Poland – Architecture studio Unism has envisaged a new forward-thinking proposition for factory design: a below-ground facility, concealed by a grass rooftop that blends into the rural environment.
Developed for the pet food company EcoPet, the subterranean factory plan is adapted to fit the surrounding landscape, drawing on biomimicry principles. While all production and storage functions are located below ground, the upper levels will be open to the public, hosting a visitor centre, a research centre and workspaces for the company’s office staff.
‘Unlike a typical large-scale industrial development, the EcoPet factory aims to stay symbiotic with nature by blending its form with the local landscape. We hope it will become a blueprint for similar projects in the area,’ the studio said in a statement.
With this project, Unism hopes to be a model for the factories of tomorrow, and inspire initiatives making industrial areas more respectful of rural landscapes, but also engaging local communities by becoming Open-door HQs.
Consider how innovative design can be used to upgrade a purely functional space, or even turn it into a public-facing destination
An AI solution supercharging product search in e-commerce
Europe – Macedonian start-up Pixyle AI has developed a visual artificial intelligence solution to enhance search experiences for fashion e-commerce, thanks to auto-generated image-tagging.
The visual AI tool identifies fashion items in images, determines which product category they fall into, and automatically tags attributes such as colour, pattern or material in a taxonomy commonly used by shoppers. ‘Understanding customers’ shopping intent is vital. We train Pixyle’s AI algorithms to interpret images exactly how humans would. We’re trying to make online shopping as frictionless as possible, and hopefully more enjoyable, by letting people easily find what they are looking for,’ says Svetlana Kordumova, the founder and CEO.
The company, which has just secured £869,600 ($1.06m, €1m) in seed funding, plans to provide SEO-optimised auto-generated product descriptions and to expand its services to homeware and furniture by 2024.
For e-tailers, such an automation solution has multiple benefits. Besides being cost-effective, it has potential to give businesses an edge in terms of consumer experience
Nearly half of young adults in the US are living with their parents
Terrace House by Austin Maynard Architects, Australia
US – Nearly half of young adults in the US aged 18–29 are living with their parents, fuelling a luxury boom, according to Morgan Stanley analysis of US Census Bureau data.
The figure of 48% is the highest since 1940, and is a signal that this trend is boosting discretionary spending by young adults. In turn, this is partly responsible for the surge in popularity of handbags, watches and jewellery.
‘This, of course, is not the only reason luxury goods consumers are getting younger in the West (social media also plays an important part). But we see it as fundamentally positive for the industry,’ said the analysts.
Morgan Stanley says it is seeing a similar trend in the UK. The number if 15–34-year-olds living with their parents has reached 42%, rising from 35% in 1999. In the first half of 2022, imports of luxury Swiss watches into the UK rose by 31% year on year, The Guardian reported, citing data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
The reason more younger people are living at home is to save money. Consider how your business can address the opportunities presented by this increasingly common family dynamic