Magic touch: A retail interior to reflect on2014:03:12
Lee is on every fashionista’s lips at the moment as the hottest young thing to come out of Australia. His clean, structured and experimental designs – featuring innovative cuts and uses of fabric – are echoed in the store, with its mirrored metals and precise lines. Akin Creative constructed the space to appear almost a mirror image of itself, creating the illusion of perfect symmetry from one side to the next.
The space was inspired by the idea of an unfinished construction site within the Strand Arcade, the heritage building in which it is located. ‘Inverting positive and negative space to create a displaced area within the existing framework was [a] focus, as well as the juxtaposition of a modern environment within a heritage setting,’ says Chloe McCarthy, interior designer at Akin Creative.
For more on how designers are capturing the attention of consumers with trompe l’œil tricks, see our Haptic Illusion design direction.
Dessert storm: New restaurant takes a sweet approach2014:03:12
Paris – The residents of the Marais are being tested in the art of moderation. Paris’s first gourmet dessert-only restaurant, Dessance, has opened in the neighbourhood, offering a full menu of fine-dining puddings.
The restaurant is helmed by pastry chef Christophe Boucher, whose Michelin pedigree ensures that the menu is not all apple tarts and éclairs. Diners are presented with a tasting menu chosen by Boucher. They can opt for the small menu, with a mise en bouche (appetite awakener) followed by one dessert and a third course of mignardises (similar to petit fours), or feast on the Carte Blanche menu, which includes four different desserts rather than simply one.
Ingredients and flavour profiles at Dessance are innovative and surprising, making use of savoury ingredients (such as herbs and vegetables) to balance out any saccharinity. There is beetroot gelée and coriander foam to soften the hit of sugar and each plate looks fit for an art gallery thanks to the carefully constructed presentations and painted crockery.
For more on Single Serve restaurants, pick up our Food & Drink Futures report in The Future Laboratory shop.
Game-changer: Artist creates an internet Utopia2014:03:12
Los Angeles – Gradient Forest# is an interactive music video and game that invites viewers to explore a computer-generated utopian world.
Graphic artist Vince Mckelvie has created an engaging 3D animation for the Japanese musician Y E Λ R S. The psychedelic landscape complements the electronic pop theme of the track. The web browser is transformed into a unique game where the user – a digital animal – can move the mouse to navigate around an internet forest.
The motion graphics consist of colourful pop-up gifs and geometric plants and trees, a juxtaposition of the digital and natural worlds. As the speed of the song increases, a surge of fluorescent colours and flashing digital renderings consume the screen. Mckelvie also gives the viewer the chance to upload their own MP3 or simply walk in the forest at their leisure.
For more on how artists, designers and brands are using radical themes and utopian narratives in their work, book a ticket to LS:N Global’s Spring/Summer Trend Briefing, The Polarity Paradox.
Added dimension: 3D printing toy is rolled out2014:03:11
By Lucie Greene
Austin, Texas – Hackable children’s games were out in force at South by Southwest Interactive 2014, and one of the nicest examples exhibited was 3Doodler.
Exhibited at the MIT Media Lab Futures showcase, the 3D printing pen kit – on sale from February 2014 – has been brought to market for just $99 (£59, €71) after Kickstarter funding. Users of 3Doodler can print in 30 different colours from the pen. The pen is partnered with illustrated graphic templates on paper for children to use as guidelines. They can either create flat structures, or combine series of panels and shapes to create objects such as the Eiffel Tower, aeroplanes and creatures. 3Doodler is accompanied by a vibrant social network page on its network in which users share their own designs.
LS:N Global has been following the play habits and expectations of under 10-year-olds in its Generation I trend. Members of this group increasingly expect to be able to code, construct and hack toys to their liking. As MakerBot has demonstrated, 3D printing lends itself particularly well to this.
Two’s company: Jameson rolls out new partnership2014:03:11
London – Grandfather of Irish whiskey Jameson, which was founded in 1780, has joined forces with three-year-old east London micro-brewery Beavertown Brewery to create a limited-edition beer aged in Jameson barrels.
From its 1.2m barrels, Jameson lent five to Beavertown Brewery, whose founder Logan Plant went to Midleton, Cork to select them with the help of Jameson’s Ger Buckley, a fifth-generation master cooper. The Beavertown stout was aged in casks – originally used to finish off Jameson’s 18-year whiskey – for 18 months before being bottled. The result is Ger-onimo (in honour of Buckley), a strong, dark stout, with chocolaty, salty caramel notes that are enhanced by the charred oak barrel’s smoky flavour.
The partnership between a global brand and a local one is a fine example of Symbiotic Branding, showing how collaboration can result in a product that could not exist otherwise.
For more on barrel swapping, read our Hudson Whiskey Maple Cask Rye seed.
Samba-style: Frozen yoghurt shop’s new rhythm2014:03:11
London – To differentiate itself from the proliferation of other frozen yoghurt shops on the high street, Samba Swirl enlisted design agency Mizzi to rebrand its Camden store.
