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31 : 03 : 22

Koko merges music and hospitality, sustainable architecture reaches social housing, and progression remains limited for women in the alcohol industry.

Koko transforms into a music-centric members’ club

The House of Koko, London. Images by Lesley Lau
The House of KOKO, London. Images by Lesley Lau
The House of KOKO, London. Images by Lesley Lau

London – After three years of refurbishment, Koko, the storied concert venue in the heart of Camden, is re-opening as an exclusive, music-centric members’ club.

The extensive restoration of the property, originally built in 1900, aims to convert the building into a ‘state-of-the-art live music venue spanning 50,000 square feet, with ambitions to deliver an unrivalled experience for live music fans’, explains the press release. New amenities in the club include a roof terrace, library, restaurant, cocktail bar and secret vinyl rooms.

Members of the club will also enjoy unique access to the venue's cultural events, including backstage candle-lit dinners, exclusive admission to the Fly Tower, which offers unrivalled views of the stage, and a secret stairway that allows members to join the crowds if desired. With a recording studio and piano room, the club strives to appeal to music fans and professionals alike.

By using its cultural reputation and existing contacts with musicians, House of Koko represents a fresh direction for the Members’ Club Market. Providing intimate access to the behind-the-scenes of the music industry, it takes hobby-centric hospitality to the next level.

Strategic opportunity

What other cultural venues could incorporate a member’s club into their business models? Boutique cinemas, for example, could consider integrating hospitality services for film aficionados

A quality mark for kinder-to-skin products

Kind To Biome, UK Kind To Biome, UK
Kind To Biome, UK Kind To Biome, UK

Stockholm – With growing awareness and appreciation of the skin’s microbiome and its overall effect on health, Kind to Biome is a new quality mark and testing service that ensures skincare and ingredients are gentle on the microbiome as a baseline standard.

Working closely with science-backed skincare and cosmetics brands, Kind to Biome will assess how individual ingredients and formulas influence the skin’s microbiome – the protective layer of micro-organisms and bacteria that live on the skin. It has developed a test with Dr Vangelis Beletsiotis, head biologist at QACS laboratories, to make product assessments more accessible, fast and inexpensive for brands. This test examines how gentle a product is on the microbiome in four phases, using an algorithm to score whether a product can be rewarded the Kind to Biome mark.

Following the pandemic, the emergence of initiatives such as Kind to Biome helps to frame bacteria in a positive light, tapping into skincare and products that bolster Recuperation Rituals, while emphasising how the microbiome supports holistic health.

Strategic opportunity

Where science and skincare are intersecting to offer proof points for brands, other industries can take note. How might your brand use product testing or laboratory processes to determine quality or impact of materials or ingredients?

Social housing raises the bar of sustainable design

Ontario – The Ken Soble Tower in Ontario, Canada, is the world’s tallest residential building to achieve Passivhaus status, the leading international design standard for energy efficiency and sustainability. What’s more, the tower is not a new construction, but rather a refurbished social housing unit that fell into disrepair in 2014.

The refurbishment was completed by ERA Architects, a Toronto-based studio known for its low-carbon retrofits, and PCL Construction, a Canadian contractor with expertise in building revitalisation. The 18-storey building has drastically reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 94% and cut its heating energy demand by 91%. As such, the total energy required to heat a flat is the equivalent to the energy necessary to power three light bulbs.

The building has also been refurbished to cater for its existing elderly community. To allow for ageing in place, several social design programmes have been implemented, such as an accessible solarium with views over the harbour, barrier-free flats and high-contrast wayfinding. By implementing these innovative features, the building represents how the resilient, sustainable and adaptive design we explored in Equilibrium Cities could – and should – be applied to social housing.

Ken Soble Tower renovated by ERA Architects, Ontario. Image by DoubleSpace

Straegic opportunity

When it comes to regenerative design, companies should look at revitalising and retrofitting buildings instead of constructing something new. Can offices and shops be refurbished to meet Passivhaus standards?

Stat: The alcohol sector is lagging behind on diversity

Desolas, US Desolas, US

According to a new study of the alcoholic drinks industry, only 10% of women respondents have seen significant positive change towards women in in the industry over the past five years.

To examine the roles of women at alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers, retail companies and distributors, Deloitte and inclusivity organisation Women of the Vine & Spirits ran two surveys about diversity, equality and inclusion goals. When asked whether they have seen positive changes in the alcoholic beverage industry’s attitudes towards women in the past five years, the majority (52%) said there was only ‘some’ positive change.

Among the issues keeping people from pursuing a career in the alcoholic drinks industry, 60% of respondents cited a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion, followed by a lack of work-life balance (45%) and a lack of exposure to career opportunities (40%).

Looking to the future, brands and organisations in the alcohol sector must think and act intersectionally in order to reduce barriers to entry and change attitudes in the industry.

Strategic opportunity

Changing approaches to hiring and engagement among women and people of the global majority (PGM) could transform the future of the alcohol sector, from products and marketing to retail and experiences

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