Identified by LS:N Global in 2012, The New Sublimity macrotrend charted a widespread consumer movement away from
busy, hyper-connected, digital lifestyles to prioritise personal
fulfillment and wellbeing.
Fed up with materialism, let down by capitalism, disconnected and
discombobulated in their digital lives, consumers are seeking escape
from their busy lifestyles and aspiring to a new set of values.
once always-on culture was all-pervading, consumers today are seeking
digital invisibility. Constant conversation and dialogue is losing its
appeal, and in its place, people are yearning for contemplation. From
hotels to airports, consumers are looking beyond aesthetics and seeking
Meanwhile, they are culling bold brash brands in favour of those that
are considerate, quiet and intuitive. The New Sublimity is not about
abandoning digital life though. Rather than simply switching off,
consumers are mastering a new on-off way of being. As they do, they are
becoming digital dieters, mindfulness novices, daydream believers and jolly good fellows.
Click through the sections on this page to see how The New Sublimity trend has been manifest since 2012.
Selfridges taps into The New Sublimity trend and launches its No Noise store-wide campaign encouraging customers to come into its stores to meditate and to seek moments of peace and tranquility amid the shopping hustle and bustle.
Key Development: Retailers are creating new contemplative experiences in-store to nurture creativity and quality decision-making.
Instead of hungering for more information about
friends’ carefully tailored online identities, people are setting off on their
own journeys of self-discovery, finding that missing out can be an ideal to
Key Development: Digitally
detoxing is no longer viewed as a difficult disconnection from technology, but
as a positive move, rebranded as JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out.
The Guardian has
developed an app to help track the happiness levels of its users. Happy for Life aims to understand a user’s
general happiness levels, as well as making recommendations to boost feelings
of contentment and wellbeing. Each day for three months, users are recommended
three activities, such as calling a neglected friend, learning a poem or going
for a jog. On completing a task, users are asked to rate their happiness.
Development: Consumers continue to search for happiness as they turn away from
today’s hyper-connected world through a new wave of mentoring apps.
From Then On, Formafantasma for Established & Sons
The World Institute of Slowness, a movement advocating the benefits
of slowness and slow thinking, invites us to slow down, take our time and better
The think tank, founded
in 1999 by former physicist Geir Berthelsen, has since diversified into a range
of business tools designed to challenge existing corporate mindsets that
are high on quantity and low on quality to encourage long-term growth.
Key Development: Slowness is a departure from conventional brand leadership, and SlowConsulting, the practical arm of the institute, aims to inspire change that focuses on people, not consumers.
Worry Will Vanish is an immersive exhibition
that explores the relationship between nature and the body. All the elements of
the exhibition were created following principles of Autogenic Training, a
method of relaxation developed in 1932 by German psychiatrist Johannes
Visitors can relax into a state of calm, discovering
a zen retreat amid London’s bustling west end.
A growing amount of immersive spaces invite visitors toenhance
their mental wellbeing through contemporary psychedelic experiences.
Introverts can now
book holidays with like-minded people via a tour service that caters
specifically to their needs. Sacred Introvert Retreat Tours and its accompanying blog are inspired
by Susan Cain’s TED Talkand best-selling book Quiet: The Power of
Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.
Each day on the road is followed by
a rest day for tourists to reflect and recharge, or engage in optional extras,
such as yoga, meditation, talks and walks.
Development: Brands and services like Sacred are
beginning to create experiences that shed
the stigma associated with introverts and focus on the individual.
The aim of Paus is to facilitate a moment of calm through a desktop or mobile device. Fittingly, the site is a refuge from the frenetic world of online banner ads and flash players, featuring simple animations in soft pastel colours.
Through interactive geometric puzzles, games, breathing and listening exercises, Paus helps users to find time in the day to go slow and focus on being in the moment. Its Daily Slow activities, for example, give users a a different technique each day to help them find a balance between fast and slow.
Key Development: As mindfulness is becoming more mainstream, consumers are looking to technology to help them switch off.
Samsung went to extreme measures to promote its SUHD tv with a prize that granted one person the opportunity to catch up on all of the television shows he or she had missed, but – even better than their sitting room – they watched in the ultra-remote location of Thiksey, a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas. There they had the chance to watch programmes for 100 days on Samsung’s new SUHD with a 65-inch curved screen.
Key Development: People now use the act of binge-watching television as a way of shutting out the world in their quest for personal downtime.
London-based designers Rachel Wingfeld and Mathias Gmachl worked with a sleep scientist, a sound artist and a meditation expert to create a silk-draped space filled with different sounds and visuals, as well as hammocks, in which to relax.
The total effect was designed to be a sequence of physical experiences that induce a harmonious mood and reset circadian rhythms.
Key Development: People are increasingly exploring new solutions to counteract the adverse effects of contemporary living. Sleep has become a particular focus, especially across hospitality and personal technology.
Based on ancient writing disciplines, Flowstate forces writers to stay in the moment until they enter a state of creative flow by deleting everything if the user stops writing.
Users select the amount of time they want to write, from five to 180 minutes, and once the timer starts they are not allowed to stop. If their fingers leave the keyboard for more than five seconds, the letters begin to lose their shape, blurring like a memory until vanishing completely without a trace.
Key Development: Designers are experimenting with how to put people into more or less focused states of mind to boost their creativity, improve memory and alleviate stress in the physical and digital worlds.
Forgoing languid spiritual teachings in favour of affordable, drop-in classes, studios are offering a way for busy urbanites to unplug and unwind. Mimicking the accessibility of on-demand beauty services such as Heyday and Drybar, these new meditation spots take a convenience-driven approach to meditation.
Key Development: As people look for reflection and secular spiritualism, mental wellbeing is becoming a priority as they seek new ways to combat the stresses of city life.
Through a unique double narrative structure, The Wide World follows Daniel, a young boy who can travel outside of his body when he falls asleep. By tilting the iPad, the reader can switch between two narrative strands that affect the course of the story. The Wide World storybook deals with complex and challenging themes such as mental illness.
Key Development: Consumers are looking to improve their mental wellbeing and a range of digital apps are emerging to enable moments of discovery and reflection.
Quantifying the usage of family screen time, Glued encourages families to use devices more thoughtfully by rewarding points for sticking to allotted screen time limits. It uses the principles of gaming to encourage children to compete against their siblings and parents to win pole position on a digital leader board.
Key Development: People are recognising that true mindfulness is about balance, not about setting idealistic and unachievable goals.
The unisex range comprises five products that can be blended together to suit a user’s individual skincare needs. The exfoliating powder, for example, can be combined with the multi-use balm to create a smoothing lip treatment.
The brand decided to simplify the line to five products, one of each type, to help remove the clutter, confusion and stress from our daily skin needs.
Key development: Consumers are rejecting bold and brash brands in favour of those that take a considered and intuitive approach.
Plate by Tatjana Giorgadse for Steinbeisser on Jouw, Amsterdam
Dutch design studio Steinbeisser has collaborated with Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy to create Jouw, an online store selling unusual cutlery and dishware. To re-address the rituals of dining, the cutlery and tableware puts people out of their comfort zone and encourages them to eat more slowly.
Key development: The slow and mindful approach of The New Sublimity is moving on. Now it is taking slow food and mixing it up to make it a more challenging but ultimately fulfilling experience.
Aimed at Generation I, born between 2000 and 2010 and who are typically regarded as rowdy and restless, the visual-first app seeks to instil a sense of calm, focus and connection in their lives through a series of mindfulness exercises.
Key development: Mindfulness is now a global phenomenon that has entered the minds and hearts of the mainstream majority.