07 : 01 : 22 : Weekly Debrief

type - need to know
Need To Know

This week: Paris opts for an accessible opening ceremony, metaverse counterfeits, Nike’s PLAYlab, a pop-up library for journalling and conservation for the digital age.

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7 January 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: 3.1 Phillip Lim in collaboration with Volvo, US


Paris 2024

1. Paris ditches the stadium for an accessible Olympic ceremony

Paris – The French capital plans to open the 2024 Olympic ceremony with a 6km parade of athletes in boats along the River Seine. As part of the ceremony, ambitious stunts such as BMX stunt riders leaping over bridges are set to take place. The plans come as the host city hopes to create the most ‘audacious and accessible’ opening ceremony in history.

While the event will still be ticketed, the aim is that much more of the city will be able to feel involved than if it had been hosted in a stadium. Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee, says: ‘It will be a unique combination of a sport and cultural moment, with the entire city turned into a vast Olympic stadium.’

By approaching the event in this way, the Olympic organisers are using this historic event to simultaneously celebrate the culture of the city. As we explore in Equilibrium Cities, urban planners are being urged to re-engage citizens in city centres by offering enticing cultural events that are available to all.

Metabirkins by Mason Rothschild

2. These virtual bags raise questions about metaverse counterfeits

US – Artist Mason Rothschild is raising important questions about the luxury non-fungible token (NFT) market, with a collection of 100 faux fur virtual Birkin bags that emulate Hermès’ iconic products. The colourful faux fur handbags were initially available on NFT marketplace OpenSea at a starting price of 0.1ETH (£339, $450, €398), but were met with a cease and desist letter from Hermès.

In a statement denouncing the project, Hermès said: ‘These NFTs infringe upon the intellectual property and trademark rights of Hermès and are an example of fake Hermès products in the metaverse.’ Still, Rothschild's project is prompting necessary debate, as the market for virtual luxury goods continues to unfurl as a profitable revenue stream while simultaneously presenting a grey area when it comes to trademarks and ownership – especially when such products are positioned as works of art or creative response.

While NFT projects and metaverse spaces can democratise brand access, Rothschild’s collection raises questions about product copyright, and the emergence of digital hyper-exclusivity driven by Crypto Cliques.

Nike Playlab in collaboration with Nandi Bushell created by Widen+Kennedy, London

3. Nike PLAYlab brings kids’ imaginary sports to life

London – With traditional competitive sports unappealing for some children, Nike is responding with an experiential installation that encourages a more creative approach to physical activity. Housed at its Oxford Circus flagship, the PLAYlab pop-up features a submissions station where children can share ideas for alternative sports and games. A selection will be featured on Nike PLAYlab’s YouTube series, while some ideas will be made into real events.

Through this initiative, Nike recognises the importance of engaging young people in more creative and diverse activities, inviting them to think outside the box when it comes to 'sport'. 'With eyes full of enthusiasm, kids see the world as an endless playground of possibilities ready to be explored,’ comments a Nike statement. ‘To empower them in sharing their vision, we set up the Nike PLAYlab – a safe space where we give kids the resources to make their ideas come true.’

Through this phygital concept, Nike shows how Play-tail strategies can entice young audiences both in store and online as part of their customer journey or to make community connections.

4. A pop-up library invites Londoners to journal

London – Therapy practice Self Space and architecture practice Caukin Studio have unveiled a pop-up library to encourage people in London to share their feelings and reflect on mental health. Passers-by are invited to connect with others and check in with themselves, using Self Space’s guided journals to help them express their feelings.

The space, designed in collaboration with Skip Gallery, takes inspiration from tropical climates – using natural materials and thatch cladding. By creating such a space, particularly in an urban centre surrounded by office blocks, the pop-up offers a welcome chance to pause and take time out from daily life. ‘The project aims to transport visitors out of the hustle and bustle of central London, and into a cosy personal space where they feel comfortable releasing some of their personal thoughts,’ says Harrison Marshall, co-founder of Caukin Studio.

This concept shows an evolution of Modern Therapy, where mental health services are increasingly approaching emotional support in approachable and collective ways.

Feelings Library by Caukin Studio in collaboration with Skip Gallery and Self Space, London
On the Edge rebranded by How&How, London and Lisbon

5. On the Edge rebrands conservation for the digital age

London – Eschewing the design tropes of animal conservation projects, a rebranding for charity On the Edge merges patterns, colours and phenomena found in nature with people's digital habits. Updated by creative agency How&How, the branding includes a colour palette inspired by bioluminescence – the way that living organisms create and emit light.

It also translates unique patterns and markings found among endangered animals into a new typeface, while the website hosts online games to help raise awareness among younger people. In this way, the branding appeals to new audiences, while also retaining appeal to scientists and the charity’s long-standing supporters. ‘By ‘reading’ an animal in a typographic way, we wanted to reinforce the communication and dialogue needed between humans and nature,’ explains Cat How, co-founder and creative director of How&How.

Through this branding, the charity shows how design mechanisms can effectively communicate complex environmental issues to bolster awareness and prompt action from consumers.



To future-proof your world, visit The Future Laboratory's forecasting platform LS:N Global for daily news, opinions, trends, sector specific insights, and strategic toolkits.


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