Furniture fit for a post-anthropocentric world
The project's conceptual world is depicted as a snowy archaeological site in an extraterrestrial society – somewhere on an uninhabitable Earth in the year 4020. The furniture series, dubbed Arctic Monkeys Artefacts 4020, features organic yet familiar forms that can be seen as artefacts of this future time – an era of 'post-modern animism,' where all objects become subjects.
Although Authié’s and Supertoys Supertoys’ fictional world is uninhabitable for humans, it also leaves hopeful cues for the legacy of man-made design. While the collection takes inspiration from sci-fi films and mechanical shapes, their soft curves are reminiscent of human-centric design.
With society now grappling with uncertainty and the vast potential for change, product designers are pushing consumers to reflect on how we inhabit our current world. In the Living Machine design direction, we explore the visual landscape of our possible futures.
This K-pop group has virtual members
South Korea – Pointing to the phygital future of entertainment, K-pop band aespa has both human and digital members.
Created by music management company SM Entertainment, the band's human quarter each has a virtual alter ego, known as the ‘æ’ version of themselves. Promotional photos feature member Karina interacting with her counterpart æKarina, while the band's name is a combination of the words avatar, experience and aspect. By digitising themselves, aespa hopes to explore themes of identity and encountering your ‘other self’ online.
The group is a product of SM Entertainment's SM Culture Universe project, which presents a ‘future world centred on celebrities and avatars’, according to Lee Soo-man, founder of SM Entertainment. He adds that aespa will explore ‘completely new and innovative concepts that transcend the boundaries between the real world and the virtual world’.
While we have previously explored the rise of Avatar Employees that enable workers to maximise their output, aespa hints at how digital doppelgängers could augment entertainment.
Coa is a gym for building emotional fitness
San Francisco – Coa is an emotional fitness studio offering live online classes and one-to-one therapy.
The digital studio, led by therapists, aims to bolster mental wellbeing through accessible classes that foster community and connection. Each class takes inspiration from research into key traits of emotional fitness, following the framework ‘learn, exercise, breakout, discuss'.
Coa follows a similar structure to traditional gyms, offering a take on personal training with therapist matchmaking and private therapy sessions. Dr Emily Anhalt, chief clinical officer and co-founder of Coa, explains: ‘Our approach to mental health is not a Bandaid, it's a workout, honed by years of research and work with leaders. We see the launch of our studio as the first step towards making emotional fitness accessible to people from all walks of life, at an affordable price.’
In a similar vein, the Fika app considers the importance of emotional fitness among students. In this opinion piece, its CEO Nick Bennett reflects on emotional fitness as a way to thrive academically and socially.
Stat: Chinese shoppers could snub US goods on Singles’ Day
AlixPartners’ annual Eastern Promise online survey suggests that local brands will dominate this year’s Singles’ Day in China – a popular annual shopping festival on 11 November.
It finds that 66% of consumers indicate they will buy domestic brands rather than foreign products. Specifically, 57% of participants said they would buy fewer US products, and 62% cited patriotism as their reason for buying locally.
The report highlights how loyalty and identity are important for Chinese consumers, especially among the oldest and youngest participants surveyed. This presents an opportunity to use the Made in China label to attract such shoppers. For more on how national pride is growing among Chinese Generation Z, dive into our Emerging Youth: China report.