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Recycled home furnishings for Generation Rent, smart home tech that boosts domestic wellbeing and global consumers are increasingly eco-active.

This recycled chair is designed to be returned

REX by Ineke Hans, The Netherlands
REX by Ineke Hans, The Netherlands
REX by Ineke Hans, The Netherlands

Amsterdam – Made using recycled plastic from fishing nets, toothbrushes and industrial waste, the REX chair by Dutch furniture brand Circuform and designer Ineke Hans is intended to be used, returned and taken home by someone else.

The premise of the plastic ‘deposit chair’ is simple. After purchase and use, customers are given a chance to exchange the chair for a partial refund, ensuring that it will be repaired, re-used or upcycled to create more chairs. By taking the start and the end of product’s lifecycle into account, the REX chair significantly diminishes its environmental impact. ‘It is a chair that will basically last a lifetime, but the reality is our society doesn't work like that,’ explains Ineke Hans.

By giving customers an option to return objects, Ineke is appealing to Generation Rent – Millennial and Generation Z consumers who use décor and accessories to personalise impermanent abodes. With consumers desiring flexibility and variety when furnishing their homes, new models of ownership that position Furniture as a Service must arise to ensure maximal sustainability.

Strategic Opportunity

Contemporary furniture consumers emphasise flexibility over longevity. Companies can consider introducing afterlife programmes that incentivise customers to return items for new pieces or upcycling

Empathic Technology devices to humanise future homes

Empathic Technology by NewTerritory, London Empathic Technology by NewTerritory, London
Empathic Technology by NewTerritory, London Empathic Technology by NewTerritory, London

London – Creative consultancy and design studio NewTerritory has unveiled a series of multifunctional smart home technology concepts that centre on residents' wellbeing. Called Empathic Technology, the collection of devices and architectural fixings seek to use data to enhance people’s physical and mental health within the home.

These future-facing smart home tools are split across three categories: Connect, Sense, and Enhance, and include technologies that track and intuitively respond to the home environment by adjusting elements such as noise, light and pollution levels. Signposting how our future homes will function, NewTerritory indicates that all objects could be synchronised and controlled via a digital platform, allowing residents to see visualisations of their data and real-time adjustments to their environment.

Hugo Jamson, creative director at NewTerritory, says: We’re being provocative with these objects, raising questions about the role data and empathic technology will play in our lives and homes in the not-so-distant future.Looking ahead, such concepts will be increasingly sought-after as people recognise that a positive sense of wellbeing is interdependent on our lived environments.

Strategic Opportunity

Health and wellness has become a core priority for global consumers. Across sectors, brands should create products and services that allow people to synchronise their wellbeing in the places they inhabit

Olay co-creates accessible beauty packaging

US – Beauty brand Olay has crowdsourced an update to its packaging, with a redesign by and for members of the disabled community. The resulting Easy Open Lid design helps people with varying conditions to open its products with ease.

At no additional cost to the consumer, the accessible design has been incorporated into Olay’s most popular moisturisers and serums. Furthermore, with 15% of the world’s population living with a disability today, Olay has chosen not to patent the design, opting to share the Easy Open innovation with other brands and companies in the beauty industry.

‘As a global brand, it’s our responsibility to ensure that all consumers have access to products that serve their needs and fit seamlessly into their daily lives,’ explains Chris Heiert, senior vice-president of Olay. ‘But we can’t do it alone, which is why we’ve chosen not to patent this lid, and rather share the design widely with the beauty community.’

By championing the principles of inclusivity and accessibility in its product design, Olay is driving change in the normative beauty industry. Confronting the sector’s ableist tendencies, Olay is aligning itself with Adaptive Beauty.

The Easy Open Lid by Olay, US

Strategic Opportunity

Consider which of your products, packaging or experiences might be difficult for some consumers to use or access, bringing wider audiences into the experience conversation to improve the design of everyday products

Stat: Eco-attitudes pervade global households

Shaping by Eyla Llarena Aliaño Shaping by Eyla Llarena Aliaño

Research by Kantar and Europanel has found that a growing percentage of global households are highly concerned about the environment. In a study of more than 88,000 consumers across 26 markets, some 22% of respondents were categorised as the most environmentally conscious group, Eco Actives.

This category now accounts for almost a quarter of all global consumers, up from 16% in 2019. People in this group are taking personal action to reduce their plastic waste by using refillable water bottles or avoiding plastic packaging.

Meanwhile, the study’s largest segment consists of the Eco Considerers, which account for 40% of consumers. A further 38% of consumers are categorised as Eco Dismissers, who lack awareness of environmental issues and are not taking steps to reduce their plastic use. Positively, this segment has fallen from 49% of consumers in 2019.

This increase in eco-awareness is in line with the rise of brands that offer eco-convenient services and products, balancing practical needs with environmental concerns.

Strategic Opportunity

Household brands must take the lead in providing affordable and accessible ways for consumers to be more eco-conscious when shopping – ensuring that planet-friendly behaviours are possible for every budget

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