Need to Know
13 : 01 : 21

Rethinking architecture’s impact with eco-conscious construction, self-cleaning surfaces that battle bacteria and US consumers seek automotive escapism.

Yezo is a nature retreat built using algorithms

Yezo by Laboratory for Explorative Architecture and Design, Japan
Yezo by Laboratory for Explorative Architecture and Design, Japan
Yezo by Laboratory for Explorative Architecture and Design, Japan

Japan ­– Design practice Laboratory for Explorative Architecture and Design (LEAD) has unveiled Yezo, a travel retreat that merges earth-friendly materials with spatial mapping.

Based in the northern mountain range of Hokkaido, Japan, Yezo has been designed to be sustainable as well as economical. According to Design Boom, the retreat's swirling roof was algorithmically optimised for fabrication from a single mould to minimise ecological impact and reduce manufacturing costs and delivery time.

LEAD's 'minimal, tectonic' design includes glue-laminated (GluLam) timber beams, a structurally engineered and eco-friendly alternative to solid-sawn timber, and locally sourced slate for the roof. The building's distinct shape and celebration of natural resources – stone, wood and light – aims to provide a luxurious space where visitors can find a private sanctuary within nature.

In our macrotrend Post-growth Society we explore the rise of Consumption Redesigned – how the design of buildings, public spaces and products are changing to align with new models of sustainability and circularity.

Far From Home augments at-home drinking

Far From Home by Studio Morfar and Ferment magazine, London Far From Home by Studio Morfar and Ferment magazine, London
Far From Home by Studio Morfar and Ferment magazine, London Far From Home by Studio Morfar and Ferment magazine, London

London – Beer brand Far From Home is elevating the at-home drinking experience with its augmented reality (AR) beer cans.

As part of a partnership with Studio Morfar and Ferment magazine, the brand is aiming to experiment with alternative branding and packaging solutions for alcohol brands. The AR label features an illustration which, when activated by a phone camera, comes to life to show a figure rowing in a river. Its storytelling intention is to make consumers feel like they are drinking with a childhood friend – tapping into a sense of nostalgia often associated with favourite drinks.

Torsten Power, art director and designer at Far From Home, explains: ‘You can have a spectacular animation that flows out from the can and pulls you into an immersive world of interaction, with interactive tasting notes and details about other beers that are available in the range.’

With lockdown periods continuing around the world, drinking experiences remain central to the home. As a result, brands like Far From Home are innovating to improve how customers experience their Virtual Happy Hours.

Unilever’s biotech innovation points to cleaning futures

UK – The FMCG firm is launching a new venture, Penrhos Bio, to explore how organic compounds can be used to inhibit bacteria growth on household surfaces.

As consumers become more aware of germs and bacteria but equally want to avoid using harsh chemicals in the home, Unilever and life sciences firm Innova Partnerships have introduced Lactam, a compound that uses natural chemicals found in seaweed biology.

The patented technology comes from over a decade of research completed by Unilever. Lactam works to disrupt communication systems between bacteria that creates fungal growth and mould. As a result, it prevents them from growing at all, keeping surfaces cleaner for longer. Looking to the future, the compound could be applied to a variety of goods and products, providing self-cleaning household surfaces.

‘What we have found is a unique technology in which its uses are almost limitless,’ says Dr John Hague, vice-president for science and technology at Unilever. 'The commercialised use of Lactam presents a significant opportunity for cleaning products globally and could revolutionise the industry,' he adds.

For more, explore the design-led, eco-friendly start-ups that point to the future of homecare in our Home Cleaning Market.

Seaweed by Jacek Pobłocki

Stat: Americans rely on cars for pandemic escapism

Byton Byton

Many Americans are relying on their cars for escapism during the pandemic and consider vehicles as safe third spaces away from their home environments.

A study by Volvo shows that nearly eight in 10 (78%) of Americans say their cars are a ‘lifeline’ during the pandemic. A majority of respondents also reveal that driving helps them relieve stress – including 75% of Millennials. Among new parents, more than half (55%) have used their car as an ‘alone zone’, indicating the importance of personal vehicles as a form of sanctuary.

With many Americans now substituting their daily commute with a working-from-home arrangement, the benefits of owning or using a car are playing out in new ways, as vehicles becoming third spaces for solitude and entertainment.

As car brands reflect on this new mindset shift, new sales tactics are emerging to Augment Automotive Retail, from digital dealerships to campaigns centred on greener living.

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