News 10.02.2020

Need to Know

Saudi Arabia welcomes Desert X creatives, food storage solutions that cater for consumers’ eco-concerns, and Jaguar’s health-conscious cars.

Desert X puts Middle Eastern art in the spotlight

Falling Stones Garden by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim at Desert X Alula 2020, Saudi Arabia. Photography by Lance Gerber
A Concise Passage by Rashed Al Shashai at Desert X Alula 2020, Saudi Arabia. Photography by Lance Gerber
The Lost Path by Muhannad Shono at Desert X Alula 2020, Saudi Arabia. Photography by Lance Gerber

Saudi Arabia – Desert X’s latest exhibition has opened in Saudi Arabia, bringing site-specific contemporary art to the Middle East’s youngest travel destination.

A collaboration between Desert X and the Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU), Desert X Alula takes place in an ancient oasis in Saudi Arabi, bringing together the voices and creativity of local artists from the surrounding regions.

Featuring artists such as Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and Rashed Alshashai, the exhibition captures some of the geographic and social factors that have shaped the history of the Saudi Arabian desert. Each creative has responded to the landscape with a unique approach; Alshashai’s project acts as a contemporary monument, inviting visitors to enter its pyramid shape and appreciate the contrasting colour profile, which stands out against the neutral desert tones.

This year’s Desert X is positioning Saudi Arabia as a centre of exchange for ideas and a cultural hub for the region. Having only recently opened up to global tourism, we explore this kingdom and its future travel opportunities further in our Saudi Arabia Travel Market.

An eco-kit for future food shoppers

Ancillary Equipment Ancillary Equipment
Ancillary Equipment Ancillary Equipment

US – Ancillary Equipment has launched a campaign to promote a more sustainable future around food and drink retail, bolstered by a kit of re-usable bags and bottles.

Its stripped-back Econyl sling bags, dry goods sacks, hemp tote packs and liquid receptacles can be purchased by making a pledge of £150 ($195, €179) to its website. According to Ancillary’s site, they are designed for ‘the collection and transportation of ARM [alternative route to market] food items and liquids’, with the platform also providing a directory of 290 bulk or dry goods stores in countries such as Austria, Hungary, Taiwan and the US.

The eco-focused company has created the kits to encourage thought and conversation about the supermarket chains and convenience stores that consumers come to accept as the norm. Available exclusively through its stripped-back website, Ancillary’s emotionally charged website copy also provides browsers with insight into the climate crisis.

As we explore in our Re-usable Packaging Market, growing concern about the environmental impact of plastic packaging is driving innovations in re-usable and refill concepts among retailers and FMCG brands.

Jaguar’s shape-shifting car seats target health

Jaguar shape-shifting seat

UK – Jaguar is tapping into the wellness movement with adjustable car seats designed to mitigate the health risks associated with sitting for long periods.

Its new car interior system features a series of actuators in the seat foam that cause constant micro-adjustments, mimicking the rhythm of walking. By simulating the sensation of walking – a movement known as pelvic oscillation – Jaguar is taking a health-focused approach to the design of its cars and hopes to offset the negative impacts of sitting in a car for extended periods.

With 1.4bn people worldwide living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, according to the World Health Organization, car brands have recognised the opportunity to position everyday transport as a time and place to engage in wellbeing practices. As Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar’s chief medical officer, notes: ‘We are using our engineering expertise to develop the seat of the future using innovative technologies not seen before in the automotive industry to help tackle an issue that affects people across the globe.’

For more on how the automotive industry is embracing intuitive technologies as part of wellbeing initiatives, read our Health Conscious Cars microtrend.

Stat: Fast fashion profits power on

A new report by Ask Traders reveals the amount of money that 30 of the world’s largest fashion and retail brands make each day on a global scale.

It shows that, although the retail industry has been hit by sustainability concerns, online traders Boohoo and ASOS are experiencing growing demand for their fashion offer. The research highlights Zara as the top-performing brand, making almost £715 ($926, €844) in revenue every second, resulting in a profit of £405 ($525, €478). In the UK, ASOS generates the highest retail revenue, making £86 ($111, €101) every second.

Nigel Frith, senior market analyst at asktraders.com, said: ‘Amid an ever-more digitalised and time-poor society, and with e-tailers offering logistical efficiency, consumers are increasingly giving the shops a miss and shopping online.’

As we explore in Fast (Conscious) Fashion, convenience often continues to outweigh consciousness for many consumers, but a number of high street stores are finding ways to offset the desire to spend with greener practices.

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