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Men’s skincare takes a not-so-serious stance, medicine cabinets get an update, and China’s wealthy population now outnumbers the US.

Dutch Design Week 2019: Augmenting museum tours with emojis

Through the Emoji Looking Glass by Lara Chapman at Design Academy Eindhoven
Through the Emoji Looking Glass by Lara Chapman at Design Academy Eindhoven, photography by Ronald Smits
Through the Emoji Looking Glass by Lara Chapman at Design Academy Eindhoven

Eindhoven – An augmented museum tour is layering emojis over historical objects to expose our contradictory methods of communication.

Through the Emoji Looking Glass is a design-research project by Lara Chapman. She created augmented reality (AR) tools to be used at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, merging classical art and objects with contemporary symbolism. Using an iPad, visitors to the museum are encouraged to scan over large-scale paintings, with themed emojis popping up on-screen. As these symbols are revealed, they become visuals layered over historical imagery, characterising modern times against the past.

While creating a playful and fun tool, Lara aims to shine a critical light on emojis as a form of communication. According to her, these small visual symbols have significant power to shape our culture; they can be fun but also political, influence bias and reshape ideologies. In particular, she hopes to start critical dialogues around colonialism, appropriation and inequality through such symbolism.

For more on how to critically engage museum visitors and provide a platform for public discussions, explore our Post-Modern Museum micro trend.

disco launches skincare for the grown-up lad

Disco Disco
Disco Disco

US – disco is positioning itself as a fuss-free option for men at the start of their skincare journey.

Launching in the US, its range includes a body wash, face scrub and mask, presented in simple packaging with minimal branding. It aims to provide a painless purchasing experience for men, to ensure skincare becomes an ‘auto pilot’ part of their daily routines. ‘I noticed there was a gap in the industry and other men were also looking for attainable skincare,’ says Benjamin Smith, founder of disco. ‘[We] will normalise self-care for men by offering easy to understand products.’

To speak to its target audience, the brand playfully introduces the tenets of skincare using fictional ‘testimonials’ from Robin Hood, Muhammed Ali and Elvis Presley, alongside a tongue-in-cheek brand video featuring a fictional 1970s brand representative. At a later date, disco plans to launch an interactive platform for men to provide real-time feedback and insight to aid the development of future collections.

While New Masculinity is driving new directions in men’s cosmetics and personal care, disco caters to those who are curious about skincare but still look to brands representing traditional male typologies.

Cabinet’s DTC pharmacy makes medicine affordable

Cabinet, US
Cabinet, US
Cabinet, US

US – The online pharmacy is launching medicine kits aimed to eliminate confusion around ingredients, brands and self-diagnosis.

In a sector historically controlled by conglomerates, Cabinet wants to reduce Americans’ spend on over-the-counter medicine by up to 55%. To do this, it offers a direct-to-consumer (DTC) delivery service that combines quality medicine with a simplified purchasing experience.

Cabinet’s range includes products for common ailments, such as painkillers, cold and flu tablets, headache relief and laxatives. Its Personal and Travel kits, for example, comprise the essential medicines used by consumers, and aim to last the average household between six and 12 months. To provide a holistic healthcare experience, each item contains a near-field communication chip which sends product information and health tips to customers’ smartphones.

‘For too long people have been purchasing medicine based on brands, rather than symptoms and what’s right for them,’ says founder Achal Patel. Cabinet is the latest example of a DTC brand bridging the worlds of health and wellness to create a trustworthy modern pharmacy.

Stat: China’s rich population has overtaken the US

The number of rich Chinese people has overtaken the number of wealthy Americans for the first time, according to a new report by Credit Suisse. The bank’s annual survey found that 100m Chinese people are among the world’s top 10% of richest people, compared with 99m people in the US.

To be part of the top 10% of the world’s richest people, consumers must have personal savings of over $109,430 (£84,857, €98,222). The report says the ‘rapid transformation of China from an emerging nation in transition to a fully-fledged market economy’ has helped to create a record number of rich people. However, the US is still ahead of China when it comes to its super-rich population, which accounts for 40% of the world’s millionaires.

China is quickly gaining traction as one of the world’s leading luxury markets, as its wealthy population opt for domestic premium brands and eschew international labels. For more, read our State of Luxury: China report.

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