15 January 2021
Author: The Future Laboratory
Global – Toy brand LEGO is launching a botanical collection aimed at adults wanting to destress and relax through simple, mindful activities.
The decorative collection includes a bouquet and bonsai tree, allowing consumers to bring elements of nature into their homes without needing to be an experienced gardener. As well as providing maintenance-free blooms, several elements in the collection are also made from plant-based plastic, produced using sustainably sourced sugarcane.
With research by LEGO revealing that some 8 in 10 adults engage in some form of play to help them relax, the botanical collection aims to provide an accessible type of craft to achieve a state of mindfulness. ‘As adults look for new ways to switch off and relax, we’re delighted to be able to help them seek solace from their busy everyday lives as they immerse themselves in creating these beautiful botanical builds,’ comments Jamie Berard, design lead at the LEGO group.
As we explore in Pleasure Revolution, consumers are engaging in activities that embrace states of boredom and reframe the experience of dead time.
London – Beer brand Far From Home is elevating the at-home drinking experience with its augmented reality (AR) beer cans.
As part of a partnership with Studio Morfar and Ferment Magazine, the brand is aiming to experiment with alternative branding and packaging solutions for alcohol brands. The AR label features an illustration which, when activated by a phone camera, comes to life to show a figure rowing in a river. Its storytelling intention is to make consumers feel like they are drinking with a childhood friend – tapping into a sense of nostalgia often associated with favourite drinks.
Torsten Power, art director and designer at Far From Home, explains: ‘You can have a spectacular animation that flows out from the can and pulls you into an immersive world of interaction, with interactive tasting notes and details about other beers that are available in the range.’
With lockdown periods continuing around the world, drinking experiences remain central to the home. As a result, brands like Far From Home are innovating to improve how customers experience their Virtual Happy Hours.
Paris – In a bid to expand the city’s green spaces, the mayor of Paris is planning a transformation of the Champs-Élysées into a public garden space.
The project, which is set to be completed by 2030, will see the 1.9km (1.2 mile) stretch of central Paris turned into an ‘extraordinary garden’ – as described by Anne hidalgo, mayor of Paris. New developments will include reducing vehicle space by half, turning roads into pedestrian and green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality. Meanwhile, the Champs-Élysées committee plans to redesign both Place de la Concorde and the Eiffel Tower – with more fountains, ponds and parks set to surround the landmark.
Philippe Chiambaretta, an architect working on the project, considers the Champs-Élysées as a place reflecting many of the issues currently facing global cities: ‘Pollution, the place of the car, tourism and consumerism’. In response, he hopes the redevelopment will lead to an area which is ‘ecological, desirable and inclusive’.
Across the globe, city dwellers are reflecting on what it means to feel well in their environment – ushering in demands for developments in Urban Wellness.
London – The creative platform, launching in spring 2021, will provide a professional network for native and diaspora African creatives.
Aiming to close the creative opportunity gap for people of the global majority, New Comma will showcase African and Black talent, alongside offering jobs, training and mentoring for creative careers. The online platform’s waitlist is currently open and available to emerging creatives, as well as agencies and global industry leaders.
Through its new ecosystem, New Comma aims to work towards tackling youth unemployment among Africans and bolster the creative scene for the global community. Natalie Narh, co-founder at New Comma, says: ‘Our goal is to create an ecosystem for African creatives to enhance the quality of the work they produce while being in control of their own narrative on a platform that is made especially for them.’
With many businesses reflecting on the diversity and inclusion of their workforce and recruitment strategies, discover our Intersectionality series for more future-facing initiatives.
Japan – Design practice Laboratory for Explorative Architecture and Design (LEAD) unveils Yezo, a travel retreat that merges earth-friendly materials with spatial mapping.
Based in the northern mountain range of Hokkaido, Japan, Yezo has been designed to be sustainable as well as economical. According to Design Boom, the retreat's swirling roof was algorithmically optimised for fabrication from a single mould to minimise ecological impact and reduce manufacturing costs and delivery time.
LEAD's 'minimal, tectonic' design includes glue-laminated (GluLam) timber beams, a structurally engineered and eco-friendly alternative to solid-sawn timber, and locally-sourced slate for the roof. The building's distinct shape and celebration of natural resources – stone, wood and light – aims to provide a luxurious space where visitors can find a private sanctuary within nature.
In our macro trend Post-Growth Society we explore the rise of Consumption Redesigned – how the design of buildings, public spaces and products are changing to align with new models of sustainability and circularity.
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