New Zealand – The technology giant has partnered with Indigenous communities for a more inclusive workplace in Auckland. Centring on the theme of Te Tai, which translates as ‘the tide’, the design of the Google Aotearoa office integrates influence from the natural landscape of Aotearoa – the Māori name for New Zealand – with Google’s brand identity.
Created by architects Warren and Mahoney, the space includes a wooden centrepiece made from locally sourced timber sheets, alongside an immersive digital ceiling playing footage of New Zealand. The design process was conducted in close partnership with cultural adviser Anzac Tasker and local iwi (tribe) Ngāti Whātua. By working directly with Indigenous communities, Google has sought to showcase and represent local traditions without being appropriative.
‘Google Aotearoa’s new home wears a narrative woven around place, featuring stories of land, people, and culture – each bringing the richness of Aotearoa, New Zealand to its users,’ says Scott Compton, interior design principal at Warren and Mahoney. In this way, the company shows how workplaces can be designed in a way that celebrates the identity of its workers and the area they’re based in.
Global – Demonstrating how the worlds of food, drink and entertainment are further colliding, independent film company A24’s first cookbook, Horror Caviar, is a highly stylised tome of recipes and essays inspired by its gory movie releases.
Recipes in Horror Caviar, which take cues from films such as Midsommar, The Shining and The Witch, were designed by creatives such as food stylist Laila Gohar and artist Chloe Wise. Among methods for lamb chops with marigold jelly, fish stews and herbal sipping broths are a selection of essays on film, food and culture.
In this way, the book caters for movie fans and foodies alike, and demonstrates the potential for sectors to cross over, not only as a marketing strategy, but also to highlight a more raw – if not macabre – take on elevated eating at home. Exercising creativity through cooking and film, Horror Caviar breathes new life into the Home Eatertainment trend.
Global – The Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is a virtual world from British band Radiohead and its long-term creative collaborator Stanley Donwood, created to promote the joint reissue of its albums Kid A and Amnesiac.
Produced in partnership with Epic Games Publishing, the platform and experience sits somewhere between gaming and a virtual art show. Presented as a shadowy interactive underworld, Kid A Mnesia is inhabited by strange, unworldly creatures. Users can navigate this realm, experiencing art, visuals and music derived from the band’s archive of original artwork and album motifs.
Originally conceived as a physical exhibition, which was thwarted owing to planning restrictions and Covid-19, the digital rendition has allowed the band to experiment further. 'Our dream was dead... Until we realised It would be way better if it didn’t actually exist. Because then it didn’t have to conform to any normal rules of an exhibition,' explains singer Thom Yorke.
The project brings Radiohead into the realm of Digital Fandom. With a focus on interactivity, the project generates new levels of intimacy between fans and artists through creativity in a metaverse setting.
Poland – Designer Iga Węglińska is challenging conventional ideas around clothing, with an intelligent collection that supports mental and physical health. The Emotional Clothing collection comprises two garments, both using biofeedback to signal psycho-physiological changes taking place in the wearer’s body.
Each garment responds to elements including body temperature, galvanic skin response, heart rate and proprioception. Through this project, Iga Węglińska is exploring the potential for clothing to form part of our Synchronised Care rituals. ‘The intelligent materials used in them [the designs] are supposed to stimulate cognitive involvement and mindfulness – a sense of taking part,’ explains the designer in a press release.
As material innovation continues to evolve, there is a lucrative opportunity for designers to integrate healthcare elements into clothing. Elsewhere, we’ve explored the ways that garments can support immune systems by integrating live bacteria into the fabric. Discover this innovation in our Beauty & Wellness Futures 2020 report.
Helsinki – Adapting to the inter-Covid travel landscape, the VALO Hotel & Work is a destination built on the principles of Bleisure – the merging of business with pleasure. Located on the outskirts of the Finnish capital of Helsinki, the hotel specialises in hybrid interior spaces that can be altered to guests' demands and lifestyles.
Catering for digital nomads and Untethered Luxurians, the hotel has a host of amenities for remote workers. Hotel rooms are flexible and multi-purpose, for example, with mechanised beds and desks that fold down from the walls, operated by an app.
By accommodating several workers in one room, and combining lifestyle and business activities, the hotel is positioning itself as a more sustainable alternative to a regular office. ‘Hotel buildings have a utilisation rate of approximately 40%, while offices have a staggeringly low one of 8%, when considering their entire lifecycles,’ the company states.
Although many hotels have been retroactively fitted with office amenities, VALO Hotel & Work is a good example of inter-Covid hospitality, which takes Bleisure as its founding premise.
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