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need to know
product design
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category - fashion
category - female futures
sector - food & drink
type - need to know
Need To Know
category - design
category - mobility
category - sustainability
sector - health & wellness
sector - youth

This week: The world’s first battery-powered boat, (s)painful graphic activism, gamifying long Covid symptoms, a self-sufficient off-grid island residence and Roundhouse launches a space for young creatives.

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2 June 2023

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Vollebak Island by Bjarke Ingels Group, Canada


The Icon by BMW and Tyde, France and Germany

1. BMW and Tyde design the world’s first battery-powered boat

Germany, France ­ – The Icon, developed by BMW and boat-maker Tyde, encapsulates the start of a new era for sustainable mobility on water, with the first fully battery-powered and emission-free marine craft.

BMW and Tyde put their automotive and nautical expertise to work to create a prototype for The Icon revealed during the 76th Cannes film festival. The battery-powered marine craft boasts a range of some 50 nautical miles (100km) and a maximum speed of 33 knots (55km/hour). The 13.15m-long watercraft exhibits technological prowess on more levels than its sustainability credentials – the boat is nearly silent and does not generate waves or vibrations by rising above sea level, providing optimal comfort while cruising. The luxurious experience is further enhanced with a customised soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer for a synaesthetic ride.

This innovative project, and the in-depth knowledge exchange between experts from different areas of mobility, show how luxury brands can embrace electric mobility futures.

2. Studio Xuxa employs (s)painful graphic activism

Spain – Spanish-Brazilian design studio Xuxa has turned to Midjourney to create a poster campaign highlighting the destructive impact of climate change in the Spanish region for tourists. Using generative artificial intelligence, the duo behind the agency revisited the iconic vintage-style Visit Spain posters from the 1960s and 1970s that are familiar to most travellers.

Keeping elements of the old posters’ two-dimensional shapes, vibrant hues and vintage typography, the ads depict distressed visitors crumbling under the Spanish sun with the ironic title Visit Pain. With the sun covering the letter S in Spain, the new posters warn tourists about the dangers of extreme heat, including heatstroke and dehydration.

Our Graphic Activism design direction explored how activism narratives are being reframed through nostalgic aesthetics and online conversations. As the impending climate emergency becomes an increasingly important part of our daily lives, more design studios will use their creativity to raise awareness and design for change.

Visit Pain by Xuxa, Spain
Saint Elmo’s and Long Covid Europe, Germany

3. Saint Elmo’s gamifies long Covid symptoms

Europe – Creative agency Saint Elmo’s and the Long Covid Europe patient network have teamed up to launch an awareness campaign on the long-term debilitating effects of Covid through the world’s most popular single-player games, including Minecraft.

Using game modifications, Long Covid mode imposes effects on the game characters that resemble real long Covid symptoms, including exhaustion, reduced concentration, dizzy spells, blackouts and shortness of breath. This creates a new level of difficulty for players – an exciting proposition – while also recreating the sensation of living with long Covid.

According to the World Health Organization, one in 10 Covid infections leads to long-term health problems, which means millions of people are now living with long Covid, a number that continues to grow with very few diagnostic and therapeutic solutions available. The vivid stimulation of a life with long Covid showcases the potential of gaming platforms as sites for activism, especially as the line between people’s real lives and online worlds blur – a phenomenon we explored in our Affirmative Avatars market report.

Vollebak Island by Bjarke Ingels Group, Canada

4. Vollebak and BIG create self-sufficient off-grid island residence

Canada – Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the Copenhagen- and New York-based architectural firm, has teamed up with clothing brand Vollebak to create the ‘home of adventure’, a self-sufficient off-grid residential island in Nova Scotia, Canada. In partnership with local architecture firm FBM, it will be made from natural and manufactured materials, including seaweed, hempcrete and 3D-printed concrete. The island will be auctioned via Sotheby’s Concierge Auctions on 8 June.

The 11-acre island is a quarter of a mile off the Nova Scotia mainland. It will be fully powered by carbon-neutral energy including offshore wind, geothermal energy and solar power – with the energy stored in Tesla power walls. The island will include the 597-square-metre Earth House, consisting of nine interconnected buildings, and an 88-square-metre Wood House, a stand-alone garden suite on the island’s eastern shoreline.

Vollebak’s entry into the housing market aligns with other luxury fashion brands stepping into the home. It is also an example of cross-sector brands entering the property market, as seen in Automotive Accommodation.

Roundhouse Works, UK

5. London’s Roundhouse launches space for young creatives

UK — North London arts venue Roundhouse is launching Roundhouse Works, a creative centre for young people.

The fully accessible space will open on 19 June 2023 within the historic grounds of the Roundhouse. The project aims to support 15,000 creative freelancers aged 18–30 annually. It will focus on offering its services to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and young people who lack the finances to pursue a creative career.

Roundhouse Works will offer various membership options, giving access to work and studio space. Help with childcare and travel costs will also be available. Career support will be provided through the venue’s Self Made Series, which will include free workshops, one-to-one mentoring, industry professional talks and networking events.

Membership starts at £25 ($31, €29) a year and co-working packages from £30 ($37, €34) per month.

Roundhouse Works is Neo-collectivism in action. The project was made possible by £8m ($9.9m, €9.2m) in funding from philanthropists, charitable foundations and corporate donations.



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