Need to Know
03 : 12 : 21

A Bleisure hotel in Helsinki, digital art focused on Black femme futures and Japanese consumers test beauty products by buying second-hand.

A sustainable hotel that doubles as an office

Valo Hotel & Work, Finland
Valo Hotel & Work, Finland
WASO by Shiseido and Wieden + Kennedy, Japan. Photography by Viviane Sassen

Helsinki – Adapting to the inter-Covid travel landscape, the VALO Hotel & Work is a destination built on the principles of Bleisure – the merging of business with pleasure. Located on the outskirts of the Finnish capital of Helsinki, the hotel specialises in hybrid interior spaces that can be altered to guests' demands and lifestyles.

Catering for digital nomads and Untethered Luxurians, the hotel has a host of amenities for remote workers. Hotel rooms are flexible and multi-purpose, for example, with mechanised beds and desks that fold down from the walls, operated by an app.

By accommodating several workers in one room, and combining lifestyle and business activities, the hotel is positioning itself as a more sustainable alternative to a regular office. ‘Hotel buildings have a utilisation rate of approximately 40%, while offices have a staggeringly low one of 8%, when considering their entire lifecycles,’ the company states.

Although many hotels have been retroactively fitted with office amenities, VALO Hotel & Work is a good example of inter-Covid hospitality, which takes Bleisure as its founding premise.

Strategic opportunity

To attract digital nomads, hospitality companies should create multi-purpose – sometimes shared – hotel rooms that combine work with play and networking

Black Beyond centres Black femmes in the digital art space

Vitória Cribb: Still Prompt de Comando, 2019 for Black Beyond _origins, US Vitória Cribb: Still Prompt de Comando, 2019 for Black Beyond _origins, US
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Mputu: Control, 2019 for Black Beyond _origins, US Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Mputu: Control, 2019 for Black Beyond _origins, US

New York – Making its debut on virtual art space New Art City, the first show from art collective Black Beyond exhibits new media art including cross-reality (XR) experiences and recorded performances by 12 original artists.

Known as _origins, the show re-imagines Black femme futures in the world of digital art. The exhibition showcases community-based art by Black femmes, women and gender non-conforming people, exploring themes of Black femme paradise and survival as they play out at the intersection of critical race theory and digital technology. Taking cues from science fiction, many works depict imagined landscapes or realities to reflect the artists’ lived experiences and speculative futures.

The collective centres Black femmes in the space of digital art – often dominated by traditional institutions or white creators – with a focus on increasing accessibility and expanding artistic expression. Black Beyond is one of a group of emerging artists, groups and innovators using digital technology to destabilise the art world’s elitism and endorse young, diverse talent.

Strategic opportunity

Artistic depictions of imagined futures are valuable across sectors. Future-facing companies should consider collaborating with cutting edge digital artists to explore such potential futures through the lens' of the Black lived experience

Voice prompts help Hinge daters to connect

New York – Known for its tag line, 'Designed to be deleted’, dating app Hinge is ramping up its efforts to help online daters connect with a new feature, Voice Prompts. Tapping into the rise of Connective Audio, this new tool allows daters to add a sample of their voice to their profiles.

Providing users with playful prompts, such as ‘Proof I have musical talent’ or ‘My best celebrity impression', the app is aiming to capture moments that are better spoken than written on a profile. In doing so, the company hopes to offer users a glimpse into what a first date might be like. ‘Hinge wants to help people get to know you as soon as they see your profile. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine how many your voice is worth,’ explains Michelle Parsons, chief product officer at Hinge.

Younger, digitally native daters are redefining the traditional parameters of dating apps, seeking more intimate and invigorating connections. As a result, their hyper-connected lifestyles are rebooting dating, pushing companies such as Hinge to integrate audio or more creative features into their apps.

Hinge, UK

Strategic opportunity

Dating apps of the future will be creative and fun, without the gloss of filters. Consider the humorous or real-life moments that technology can capture to enhance user connections

Stat: Japanese consumers are buying used beauty products

WASO by Shiseido and Wieden + Kennedy, Japan. Photography by Viviane Sassen WASO by Shiseido and Wieden + Kennedy, Japan. Photography by Viviane Sassen

Japan – According to a new study by consumer research firm istyle and Mercari, a Japanese app for buying and selling second-hand goods, Japanese consumers are seeking second-hand beauty products to sample them before they buy.

The study follows Mercari’s finding that beauty transactions on its own platform have increased more 12 times their value compared to seven years ago. The web survey of nearly 14,000 Japanese women also reveals that almost 57% of shoppers buy second-hand beauty products as a method of trying them before buying new. Respondents cited the ease of online ordering as well as reducing pressure to buy as primary reasons for buying second-hand cosmetics. Some 74.5% of this group have gone on to buy a new product from a primary retailer after sampling it second-hand.

The Japanese beauty market's focus on simplicity and quality underlines the need to sample products before buying, which is driving consumers to turn to second-hand testing options.

Strategic opportunity

The opportunity to test beauty products is essential to consumers. Beauty brands need to update sampling techniques to suit digital-first shoppers. Consider offering samples with online checkout or affordable miniatures

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