Milan Design Week daily recap: Home futures and Alcova highlights
Italy – It’s that time of the year when northern Italy is engulfed in design. Fuorisalone, also known as Milan Design Week, is back with a 2023 edition entitled Laboratorio Futuro, a lab where visitors and experts debate, imagine and build alternative ideas for the future – the perfect fit for The Future Laboratory’s team reporting live from Milan.
The week kicked off with talks about home futures. At Casa Blond, a pop-up residency by London-based design studio Blond, a panel discussed designing for greener living. The conversation was centred around Impulse’s battery-integrated home appliances encouraging people to move away from natural gases in favour of more sustainably generated and cost-efficient energy. The project was collectively developed by Impulse, Blond and The Ad Hoc Group.
Elsewhere, similar conversations were happening about technology’s role in the home. Design experts from Disegno, Map Project Office, Google Hardware, Panasonic and ECAL wondered: ‘Does tech shape our homes, or do our homes shape our tech?’ The panellists discussed the mismanagement of ambient technology, including how streaming services like Netflix are designed to form a singular, isolated world, removing people from their homes as a sanctuary. They also touched on how technology should evolve to become more purposeful and personable. Panasonic and Google want technology to move and live fluidly around the home just like any other home product. In the past, televisions were designed to be located near a wall due to plug sockets, but could tv now move to our dining table, with a family sitting around the screen rather than facing it? Rowan Williams refers to Panasonic’s Vitrine as an inspiration for this speculative scenario.
Our team also headed to Alcova 2023 to explore the latest design innovations. From door handles made of anti-microbial salt to a hanging installation using bioactive materials to highlight the danger of UV radiation, protection and safety were top of mind for creatives. As was digital experimentation. Design studio LashUp translated a digital image, originally created by AI, into a physical electric blue armchair, demonstrating the potential of Cross-reality Design.
Consider how a new kind of sympathetic tech can foster human connection in domestic spaces through design aesthetics that give devices a new personality and purpose within the space
The Inflation Cookbook uses AI to optimise grocery budgets
Canada – The Inflation Cookbook is a digital platform helping users to pick dishes based on live ingredient prices, with some help from AI, nutritionists and chefs.
Developed by food delivery marketplace SkipTheDishes, the online tool helps Canadians to find affordable nutritious foods and optimise grocery budgets. The tool first tracks the price evolutions of hundreds of food products in real time. Every week, the algorithm will update rankings of the top 10 items with price levels going up and down. The platform also offers seven weekly recipe suggestions crafted using cost-efficient items as star ingredients.
This activation follows in the footsteps of food austerity innovators like The Yellow Sticker Cookbook, a tool suggesting tasty meal ideas made from products bought in the discounted aisle. SkipTheDishes takes this concept one step further, enabling consumers to monitor which products are reduced at the moment, and to plan their food shop and meals accordingly.
This iteration of what we call Budget Bots in the kitchen shows how businesses can commit to combatting food insecurity and support communities without being condescending, but encouraging creativity and resourcefulness
AI Fashion Week is here
US – The world’s first AI Fashion Week (AIFW) is set to take place in New York between 20–21 April 2023. As AI mania takes over the world, this fashion week is perfectly timed and will be held at SoHo’s Spring Studios, showing collections from emerging AI designers.
Backed by e-commerce retailer Revolve Group and Spring Studios, AIFW aims to make a case for AI as a tool for fashion designers, bridging the gap between the physical and digital. Participants must submit a collection of 15–30 looks that will be judged by the public online as well as through in-person voting, promoted through the AIFW’s social media channels as well as Revolve’s expansive influencer network. Ten finalists will proceed to round two in May, with three winners selected by an accomplished panel of judges from Vogue, Céline, Adidas and more.
A key component of the collections is that it must be possible to produce the garments physically. The winning collections will be sold online either via Revolve or Fwrd, Revolve’s luxury site. AIFW celebrates the creativity that humans and AI can co-create as discussed in our Generative AI Creativity Market report.
Emphasising the physical, human application of AI in the creative industry – as through AIFW – can help win over more apprehensive consumers
Stat: Growing HNWI demand for home products hints at new opportunities for fashion and lifestyle brands
US, UK, France – A recent report published by The Business of Fashion (BoF) Insights reveals that more than 70% of high-net-worth shoppers are more likely to look for home products from brands they already know and love. The market study, The Lifestyle Era: Luxury’s Opportunity in Home and Hospitality, also states that 50% of surveyed shoppers expect to increase their spending on home design in the coming year. Also growing are the home market, with an expected CAGR of 5% to 2026, and the home fragrance market, with a predicted CAGR of 6% to 2026 – hinting at swathes of opportunities for legacy fashion and lifestyle brands to diversify their offer with a range of home products.
‘For many fashion and beauty brands, expanding into home design and hospitality is a logical part of a growth strategy,’ said Rawan Maki, the associate director of research and analysis at BoF, in a statement. ‘Brands able to translate their aesthetic into home furnishing, textiles and even hotels can be a valuable way to interact with customers more deeply.’
In our Premium Homeware Market, we previously looked at how high fashion brands such as Loewe and Diane von Furstenberg are seizing upon homeware to elevate comfort and style, and bring artisanal goods home. It’s no wonder that the number of home collections launched in the 2020s has already surpassed those of the previous decade, according to BoF.
As consumers’ definitions of home continue to evolve, consider how your brand identity and legacy can be translated into home furniture and fragrances. But don’t look down on virtual homes (gaming, metaverse) and homes away from home – think hot desk tools and airport travel branded accessories