Need to Know
07 : 09 : 20

Design innovations re-invent cardboard waste, Amazon taps into mental health tech, and British shoppers embrace subscriptions.

Samsung’s waste initiative thinks outside the box

Out of the Box Competition by Samsung, US
Out of the Box Competition by Samsung, US
Out of the Box Competition by Samsung, US

US – Dezeen and Samsung are tackling cardboard waste in the Out of the Box design competition.

The contest challenges designers to repurpose Samsung packaging into furniture and household items. Recognising the importance of avoiding wasteful packaging, particularly as consumers continue to order products online, Samsung hopes to introduce a more circular approach to its business.

The top five designs include a rocking horse, a series of animal companions and storage solutions. Speaking on their animal creations for children, competition entrants Sarah Willemart and Matthieu Muller say: ‘The animals are made of four to five pieces only and use the existing folds of Samsung packaging... The polar bear, black rhino and sea turtle can be used as riding stools, drawing tables and secret hideouts.’

Taking an environmentally friendly and playful approach to Re-usable Packaging, these design solutions posit long-term uses for throwaway items.

Fashion week meets the hardware store

Lowe’s n NYFW by Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano, US Lowe’s n NYFW by Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano, US
Lowe’s n NYFW by Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano, US Lowe’s n NYFW by Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano, US

New York – Hardware store brand Lowe’s will be featuring home products in collections shown at New York Fashion Week.

In an unlikely pairing, the brand is partnering with Jason Wu, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Siriano to feature hardware products in their shows. Items hand-picked by each designer will serve as the backdrop to their shows, all shoppable from and streamable on Lowe's Twitter page.

As people’s spending habits continue to reflect the realities of a new, home-centric normal, fashion shoppers are displaying different priorities. ‘The relevance of fashion has shifted with the zeitgeist,’ explains Marisa Thalberg, chief brand and marketing officer at Lowe’s. ‘People are very focused on their homes and how homes really are the new epicentre of fashion and self-expression.’

Inspired by both fashion and object design, industrial designers are expanding their specialisms to create Industrial Garments that merge the worlds of fashion and hardware.

Amazon’s screen-free wellness wearable

Amazon Halo by Amazon Amazon Halo by Amazon

US – The online retailer is going beyond standard fitness tracking with the Halo wearable and subscription service.

Unlike most wearable devices, Halo doesn’t have a screen, instead connecting through an app. Featuring 3D body scanning functionality and machine learning, the app can detect body fat as well as listen to emotion in the user’s voice. Able to support users beyond their fitness needs, Halo offers a more holistic approach that also comprises mental and sleep health.

‘Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the US,’ explains Dr Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer at Amazon Halo. ‘We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt and maintain personalised wellness habits.’

While veering away from tech-based solutions, consumers are slowing down their quest for The Optimised Self with devices that combine mental and physical health.

Stat: British shoppers opt for subscriptions amid Covid-19

Rent the Runway drop-off service at WeWork Rent the Runway drop-off service at WeWork

Research from Barclaycard Payments has shown that British shoppers are embracing subscription services amid Covid-19.

The study revealed that almost two thirds (65%) of UK homes are signed up to regular subscription services, with an average of seven contracts per household. Individually, Britons have been found to spend an average of £552 ($722, €609) per year on sign-up services, with popularity for subscriptions having grown during lockdown.

Owing to the prolonged period of the pandemic, consumers have grown accustomed to the convenience of such services. Kirsty Morris, managing director for account development at Barclaycard Payments, says: ‘While lockdown certainly provided a catalyst for the growth in subscriptions, our data shows the popularity of direct-to-door and at-home products and services is only set to continue.’

With consumers still feeling wary about returning to pre-Covid shopping habits, people are embracing the ease of Subconscious Commerce.

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