Italy – Architecture studio Carlo Ratti Associati has turned shipping containers into intensive care pods that can be quickly added to hospitals fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Measuring 6.1m each, the pods, dubbed Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (CURA), can be delivered on the back of lorries and contain two beds. The first prototype unit is now being built at a hospital in Milan, one of the cities in Italy with the most coronavirus cases.
Aiming to replicate the environment of hospital rooms, the units feature ventilation systems that generate negative pressure inside and prevent contaminated air from escaping. According to the team behind CURA: ‘The aim is that they can be quickly deployed in cities around the world, promptly responding to the shortage of ICU space in hospitals and the spread of the disease.’
In Wellness Architecture, we explore how organisations are using their skills to provide solution-based design to support the health and wellness sector, something architects are now demonstrating by making use of abundant materials as hospitals struggle to meet the space demands required to treat coronavirus patients.
London – Bleach London has launched a virtual hair salon experience to help guide self-isolating consumers through at-home hair maintenance.
The digital salon provides tips for those no longer able to have professional hair treatments or touch-ups owing to Covid-19, creating an accessible and personalised service, as well as a sense of community. Dubbed the Hair Party series, Bleach’s initiative invites hair experts and celebrity clients to the Bleach Instagram page to share step-by-step guides on how to perfect at-home hair colour.
For customers seeking advice on specific hair needs such as dye damage and balayage, they can sign up for a virtual VIP hair party after buying products from Bleach. In addition to providing live content led by the salon brand’s in-house talent, it has also improved its website’s live-chat function to allow customers to gain advice on at-home hair maintenance before making a purchase.
With hair salons around the world closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers are turning to their salon’s digital channels for products and professional advice for an at-home Colour Refresh.
UK – Puma is working with Central Saint Martins' BA Fashion students to explore future textile manufacturing for a more sustainable sportswear industry.
The collaboration has led to a garment collection entitled Day Zero – in reference to the day the planet runs out of water – while drawing attention to water shortages being experienced in Cape Town, South Africa. The range prioritises sustainable, waterless practices from materials to marketing, including a campaign featuring digitally rendered versions of its pieces. Visually, the collection also highlights South Africa’s drought, with phrases such as Water Runs Dry and No Habitat featured as decorative details on clothing, shoes and accessories.
By working with Central Saint Martins and its students for the project, Puma has been able to experiment with new technologies in textile production, implementing state-of-the-art dyeing methods and digital print techniques that reduce the standard chemical and water consumption needed for clothes manufacturing.
In light of the fashion industry’s existential questions about supply chain and overconsumption, brands are innovating to provide collections created from eco-friendly fabrics and embracing Immaterial Fashion to provide digital solutions.
Global – The Today Tab is a new function from Pinterest, launched after the platform experienced a surge in Covid-19 engagement.
Amid global lockdowns, Pinterest reports that searches for ‘stay at home kids activities’ jumped by 4,055% and ‘tips for working from home’ were up 1,411% in the two weeks ending 17 March. In response, it has fast-tracked the launch of its Today Tab, a new function that provides users with daily inspiration. This will include curated topics and trending pins, as well as official content from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control to stay well during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Today Tab was already planned as part of an update for the platform, but was launched earlier in response to surging engagement. In fact, Pinterest reports that searches were up nearly 60% year on year in March, with new sign-ups, click-throughs on links up by about 30% in the week ending 29 March.
As consumers continue to adapt to life in lockdown, they are seeking opportunities for learning and development around home-based activities – whether through digital spaces like Pinterest or analogue DIY and lifestyle books.
Berlin – Archivist Studio is using upcycled fabric from luxury hotel bed linen to create simple white shirts that meet sustainable needs.
Founded by Dutch designers Eugenie Haitsma and Johannes Offerhaus, the studio focuses on sourcing fabric from luxury hotels, after discovering that a lot of bed linen is discarded once it has very small holes or stains. Since starting the initiative, Archivist has teamed up with a number of European hotels and arranged for fabric to be sent to the brand’s atelier in Bucharest to be cleaned, cut and manufactured into shirts. The studio says: ‘The brand name Archivist naturally evolved through our mission to preserve high-quality textiles and creating archival pieces.’
Focusing on simplicity and timelessness, the shirts are the first iteration of what the brand hopes will be a growing line of clothing. As part of a wider push towards upcycling in the luxury industry, the design team also hosts talks in hotels about circular waste management and how companies can get involved.
As luxury brands step into the circular economy and try their hand at upcycling, they’re innovating to transform waste materials into covetable creations.
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