News 15.03.2023

Need to Know

AR artwork uncovers soil science, Woods Bagot designs train futures, introducing night-time cereal and why social media users demand protection.

Above&Below’s AR artwork uncovers soil science

Entangled Landscape by Studio Above&Below, Belgium

Belgium – An artwork is immersing viewers in the unseen and largely unknown inner workings of soil at a microscopic level, with help from augmented reality.

Developed by London-based studio Above & Below, Entangled Landscape is best described as a ‘meditative mixed reality experience’. The project merges art and science in a collaboration between soil scientists, city planners, data analysts and games engine experts. The result is an augmented reality version of natural landscapes that visitors can explore through smartphones, uncovering the invisible collaborative life in the soil.

Entangled Landscape uses environmental live data from the Southwest Flanders area in Belgium to bring visibility and awareness to what occurs in the soil at a microscopic level. The artwork educates visitors about biodiversity and the complexity of fungi and roots, materialised as a poetic reflection of nature’s complex invisible collaborative systems.

We previously looked at how soil inspires food futures, as climate change pushes all innovators to look inwards and understand more about the eco-system and opportunities that abound underground.

Strategic opportunity

Turn a complex scientific concept into an interactive gaming experience to make it accessible and engaging to a wider public

Woods Bagot designs new futures for trains

Journey Beyond’s Gold Service. Design by Woods Bagot, Australia Journey Beyond’s Gold Service. Design by Woods Bagot, Australia
Journey Beyond’s Gold Service. Design by Woods Bagot, Australia Journey Beyond’s Gold Service. Design by Woods Bagot, Australia

Australia – Experiential tourism company Journey Beyond has commissioned architectural firm Woods Bagot to scale up its transcontinental rail service. Journey Beyond is investing more than £5.5m (A$10m, $6.7m, €6.2m) to upgrade its trains, starting with The Ghan, which runs between Adelaide and Darwin, a journey of almost 3,000km.

Woods Bagot’s new renderings usher in a new level of sophistication and elegance in train interiors and feature a palette of colours inspired by the landscape artist Albert Namatjira, one of Australia’s most renowned Indigenous painters. Updated elements will include bespoke fixtures and fittings in the guest cabins and newly designed Outback Explorer Lounges, with leather banquettes, swivel chairs and a stone-clad bar. The firm will also revamp the onboard Queen Adelaide Restaurant with a focus on highlighting the rich landscape of Australia represented through collaborations with First Nations artists.

As consumers become increasingly critical of the aviation industry and its impact on global carbon emissions, the resurgence of train travel – along with a demand for its upgrade – will play an essential role in the travel, hospitality and luxury industries, as we revealed in our Rail Travel Re-Ignited market report.

Strategic opportunity

Rail travel and slow holidays are a growing area that offers room for collaborations with restaurants and luxury experiences to create more experiential and opulent journeys

Post Consumer Brands launches night-time cereal Sweet Dreams

US – Post Consumer Brands introduced Sweet Dreams, the first ever cereal designed to support bedtime routines, in February 2023. The breakfast cereal manufacturer aims to assist most Americans with difficulty sleeping while being a healthy snack for late-night cravings.

Available in Blueberry Midnight and Honey Moonglow flavours, with a curated blend of lavender, chamomile, zinc and folic acid, Sweet Dreams has a formulation intended to support the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle. ‘We’re thrilled to now help fans establish healthy night-time habits by providing a nutrient-dense before-bed snack made to support a sleep routine they could only dream of until now,’ says Logan Sohn, Post Consumer Brands’ senior brand manager.

After being a morning routine essential for over 100 years, the company is diversifying its offering and moving beyond breakfast time. In an interview with Emily Elyse Miller, founder of OffLimits, we previously highlighted how disrupting the cereal category and creating a new brand can bring customers a full spectrum of emotions.

Sweet Dreams by Post Consumer Brands, US

Strategic opportunity

Challenge consumer expectations and shake up legacy food categories with a modern twist

Stat: Social media users demand more protection from big tech

Photography by Polina Tankilevitch Photography by Polina Tankilevitch

Global – In a new report forecasting the future of digital engagement, hand-made cosmetics firm Lush and The Future Laboratory reveal that 49% of consumers believe social media platforms do not do enough to protect users from harassment, harm and manipulation.

Following a survey of 12,000 social media consumers across the UK, the US and Japan to understand their digital wants, needs and desires, the report concluded that social media platforms face new challenges as people engage less with them. Over a third of Meta users say they have used Facebook, Messenger (17%), and Instagram (18%) less frequently than a year ago. Perhaps their desertion is due to their lack of trust in the platforms’ owners. ‘The promise of social media was connection, expression and community,’ says Jack Constantine, the chief digital officer at Lush. ‘But today, many consumers distrust social media platforms. Some even experience digital platforms as a hostile space. Our research alarmingly shows this.’

In Anti-provocation Platforms, we previously looked at how consumers who burnt out on traditional social media spaces can now access a new wave of platforms featuring common good values in their functionality.

Strategic opportunity

While a presence on legacy social media platforms is still vital, consider following the consumers who deserted them to up-and-coming niche structures where the engagement will be higher given the smaller audience

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