14 January 2022
Author: The Future Laboratory
Dundee – Listening to Joy by artist Yinka Ilori is an experiential, audio-first playscape at design museum V&A Dundee. Featuring colourful, interactive elements such as a maze with zippable mesh walls, the space invites visitors to adapt and change the environment.
It also offers a sound-making area, using two circular xylophones for experimentation. Sounds will be recorded, mixed and transformed into a series of musical pieces that capture the enjoyment of being in the maze. By placing a focus on sound experiences, the playscape demonstrates the ongoing importance of Connective Audio – and how aural design can bolster relationships both in person and from a distance. Ilori says: ‘Play should be collaborative, so I have created this installation for visitors of all ages to explore sounds, colours and patterns in a shared space.’
While we’ve previously explored how connective furniture can enhance intergenerational play in home environments, this project shows how similar strategies can be applied to the design of public spaces.
California – Joining the Right to Repair movement, consumer electronics company Framework is releasing a modular laptop that grants customers full access to its hardware system. Permitting consumers to fix and upgrade their computers as desired, the company hopes to reduce e-waste and maximise the longevity of its products.
Combatting the planned obsolescence strategies practised by many tech giants, Framework’s laptop offers consumers a chance to build, repair and service their own products. Available for pre-order in the UK, France and Germany, customers can decide whether to build the laptop themselves or opt for a pre-assembled version. Each computer comes with a screwdriver and spudger that will allow consumers to customise and upgrade their machines.
At the heart of its mission, Framework is aiming to increase circularity in the tech industry. ‘We've gone from 44.4m tonnes of e-waste per year in 2014 to 53.6m tonnes in 2019. As an industry, we can't keep moving in this direction,’ explains Nirav Patel, CEO of Framework.
As eco-conscious consumers grow tired of having to replace their pricey electronics on a regular basis, and governments introduce strict regulations on the Right to Repair, tech brands must prepare for a newness backlash.
US – With Tax Day looming on the horizon, financial service TurboTax is appealing to a new generation of gig workers with its You Do Your Thing campaign. Capitalising on the rise of self-employed workers in 2021, the playful campaign highlights the unconventional professions that have gained ground during the pandemic.
Shedding light on the shifting nature of self-employment, the campaign includes a crypto-investor, gamer, musician and influencer. By catering for professions that aren’t normally associated with – but are not exempt from – tax filing, the campaign is aiming to capture the 16% of Americans that have earned money for a ride-hailing app or delivering groceries during 2021. With 31% of current or recent gig workers relying on independent employment as their main source of income over the past 12 months, self-employment is becoming a more prominent feature of the American economic landscape.
By appealing to freelance workers that might need help navigating the complicated process of tax filing without the support of a traditional employer, TurboTax is aligning itself with the rise of Accredited Influencers.
Las Vegas – The device, which is being launched in the US market at the 2022 edition of CES, combines children’s love of video gaming with exposure to nature. Created as a set of hand-held devices that mirror the design of typical gaming controllers, Picoo uses coloured lights, haptics and sounds to bring outdoor games to life without the need for a screen.
To use Picoo, kids scan a card associated with a specific game – including Hide-and-seek, Zombierun and Spy Hunt – before the device springs to life. The concept, according to its founders, is to get kids off their screens and rediscovering the joys of playing outside and making social connections, albeit in a more interactive way than traditional schoolyard games. Originally launched in The Netherlands and now expanding into the US, it’s aimed at both at parents and schools.
Next-gen toys such as Picoo represent the need for brands to take inspiration from the gaming world and apply this interactivity to physical play. Find out more about how Gen Alpha are pioneering Edu-play-tion in our microtrend.
Beijing – Tuning into the natural environment, the Chapel of Sound by Chinese architecture firm Open is informed by the atmosphere of the surrounding landscape. Taking sound as its key design principle, the concert hall charts a new path for sensorial architecture.
Intended to look like a stone that has rolled gently into place, the building has an organic shape that evokes comparisons with caves and seashells. Indeed, the architects took inspiration from the subtle reverberations and echoes of caverns when designing the building. Made of concrete that has been enriched with minerals and rocks from the local landscape, the curves of the building are sculpted in the shape of a sound wave.
Composed of an outdoor stage, amphitheatre, concert hall, viewing platforms and a green room, the Chapel of Sound has a clear view of the ruins of the Great Wall from the Ming Dynasty era.
While the building is designed to celebrate the union of nature and music, it is also meant to be used as a space of tranquillity, rest and rumination between concerts. Bridging entertainment with thoughtful relaxation, the building aligns itself with the tenets of Contemplative Spaces.
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