Sweden and UK – With lockdowns fuelling global interest in home improvements and interior furnishings, Ikea and fashion designer Zandra Rhodes have joined forces to examine how design can bring an optimistic outlook into the home.
Using colour, patterns and textiles, the partnership is exploring how objects and furnishings can celebrate people’s personalities and local cultures, as well as the psychological effects of interiors on people and spaces. The result is the aptly titled Karismatisk collection for Ikea, which will be launched in September 2021 with 26 pieces including rugs, vases and cushions. Crucially, the collection also meets Ikea’s Five Dimensions of Democratic Design: form, function, quality, sustainability at an affordable price.
While a raft of high-low homeware collections have emerged this past year, including H&M and Diane von Furstenberg, Karismatisk displays an awareness not only of how interiors affect our moods, but the rise of unsustainable 'fast' homeware. In turn, Zandra Rhodes and Ikea are ensuring recycled materials are used in the collection where possible, while also seeking to keep prices accessible.
Design-led brands should consider how colour, texture, sourcing and shapes can influence how people mentally respond to products – research into these fields could result in new directions for mood-boosting collections
A floating arts venue promoting Cape Verde’s cultural history
Floating Music Hub by NLÉ, Cape Verde
Floating Music Hub by NLÉ, Cape Verde
Africa – Dance, music and art are central to the heritage and culture of myriad global nations – and in West Africa, a new floating performance hub designed by architects NLÉ will help to promote creative arts in Cape Verde for locals and the African diaspora.
Situated on the island of São Vicente, the Floating Music Hub builds on NLÉ’s existing floating building solution to offer a destination where artists from various creative industries can gather to collaborate, or audiences can immerse themselves in performances. Comprising three floating vessels, the Hub features a multipurpose live performance space, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a bar and café, and a central triangular floating plaza for gatherings.
With the ability to host about 300 people, the Floating Music Hub ties to the rise of Media-tels – hospitality or leisure spaces that unite people around music or shared interests. It is notably conscious of the local environment too – taking an Elastic Architecture approach, its lightweight, prefabricated, modular timber elements can be assembled and disassembled easily.
Pop-up hubs and pavilions can be means to unite hobbyists, creatives, and practitioners during the inter-Covid period. Use local materials, references or design cues to continue storytelling about local cultures or ancestry
Co-op recycles festival plastics into staff uniforms
UK – With festival season in full swing across Europe, waste from single-use plastics and cans is becoming a focal point for grocery retailer Co-op, which is turning plastic bottles tossed away at festivals into a useful, longer-term resource: uniforms for store staff.
Co-op hosts temporary stores at UK music festivals including Reading, Leeds, Latitude and Isle of Wight Festival, but this year it will bring two ‘reverse’ vending machines for empty plastic bottles to festival sites, provided by recycled corporate clothing supplier Reborn. Collected plastic fed into these machines will be shredded and turned into RPET pellets by Reborn, which will then be used to make articles of Co-op staff uniforms, such as t-shirts and fleeces, as well as furniture for future Co-op stores or events.
Through this festival-based scheme, Co-op is using its role as a retailer to foster eco-venient solutions that benefit the environment, win positive sentiment from customers, and feed back into its business sustainably. Further, it is using material innovation to drive a more circular future for retail design.
Co-op reverse vending machine, UK
Live events can be an important platform for companies to promote their green credentials or earth-friendly initiatives. Take cues from the Co-op and engage your customers through eco-activations that require their involvement.
Known by many names – from 'Sunday feeling' to the 'Sunday scaries' – a sense of anxiety or worry that hits at the end of the weekend is evident among one in seven (14%) American citizens who have work or school obligations, according to fresh research by YouGov.
At a time of rising anxiety as a result of Covid-19 and many people beginning to return to physical work and learning spaces, the July 2021 study of more than 30,400 US adults found generational variations, too. Those most likely to be in education or work on a Monday feel the Sunday scaries more all or most weeks – 39% of Generation Z and 38% of Millennials – compared to Generation X (28%) and Baby Boomers (15%).
According to YouGov, respondents who are unhappy or dissatisfied with their job are more likely to repost such feelings than those who love their jobs, 13% of whom still get Sunday anxiety each week.
While many people are on personal journeys towards mental and physical wellbeing, schools and workplaces can play a role in helping their workforce or student communities to foster resilience amid episodic anxieties.