Need to Know
27 : 10 : 20

A pregnancy test for women with sight loss, ClassPass moves into on-demand beauty and Britons show new appetite for sustainable food.

RNIB redesigns pregnancy tests for blind women

Pregnancy test by RNIB x The&Partnership, UK

UK – The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has unveiled a pregnancy test prototype for women who are blind or partially blind.

Hoping to raise awareness of accessible design, the prototype raises tactile nodules to denote a positive result, allowing women with sight loss to physically feel the outcome without relying on others to assist them. The charity’s latest campaign works in tandem with this project, releasing video interviews with blind women who discuss the ridicule and insensitivity they faced when using traditional pregnancy tests.

RNIB hopes to inspire further inclusive products for the disabled, by releasing the data and research used to create the test. ‘Accessible design isn't something that's far off in the future; it's here and now, and we wanted budding designers to be able to think accessibly in future by sharing our work,’ explains Eleanor Southwood, chair of RNIB.

To discover more assistive products that recognise the needs of disabled consumers, read our Implicit Inclusivity design direction.

This floating church connects communities

Floating Church by Denizen Works, London Floating Church by Denizen Works, London
Floating Church by Denizen Works, London Floating Church by Denizen Works, London

London Architecture studio Denizen Works has redesigned a narrowboat as a mobile religious space for the local community in east London.

The Genesis Floating Church, which is now moored at the River Lee Navigation, takes the form of a wide-beam boat. Taking inspiration from organ bellows, the boat's pop-up roof expands using hydraulic rams. Midship, the main hall features plywood walls and a green linoleum floor providing capacity for up to 40 sitting and 60 standing, plus a kitchen and bathroom towards the rear.

‘Our approach to the interior was to create a gallery space, free from religious symbolism, so that it would be welcoming to all, to align with the wider community uses planned for the boat,’ explains Murray Kerr, director at Denizen Works.The studio hopes to involve more ‘canalside communities’ in East London when the boat sets sail.

By using contemporary design and mobile architecture to create an open, welcoming space that is free from religious iconography, the Genesis Floating Church shows how the aesthetic, rituals and values of Christianity are being re-assessed by Young Believers.

ClassPass branches into at-home beauty

ClassPass at Home by ClassPass, UK ClassPass at Home by ClassPass, UK

UK and US – Flexible fitness membership platform ClassPass is expanding to offer on-demand salon and spa services.

The company is working with two companies – Priv in the US and Blow in the UK – to enable ClassPass members to book hair and nail treatments via the app with their credits. The one-to-one treatments include manicures, pedicures, haircuts, blowdries and massages.

‘We’ve seen increased demand for personal beauty and grooming services as stress and anxiety levels around the world have skyrocketed,’ says Kinsey Livingston, vice-president of partnerships at ClassPass. ‘We know that people want to get back to self-care, but not everyone is comfortable yet with services in public, indoor spaces.’

As we explore in our Recuperative Living macrotrend, new services and experiences across beauty and wellness are catering for consumers navigating the inter-Covid period.

Stat: Britons turn to local produce during Covid-19

Natoora, London Natoora, London

The pandemic is driving an appetite for sustainably sourced foods among British consumers.

New research from Barclays finds that one quarter of Britons now buy produce in local shops and farm stores. Furthermore, 63% say they will be buying more home-grown produce as a result of the pandemic and Brexit. More than half (51%) also believe sourcing products from local stores and farm shops is better for the environment, and 45% believe these outlets help them to better understand where their produce has come from.

As demand for local and sustainable farm products grows in the age of Uprooted Diets, the agricultural sector is being digitised for the direct-to-consumer age.

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