Sony’s portable theatre system brings cinematic sound home
Global – In July 2023, Japanese tech behemoth Sony introduced the HT-AX7, a new portable speaker system that can surround users with an immersive cinema-like sound experience. The three-part item includes a speaker and two smaller circular speakers designed to be placed in other corners of your room to create a dome of sound powered by the company’s 360 Spatial Sound Mapping technology already used in Sony’s regular soundbars and headphones.
Connected through wireless Bluetooth and monitored through a smartphone app, the three speakers have a battery life of 30 hours and can be used to listen to music, podcasts and more. Sony has also equipped the system with a handy quick-charge mode that can give users 150 minutes of playback on a 10-minute charge. The HT-AX7 features Sony’s upmixer algorithm, which can transform stereo into three-dimensional surround sound. The speaker body uses a fabric made from 100% recycled PET bottles and incorporates recycled plastics. Available from August 2023, the portable speaker system will retail in the US, the UK and Europe for £499 ($649, €585).
In Quiet Mode, we previously analysed how Sony competitors like Apple and Flare Audio are developing innovative features to help the increasing number of consumers who crave a new kind of quiet and immersive experience that can make them forget the outside world for a while.
As consumers look to augment their movie experience at home by turning any room or terrace into a home cinema with just three small Sony speakers, how can brands, from home design to food and drink, become part of this home ritual?
Kengo Kuma redesigns Fendi accessories with natural materials
Italy – Presenting its spring/summer 2024 menswear collection in June 2023 in the Tuscan countryside, Fendi joined forces with the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma to re-invent some of its accessories and shoes. Iconic pieces were redesigned using waranshi, a hybrid material of cotton and tree bark, traditionally used for origami and lantern-making.
Featured pieces included the Peekaboo bag and the insta-famous Baguette Soft Trunk recreated in the Japanese craft style – with a more organic and sustainable feel drawing from natural materials. The redesign brought the pieces a raw and imperfect finish while remaining soft and well structured.
To redesign Fendi’s Flow trainers, the architect utilised fabric made using the practice of yatara ami-weaving, traditionally made from bamboo strands for a woven lattice-like effect. ‘I’ve always thought of Kengo Kuma as a master of naturalist architecture,’ said Silvia Venturini Fendi. ‘He was one of the first to understand the importance of building nature into architecture both inside and out.’
In our report on five luxury fashion brands advancing biotechnology, we previously analysed how luxury fashion houses are increasingly recognising the potential of biotechnology and experimenting with biotextiles for a more sustainable future.
Luxury fashion brands should consider how to uplift textile innovators who are on the cusp of changing the industry with a new wave of natural materials, upcycled raw materials and sustainable alternatives
Stat: Romance and dating on the decline in the US
US – A June 2023 study by romance publisher Harlequin reveals a decline in romance and dating in the US since the pandemic. The research comprised two surveys involving 2,000 unmarried adults and 681 self-identified romance readers and revealed that 46% of unmarried adults are not dating at all, with 30% already in relationships. In addition, 77% of single adults say they have not been on one date in the past month, while 18% have been on one or two dates.
Despite reduced dating activity, the study also shows that 57% of adult respondents believe they can achieve happiness with or without a long-term partner, with women (63%) more likely to agree with that statement than men (51%). Furthermore, 55% associate happiness with surrounding themselves with friends and family.
The study highlights a shift in attitudes to romance and relationships, indicating a broader societal transformation in the perception of happiness and fulfilment. It also suggests an upending of current ideas we have of family, a topic we explore in Family in 2050.
Businesses need to rethink their branding and communications, and consider whether the visual representation of their values aligns with changing societal values and ideas on family, romance and relationships in order to better connect with consumers