China – Located in the countryside in China’s Zhejiang Province, the Qingxi Culture and History Museum is a newly opened cultural space designed to draw visitors closer to nature, history and culture.
Local architecture studio UAD was commissioned by the Ninghai Cultural Tourism Group to design this new cultural landmark in a pristine rural area. Architects took inspiration from the picturesque location amid hills and forests, and drew on biomimicry to harmoniously blend the museum with its surroundings using a mix of natural raw materials, volumes and shapes mimicking nature, and local craftsmanship.
‘Based on simple techniques and methods, the whole building is in harmony with its surrounding terraced fields and mountains, both in texture and in form. The architectural volumes dissolve into the environment,’ according to a statement from the architects.
The Qingxi museum suggests that biomimicry is entering cultural institutions, just as we have seen it developing in the hospitality sector. In addition, this is a noteworthy example of a remote cultural institution serving as a stand-alone travel destination.
Just as businesses are beginning to acknowledge nature as a stakeholder, forward-thinking designers are placing it front and centre, creating with and for nature rather than on top of it
This homeware platform elevates antiques and vintage craft
Candles by Luke Edward Hall for Ginori 1735. Image by ABASK, UK
Large Brass Foot by Carl Auböck. Image by ABASK, UK
UK – ABASK is a new homeware platform specialising in curated antiques and crafted goods. Co-founders Nicolas Pickaerts and Tom Chapman wanted to fill the gap in the market for curated homeware online and help bring craft techniques to the fore. Customers will be able to navigate stylish homeware pieces, arranged into themes and rooms ranging from Modernist to Bohemian.
To acquire the 2,000 items available on the platform, the team travelled across the globe and worked with specialist dealers to curate the perfect mix of designer and locally sourced items. ‘The vintage objects include games of mancala and mahjong, brassware from Austria’s Carl Auböck and glassware from Japanese studio Hirota,' explains Pickaerts. The team also worked with glassworks Venini to re-introduce archived items.
The launch of the new platform comes at a time when many consumers are focusing on elevating their personal spaces, leading to a rise in premium homeware and greater demand for artisanal goods.
Consumers are spoiled for choice when shopping for the home. Tightly curated offerings can make the buying experience more seamless and enjoyable for busy customers
San Diego launches ride-to-own e-bike programme
US – In San Diego, residents can benefit from Pedal Ahead, a loan-to-own scheme democratising access to e-bikes and hoping to push an affordable and greener alternative to driving.
Pedal Ahead is a two-year programme enabling eligible participants to work towards owning an e-bike. Applicants must earn less than £44,270 ($50,000, €50,870), with those on lower incomes given higher priority. Participants must commit to riding their bike for 150 miles per month, recording their trips on Strava and sharing regular feedback. Another requirement is securing low-cost bicycle insurance against theft and damage. After two years, participants are eligible to own their Pedal Ahead e-bike.
The initiative is designed to give those with less purchasing power an additional travel option that reduces reliance on fossil-fuelled transport modes. In addition, the initiative is designed to improve neighbourhoods’ quality of life by reducing traffic and supporting participants’ health and wellbeing, ultimately progressing the Urban Wellness market.
Bike Citizens Guide to Milan, Italy
Access to sustainable transport shouldn’t be limited to the privileged. Businesses have a role in democratising eco-friendly initiatives and making them more inclusive
Europe and US – A recent study has revealed that many beauty shoppers don’t trust sustainability claims made by brands in the industry.
Research agency Provenance surveyed 1,500 beauty shoppers across America and Europe, as well as leading beauty and wellness brands including Cult Beauty and B Corp Beauty Coalition. The findings suggest that sustainability is a key factor in the buying process, but that many consumers feel confused about claims made by the industry.
According to the survey, 15% of shoppers now consider information on sustainability to be the most important factor when deciding whether to buy a beauty product. While many brands focus on providing sustainability information relating to nature and veganism, the study found that shoppers are also interested in broader issues relating to climate change and workers’ rights.
Many brands use a variety of buzzwords to communicate their sustainability claims, but this can leave many shoppers confused. Although customers are increasingly knowledgeable, brands must be able to provide transparent information and certifiable evidence to win consumers over.
Consumers feel disillusioned by the number of claims made by beauty and wellness brands. Provide scientific evidence to back up your claims and aim for certification to build trust