News 26.10.2023

Need to Know

Day three at Dutch Design Week 2023, the luxury brands training the craftsmen of tomorrow and unveiling US teenagers' favourite cosmetics brand.

Dutch Design Week 2023 Daily Recap: Envisioning Equilibrium Cities

Otterdam by Theun Karelse, Radical City Inc at Dutch Design Week 2023, The Netherlands
Omlab by Margreet van Uffelen & Huub Looze, Dutch Design Week 2023, The Netherlands
Stella Terra by Solar Team Eindhoven of Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

The Netherlands - On day three of Dutch Design Week 2023, artists presented their forward-thinking visions for a planet that was more sustainable, equitable and livable.

Transnatural’s Radical City Inc exhibition challenged traditional urban concepts and introduced speculative cities that could withstand climate challenges while integrating nature into their design. Liquid Roots by Rollo Bryant proposed an innovative approach to street lighting that not only reduces artificial light pollution in urban environments but also creates a habitat for local flora and fauna. This project, scheduled for realisation in late 2023, aims to enhance safety for residents while preserving the local wildlife.

Elsewhere, various projects explored the loss of biodiversity in the urban environment and proposed solutions for the reintroduction of animals such as otters and birds. Otterdam is a floating allotment garden designed to support otters and inspired by similar floating gardens seen in Asia and South America. Theun Karelse explains how the reintroduction of otters can boost the local ecosystem: ‘If otters thrive here, it indicates a flourishing biome with healthy fish, aquatic plants, frogs and other interconnected creatures.’

Two noteworthy projects, Totems of Life from Radical City Inc and Omlab, a winner of the 2023 Dutch Design Awards, proposed habitat solutions for urban wildlife, including sparrows, swallows and starlings. While Totems of Life - a sculpture-like feature - serves as functional city decor, Omlab is more of a versatile, temporary solution for large-scale developments where nature management is just getting underway.

Conscious mobility futures were also on creatives’ minds this year. The Embassy of Mobility aims to make the transition from car dependency tangible and understandable. The show covered a wide range of topics, such as the increased demand for improved bicycle infrastructure as a result of the heightened interest during the pandemic and robotic transport as cities require more seamless and efficient systems.

Looking further ahead to the future of cars, Eindhoven University of Technology presented a concept for the world’s first off-road solar car and another vehicle designed to last a lifetime.

For more on these subjects, check out our Future Spaces and Mobility Topics.

Strategic opportunity

Disregard traditional symbols of urban advancement and focus on prospering in harmony with the Earth. Those in urban planning, architecture, property and transport should explore the interdependence between the built environment and nature

Designer begins plastic knife and vase made to be eaten and decomposed by insects

Brio by Arnaud Tantet, Belgium Brio by Arnaud Tantet, Belgium
Brio by Arnaud Tantet, Belgium Brio by Arnaud Tantet, Belgium

Belgium – Altering the environmental impact of polystyrene, one of the world's most polluting plastics, designer Arnaud Tantet turned to mealworms and superworms and their ability to digest such material.

Polystyrene, primarily composed of air, makes it unprofitable to recycle, resulting in its burial or incineration for energy. Arnaud's venture explores a creative recycling process using mealworms and superworms to consume polystyrene, with no adverse effects on their health.

Tantet exhibited this project in the Louvre Conservation Centre in Liévin, France, where the insects shape discarded plastic foam into decorative vases. In a more functional endeavour, the designer produced a series of knives for Inoveat, a Parisian gourmet restaurant specialising in insect-based meals. The knives are first cut and sculpted by hand from waste XPS (extruded polystyrene). Once the worms have finished their work, the knives are transformed into metal using a foundry process known as lost foam casting.

Featured in the Designblok diploma selection in Prague and nominated for the Tremplin BeCraft Award in Mons, Arnaud Tantet's work illustrates how insects' unique contributions can be harnessed for a more sustainable future.

In our Innovation Debrief 2023-2024 report, we highlighted several innovators similar to Tantet, giving a second life to waste.

Strategic opportunity

Embrace circular design principles where products are created with the end in mind. Explore how your products can be safely decomposed by natural processes, reducing waste and environmental impact

The luxury sector is investing in training the craftspeople of tomorrow

Europe – In October 2023, luxury conglomerate LVMH unveiled plans to supercharge its training ecosystem, consisting of nearly 360 programmes worldwide ensuring the transmission of know-how in leather goods, fashion design and client advisory.

The group also announced the construction of the future Maison des Métiers d’Excellence in Paris, a venue that will be dedicated to showcasing LVMH’s savoir-faire to the public. From 2025, the 2,000-square-metre space will offer courses and workshops where working artisans will teach fashion techniques. It will also be home to a café, store and exhibition space, all themed around craftsmanship.

Elsewhere, Kering-owned luxury house Bottega Veneta is also committing to passing on its knowledge with the Accademia Labor et Ingenium (Academy of Craft and Creativity). The school will take on 50 students a year, guaranteeing employment upon completion of the programme led by five Bottega Veneta master artisans.

In our Luxury Recrafted macrotrend, we delve deeper into why it is crucial for the sector to invest in talent and safeguard the proprietary skills that are the beating heart of luxury.

Maison des Métiers d’Excellence LVMH. Photography by Hannah Lévesque, France

Strategic opportunity

Take note of the relentless commitment of LVMH to preserving and developing craftsmanship. Whether it's in fashion, manufacturing or technology, how can your business maintain and pass on valuable skills to ensure the continued quality of your products and services?

Stat: e.l.f Cosmetics is US teenagers' favourite cosmetics brand

Express Your Elf by elf, UK Express Your Elf by elf, UK

US - The semi-annual Taking Stock With Teens survey by investment banking and institutional securities firm Piper Sandler has revealed teenagers' beauty spending habits across the US.

Interviewing 9,193 teenagers in September 2023, the survey found that teen spending on the ‘core beauty wallet’ (cosmetics, skincare and fragrance) is up 23% year-on-year, averaging at £267 ($324, €306). This increase was predominantly driven by spending on makeup, which averaged £104 ($127, €120), surpassing skincare for the first time since 2020.

E.l.f retains its status as teenagers’ favourite cosmetics brand (29%), followed by Rare Beauty (13%), while CeraVe and The Ordinary rank top for skincare. Beauty buys at speciality retailers also hit an all-time high at 79%, while purchases from mass-market retailers, department stores or drugstores dropped to a new low of 11%.

Selling affordable yet aesthetic makeup with clean credentials and a strong social media presence (including more than 1m TikTok followers), it's little wonder that e.l.f cosmetics is so popular with teenagers. As explored in our How beauty is being refined for Generation Z report, brands must look good, and be good, to appeal to younger cosmetics consumers.

Strategic opportunity

Tap into the valuable teen beauty market by creating clean, sustainable and visually attractive products that acknowledge and appeal to Gen Z’s unique consumer needs

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