials by more than halving the amount of plastic typically used in running shoes. Instead, it has created the shoe using 53% biological-based materials, such as banana oil, sugar cane and rice husk. While the Condor still uses ethylene vinyl acetate, Veja’s goal is to create the first post-petroleum running shoe.

Inspired by the bone structure of the condor bird, the shoe is the result of four years of research and development, mixing various new technologies in order to balance organic materials and optimal performance qualities, including flexibility and lightness. Like Veja’s wider range of footwear, the shoes are made in Brazil in a factory that respects workers rights.

As both brands and consumers recognise the value of ethical and transparent supply chains, Veja's new launch is evidence of the continued growth of the Sustainable Shoe Market.

This restaurant pairs food with cannabis strains

United States – Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis café is serving everyone from seasoned smokers to the canna-curious.

Lowell Farms is a first-of-its-kind rooftop restaurant where diners can enjoy a true ‘farm to table’ cuisine bolstered by a cannabis experience. Chef and Cordon Bleu alumni Andrea Drummer has designed the multifaceted California-inspired menu to feature flavours that – like wine pairing – are enhanced by various strains of cannabis.

While there is no THC in the actual food, patrons can purchase a range of products such as pre-rolled joints, vapes, edibles and bongs to complement their meals, with 'Flower Hosts' available to discuss the variety strains and their effects.

‘We've created and crafted tasting flights – savoury, sweet and farmer's market, which feature fresh local cannabis produce,’ explains Kevin Brady, Lowell Farms' director.

As consumers seek out alternative forms of intoxication in the form of THC and CBD experiences, a new high-end market is emerging.

Lowell Cafe, Los Angeles

Stat: Young readers are turning pages on Instagram

As books are updated for the digital age, Instagram continues to evolve into a reading platform. In August 2018, the New York Public Library launched its Insta Novel series, which adapts full-text books for smartphone reading. Since publishing a version of Alice in Wonderland using Instagram’s Story feature, the project has expanded to include a number of other books, from The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

According to the NYPL, more than 300,000 people have read books the library has published on Instagram and the institution’s Instagram account has gained 130,000 followers. By turning to the social media platform and developing new literary formats to attract young readers, the library is catering to the growth of Young Bibliophiles.

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