Gone is the cartoonish typography and green exterior. In its place is a space embedded with clever lighting and a pulsing energy, reflecting the Brazilian inspiration. The exterior alludes to the geometric and colourfully painted Rio de Janeiro favelas, while the inside is a criss-cross of neon lighting which leads customers to Samba Swirl’s self-serve yoghurt stations.
‘The lighting has a dual function,’ Jonathan Mizzi, studio director of Mizzi, tells LS:N Global. ‘It serves as an immersive 3D wayfinder system that lures you into the store, directing you straight to the yoghurt cubicles and then to the cash tills while passing the toppings island. Yet, at the same time, the intention was to recreate the colourful geometric exterior textures found in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.’
The 360-degree lighting set-up makes consumers feel as if they have stepped into a vector map. For more on how designers are using mathematical grids as reference points, see our Vectorism design direction.
Silicon chef: IBM introduces computer-designed food2014:03:10
Austin, Texas – IBM has teamed up with New York’s Institute of Culinary Education to showcase food designed with the help of computers at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi).
The company is doling out the dishes at one of Austin’s many food trucks. Guests use hashtags to vote on which dishes will be featured each day.
Recipes were created with the help of Watson, IBM’s machine for understanding natural language made famous on the TV show Jeopardy. For this project, Watson deciphered existing recipes to understand which flavours and techniques are tastiest. It then combined ingredients into novel combinations and dishes.
‘We’re in this cognitive era with computers that feast on large amounts of data, interact with natural language conversationally and all that kind of stuff,’ says Steve Abrams, a director in IBM’s Watson group. ‘This is really the next step of cognitive computing is this area of combinational creativity.’
The process makes sense once guests can experience the dishes, Abrams says. ‘They can taste the food and see that these aren’t some weird science fiction ingredients, they’re interesting and novel pairings.’
For more on the convergence of technology and creativity, attend LS:N Global’s upcoming Trend Briefing.
True fiction: Bates Motel pops up at SXSWi20142014:03:10
By Lucie Greene
Austin, Texas – US cable channel A&E has come up with a novel, factional way to promote its Bates Motel show at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi). The TV series, now in its second season, is pitched as an imaginary ‘contemporary prequel’ to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, drawing on the characters Norma and Norman in their earlier life.
To mark SXSWi 2014, the entertainment company recreated a full-scale 3D replica of the frontage of Bates Motel, the iconic retro location in the storyline, complete with illuminated sign, porch and door fronts on a side street by the conference centre. The motel also featured an outdoor vending machine giving out free ‘Norma’ and ‘Norman’ brownies (inspired by marijuana brownies, a running theme in the TV series’ narrative). Continuing the jest, ‘side effects’ warnings on each brownie feature character-specific traits from eating pot. Norma’s include becoming ‘obsessive compulsive’ while the Norman brownies warn of ‘blackouts’.
‘We didn’t want it to feel too branded and obvious,’ Marissa Grasso, senior brand creative producer at A&E, told LS:N Global. ‘We wanted it to just quietly be here, and let people discover it. Viewers of the show will get all the details, including the brownie vending machine.’
Grasso’s approach, planting fiction within the real world, sits with LS:N Global’s Faction Marketing, which charts how marketers are playing with the boundaries between real and fantasy worlds. A&E has extended its faction approach online with a sister Bates Motel microsite, which allows fans to explore inside, play games and get ‘spooked’ when the lights are turned out (they’re given torches to help them navigate).
Grimm inspiration: McQueen tells dark fairy-tale2014:03:10
Paris – The Alexander McQueen brand is known for finding beauty in the darkness. For its latest catwalk collection, shown at Paris Fashion Week, designer Sarah Burton played with darkness and light, a romantic vision of a slightly sinister enchanted world.
Some models strutted down the catwalk in white broderie anglaise dresses, while others donned dark gowns and outwear, with fur and feathers hinting at darkness in the woods. ‘Wild beauty’ and ‘beauty and the beast’ were listed as inspirations in the show notes. We noted a little of The Polarity Paradox – especially in the dualism on show, which featured both the pure white virginal heroine and the dark witchy woods inhabited with feral models with feral brows.
The Polarity Paradox assesses the current cultural milieu in which consumers are simultaneously confronted with visions of dystopia and utopia. For more, book tickets to our forthcoming Trend Briefing.
- Western Europe
Quick step: Fast food restaurant in bold rebranding2014:03:10
Boston, Seattle – First opened in 2012 in Boston, Kigo Kitchen serves wok-fired pan-Asian noodles and rice. Following the opening of a second branch in Seattle, the fast food restaurant decided to rebrand its visual identity to match its fast and furious flavours.
The resulting new look by creative agency Creature was inspired by the ‘frenetic back alleys of the pan-Pacific’, where street food is in abundance. Bold brush strokes, a vibrant colour scheme of black, white, red and green, and stamped signage all translate the fast-paced experience of wok cooking.
‘The environmental design system references the cluttered, layered signage typically found in Asian cultures, and pairs it with imperfect arched type, straightforward messaging and a bold simple colour scheme to honour the flavourful simplicity of the back alley street vendor,’ says Clara Mulligan, design director at Creature.
For more on brands stripping back and turning to stamping to make a statement, read our Stamped Goods design direction.
- North America