News 07.12.2023

Need to Know

Aesop’s immersive Chinese retail, Flor youth movement champions nature and US higher ed students are becoming more price-sensitive

Flexibility defines Today Design’s Melbourne office

Today Design Workspace by Studio Edwards, Australia
Today Design Workspace by Studio Edwards, Australia
Today Design Workspace by Studio Edwards, Australia
Today Design Workspace by Studio Edwards, Australia

Australia ­– In the heart of Collingwood, Melbourne, digital agency Today Design has transformed a 900-square-metre area within a 12-storey block into a hub of innovation and sustainability. Architecture firm Studio Edwards, by steering clear of traditional office design, has presented Today Design with a space where collaboration takes centre stage, with movable timber and OSB board wall panels used to fashion an adaptable environment.

Upon entry, visitors encounter a timber-accented reception, where recycled denim not only adorns the desk for acoustic benefits but also invites tactile interaction. The office’s layout, punctuated by upholstered benches and scaffolded lounge modules draped in recycled sail cloth, offers serene city views. The walls are modular and can be repositioned as needed. They are fitted out with whiteboards or magnetic panels to help define work areas as needed, fostering collaboration and creativity – an important element of new-gen office spaces, as we highlight in our macrotrend Work States Futures.

Embracing sustainability, the fit-out utilises low-impact, recyclable materials devoid of applied finishes, lending the space a raw, yet purposeful aesthetic. This design ethos champions environmental consciousness by ensuring materials can be re-used or recycled, epitomising a workspace that evolves with its users’ needs.

Strategic opportunity

As the nature of flexible working policies continues to change, it is important that offices of the future are designed to adapt to a range of needs. How can you introduce design elements that benefit your employees? Are there spaces for them to focus, collaborate and relax?

Youth movement Flor champions nature and biodiversity

Flor, Denmark Flor, Denmark
Flor, Denmark Flor, Denmark

Denmark – Bringing today’s hyper-connected youth closer to nature is no small feat. Youth organisation Flor has made the challenge of getting young people involved in preserving biodiversity its core mission – helping to preserve biodiversity through campaigns, tree-planting, seed-scattering and more.

Initiated by the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, Flor is aimed specifically at youth. But to reach, engage and inspire this target audience, the initiative needed its own identity separated from its more conservative mother brand. Copenhagen-based creative studio Barkas was tasked with creating the branding and website, with a brief to court the young and urban demographic that the Flor movement is hoping to enlist as biodiversity advocates.

The brand work is centred around three pillars: movement, biodiversity and adaptability. The resulting design elements are dynamic and fluid, crystallising the vibrancy of youth, grounded in nature and reflecting the diversity that Flor stands for – both in nature and in its people.

For more insights on how brands are tapping into youth mindsets, read our Zalpha Reckoning macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Taking cues from Flor, consider how you can use design and storytelling to bridge the gap between idea and impact. Find the right balance between a visual language and messaging that appeals to youth, without alienating your brand

Aesop blends tradition and modernity with music-inspired gift kits

Packaging design by Xu Sanhuang for Aesop, China Packaging design by Xu Sanhuang for Aesop, China

China – Australian cosmetics brand Aesop is ringing in the holiday season with a unique blend of tradition and modernity. It has launched gift kits inspired by Chinese traditional music, adorned with packaging by paper artist Xu Sanhuang, exclusively available online. Xu’s designs transform sound into visual wave forms, adding a rhythmic vibrancy to the kits – a great example of Audio to Watch.

In a bid to create an immersive retail experience, Aesop’s Shanghai stores are set to feature musical window displays showcasing traditional Chinese instruments like gongs and shengs. These installations will be accompanied by live music performances in both Shanghai and Shenzhen outlets throughout the next month, offering visitors an enchanting blend of shopping and cultural indulgence.

Aesop’s growing popularity in China is evident. On social media platform Xiaohongshu the brand’s hashtag has attracted 15m views, while its official account enjoys a following of over 62,000. This success is attributed to Aesop’s authentic engagement with the Chinese market, including collaborations with local artists and culturally resonant campaigns.

Strategic opportunity

Aesop’s localised marketing campaign is a great example of how businesses can develop detail-orientated, targeted activations in different markets. Supporting home-grown talent and scouting local artists is a great tactic to show your commitment to a specific cultural audience

Stat: US teens are more price-conscious when choosing a university

Photography by cottonbro studio, Russia Photography by cottonbro studio, Russia

US – Scared by big student debt and high prices, US students are becoming more price-sensitive when it comes to higher education.

A new survey of 24,000 high school seniors registered on the Niche.com college search and review site found that 89% say a college’s published price would affect the likelihood they would apply or enquire, up from 76% the previous year.

Published in November 2023, the study also found that 53% of all surveyed students would not consider a school priced over £31,774 ($40,000, €37,110) per year in total. This is bad news for private colleges which, on average, are charging £32,999 ($41,540, €38,538) in tuition alone for the 2023–2024 academic year.

Owing to financial aid packages that offer discounts through merit and need-based institutional grants, very few students pay the listed price posted on a college’s website. Yet, the survey suggests listed prices are scaring off prospective students, who don’t know how the high price and steep discount model pricing structure works.

As Gen Z begin to question the archaic structures set before them, education is set to undergo a transformation between now and 2030. Keep an eye out for our upcoming LS:N Global piece investigating how higher education spaces are being redesigned to fit new and innovative concepts.

Strategic opportunity

Brands targeting Gen Z should consider implementing initiatives such as student discounts, partnerships with finance influencers to provide money advice, or even offering funding and scholarships to help assist with the university transition

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