News 25.10.2023

Need to Know

Day two at Dutch Design Week 2023, Shanghai introduced health labels on sugary beverages and why the water crisis could cost billions to the worldwide economy.

Dutch Design Week 2023 Daily Recap: Fashioning the future of home

Food Care by Nadine Rauterberg, Design Academy Eindhoven, photography by Femke Reijerman, The Netherlands
Helter Shelter: Connected Dwelling Prototypes by Sophie Conroy, Design Academy Eindhoven, photography by Femke Reijerman, The Netherlands
Dr.Bathroom by Jiayuan Pu, Design Academy Eindhoven, photography by Carlfried Verwaayen, The Netherlands

The Netherlands - The Design Academy Eindhoven’s class of 2023 set their graduation show up in the Heuvel shopping centre in Eindhoven to enhance interaction with the public through demonstrations, performances and games. Renowned for their topical explorations and critical discussions, the graduates addressed everything from digital identity, mental wellbeing, systemic design, community care and the wealth gap.

The home was at the centre of several design projects exhibited. In Helter Shelter: Connected Dwelling Prototypes, Sophie Conroy questions if our experience of home can be fluid. She chose to be houseless in Eindhoven for six months, meeting her shelter needs by building temporary homes or nests. Post-experience, she presented a patchworked blanket and a series of books demonstrating how a connection to community, nature and herself provided her with a sense of home during the chaos of uncertainty.

Other projects magnified particular areas of the home. Jiayuan Pu’s Dr Bathroom reimagines the restroom beyond its primary function of fulfilling physiological needs and as a sanctuary, or ’a haven of privacy and solitude’. Kasia Rachuba explored the concept of conviviality dining, in which the eating experience is more social and mindful - a practice that American author and documentary maker Dan Buettner recognises as vital to living longer and healthier lives.

Delving further into the topic of mindful eating, Nadine Rauterberg’s Food Care therapeutic bread-making workshops demonstrate the connection between food and mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. ‘Our default emotion is often related to how we react in particular situations. But if one emotion becomes dominant, our overall health can be thrown off balance, leading to problems with our energy levels, immune system or digestive system,’ she explains.

For more on the future of the home, read the first edition of our Home States series, Residential Retail.

Strategic opportunity

The home is much more than a functional space; there is an opportunity to create more fulfilling experiences and interactions. How can you explore bathroom designs that encourage contemplation or dining furniture that caters to evolving social dynamics?

Branch Studio Architects proves good design belongs in mental health safe spaces

Chirat Learning Centre at Marcellin College by Branch Studio Architects, Australia Chirat Learning Centre at Marcellin College by Branch Studio Architects, Australia
Chirat Learning Centre at Marcellin College by Branch Studio Architects, Australia Chirat Learning Centre at Marcellin College by Branch Studio Architects, Australia

Australia – Can architecture make a space more conducive to mental wellbeing? Branch Studio Architects took on the task to design a student welfare centre inside an all-boys Melbourne school, offering a fresh take on healthcare design.

The studio was enlisted after all-boys Marcellin College chose to renovate an unused 387-square-metre floor to create a space for students to come together and seek mental health support. The student welfare centre transcends gender-based colour stereotypes with its monochromatic palette of dusty pink with burgundy accents. Stripped down, geometric and brutalist, the centre comprises an open environment designed to evoke a 'home away from home', encouraging students to make themselves comfortable and speak casually.

‘We are under no illusions architecture will solve student mental health, but we hope it facilitates a positive experience – a calm and relaxing place to open up a dialogue between students and staff’, explains Brad Wray, co-founder of Branch Studio Architects.

This project is showing how healing and learning spaces are changing for Gen Zalpha, an ongoing evolution we are monitoring at LS:N Global.

Strategic opportunity

The Marcellin College shows how learning institutions can support mental wellbeing for future generations. How can your business be one step ahead and offer a safe space in the workplace dedicated to mental health and encouraging conversations and open-mindedness?

Shanghai introduced coloured health labels for sugary beverages

China - In August 2023, the Shanghai Health Commission introduced a pilot initiative labelling sugary drinks with a three-tiered ‘red, orange and green’ health label system.

Following a roll-out of the new labelling system in more than 150 sales locations in Shanghai the Commission is now seeking feedback from customers on the initiative until 31 October 2023.

The use of a traffic light system to grade nutritional value is nothing novel, but perhaps necessary in China where, according to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 46,633 deaths related to high-sugar beverages were recorded in 2019. This number is almost double that of 1990, though China’s average daily sugar consumption per person remains lower than in the US.

Reducing sugar consumption has become the number one nutritional concern for health-conscious consumers in recent years. Innovators within the food and drink industry must look to High Tech Sugar alternatives to satiate consumer demand for sweet treats, without the health ramifications.

Phygital Supermarket Worlds by Xin Liu, US

Strategic opportunity

When targeting the Chinese market, acknowledge the shift that is taking place when it comes to considerations of health and nutrition. Begin experimenting with alternative sugars and sweeteners to create indulgent products that score green on the traffic light system

Stat: Water crisis puts £47.3 trillion worth of resources at risk

Hoowave Water Factory. Design by MVRDV, Taiwan Hoowave Water Factory. Design by MVRDV, Taiwan

Global – A report by the WWF released in October 2023 highlights an impending water crisis that endangers water resources and freshwater ecosystems valued at approximately £47.3 trillion ($58 trillion, 54.3 trillion) annually – equivalent to 60% of the global GDP. The degradation of rivers, lakes, wetlands and aquifers threatens their economic value and irreplaceable role in sustaining human and planetary health.

A third of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1970, and freshwater wildlife populations have declined by an average of 83%, contributing to rising water scarcity and food insecurity. A failure to alter water management and protect freshwater ecosystems could result in a potential 6% decline in GDP in some regions by 2050.

The report also unveils the economic benefits of water stewardship (the responsible planning and management of resources), covering water use for households, agriculture, and industries, amounting to at least £6.1 trillion ($7.5 trillion, €7 trillion) annually.

To read more, head to our Sustainability topic, where we monitor the latest innovations and insights preparing your business to respond creatively and effectively to the unfolding global emergency.

Strategic opportunity

Encourage sustainable and water-efficient practices in agriculture. Can you build partnerships with farmers or suppliers committed to responsible water management?

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