News 08.12.2023

Need to Know

Natural Material Studio turns beer by-product into restaurant panels, Gabriela Białkowska's Foresight Friday and why fashion executives want to prioritise AI in 2024.

Natural Material Studio crafts decorative wall panels from brewery waste

Åben Brewery by Natural Material Studio, Denmark
Åben Brewery by Natural Material Studio, Denmark
Åben Brewery by Natural Material Studio, Denmark

Denmark – At Copenhagen Airport, a unique design element stands out in the Åben brewery restaurant: swirly panels crafted from spent grain, a by-product of beer brewing. This innovative project, undertaken by Copenhagen-based Natural Material Studio and led by designer Bonnie Hvillum, demonstrates a novel approach to sustainable design.

The studio has processed the leftover grains or ‘mask’ from the Åben brewery, drying them naturally before grinding down into various sizes. These grains were then mixed with Procel, a home-compostable bioplastic developed by the studio, resulting in semi-translucent, textured panels. Hand-cast into sheets up to three metres long, these panels now serve as decorative dividers in the restaurant, showing the potential of brewery waste as a valuable resource for interior design.

This project reflects a growing trend in sustainable design, repurposing industrial by-products into functional and aesthetic elements, thus aligning with environmental consciousness and innovation, as explored in Food Waste Innovation.

Strategic opportunity

In order for businesses to find innovative food waste solutions, they must first accurately calculate and track their overall quantity of by-products. Here, artificial intelligence can be useful in tracking and forecasting waste, and it can also make recommendations about how to reduce it

Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot create leather from grape waste

Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot, UK Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot, UK
Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot, UK Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot, UK

UK – In a ground-breaking partnership, Stella McCartney and Veuve Clicquot have introduced a limited-edition collection of bags and bottle accessories made from a grape-based alternative to animal leather.

Vegea, the next-gen leather alternative, is made of 80% vegetal, renewable and recycled raw elements, with grape stems grown regeneratively by Veuve Clicquot. The material is solvent-free, metal-free and devoid of dangerous substances, presenting a sustainable solution. While leather’s environmental impact is substantial, Vegea is claimed to offer a 40% lower impact on global warming and a 50% reduction in water usage compared with fossil fuel-based alternatives.

Stella McCartney unveiled six accessories using the regenerative and circular fabric during the brand’s summer 2024 runway show. The range includes Frayme bags, a Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label bottle holder, and Elyse sandals with platforms made from recycled cork.

This collaboration aligns with the shared values of both brands, emphasising sustainability, circularity and craftsmanship. It signifies a significant step towards cruelty-free and eco-conscious luxury fashion – as previously explored in our Luxury Recrafted macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Consider implementing regenerative agriculture practices in your supply chain. This not only benefits the environment, but also aligns with consumer preferences for sustainably sourced products and your company’s ESG targets

Foresight Friday: Gabriela Białkowska, creative foresight analyst

Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory Victoria Ling for The Future Laboratory

Every Friday, we offer an end-of-week wrap-up of the topics, issues, ideas and virals we’re all talking about. This week, creative foresight analyst Gabriela Białkowska dives into ultra-premium tomatoes, DNA storage and GTA VI.

: French start-up Biomemory is introducing ground-breaking data storage using DNA cards. Costing about £795 ($1,000, €927), these cards are expected to have a minimum lifespan of 150 years. As the technology develops, DNA storage could revolutionise digital legacies – helping handle big data, and offering long-term, minimal-impact storage for vast amounts of information

: Oishii has introduced The Rubī – an ultra-premium variety of tomatoes – into its vertical farming line-up. Retailing at £7.95 ($9.99, €9.25) for a tray of 11 in Whole Foods Market stores across the US, these tomatoes are touted as ‘the sweetest ever’. The launch of The Rubī into the premium fruit and vegetable market might seem outlandish, but it reflects the growing demand for quality indulgence in the produce we consume

: The newly unveiled trailer for Grand Theft Auto (GTA) VI, following an earlier leak, showcases Lucia, the game’s first prominent female lead since the 1990s, accompanied by her male partner. This brief 90-second preview marks a transformative moment for the series, which previously faced criticism for its depiction of women. With women making up half of the worldwide gaming audience, Lucia’s central role in GTA VI is an advancement in the gaming world’s representation

Quote of the Week

‘The only way we gonna get through this is by sticking together’

Lucia, the first female GTA VI protagonist since the 1990s, in the first trailer for the game

Stat: AI is high on fashion executives’ agenda for 2024

Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory

Global – In the aftermath of generative AI’s explosive growth, the fashion industry is set for a transformative 2024 as executives look to harness the potential of this technology. The State of Fashion report released by The Business of Fashion (BoF) and McKinsey & Co in November 2023 suggests that up to one-quarter of generative AI’s value in fashion could stem from innovative applications in design and product development.

Despite 73% of fashion executives planning to prioritise generative AI in 2024, only 5% say they are ready to make best use of the technology, and just 28% have explored its potential in creative processes. With applications ranging from online shopping assistance to creative collaborations, brands like Zalando, Ganni and Casablanca are already embracing AI’s potential. The technology promises to streamline design processes, offering agility in trend detection and product development for fashion and luxury brands.

As generative AI redefines possibilities, industry leaders interviewed by BoF stressed the importance of responsible adoption. In our Artificial Intelligence topic, we explore how balancing enthusiasm with caution, addressing biases and safeguarding intellectual property are paramount for future AI use cases.

Strategic opportunity

As fashion executives admit they face a talent gap when it comes to AI, consider investing in training and time to allow your team of creatives to experiment with the limitless abilities of AI

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