29 : 01 : 21 : Weekly Debrief

type - need to know
Need To Know

This week: Utah’s sustainable housing community, meditative mortgages, Karma Kitchen’s messy rebranding, diversified eyewear and human-centric interiors for mental health

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29 January 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Reframd


Benloch Ranch, Utah

1. An eco community for elevated living in Utah

Utah, US – Benloch Ranch, a new housing community in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, is built around minimalism and practicality.

Designed to offer luxury living in near-wilderness, the houses sit easily in the natural environment, prioritising fluid outdoor living spaces. Featuring over 900 acres of open space, Benloch Ranch's expansive land provides residents with trail walks, skiing and golfing, among other outdoor activities. A community retail centre and grocery store, as well as restaurants and bars, are accessible in nearby Park City.

To bolster the Ranch's eco credentials, its developers are seeding native plant species, sourcing sustainable materials and reducing noise pollution to protect the health and safety of native wildlife species. Developer Jamie Mackay explains: ‘We have adopted a high level of sustainability standards including protection policies surrounding wildlife preservation, conservation of vegetation, and water quality protection.’

This new development is providing a level of luxury living tied to outdoor activities and the preservation of nature, reflecting the wider shift towards rural living as a luxury.

Habito branding by Uncommon, UK

2. A joyful rebrand for a mortgage broker

UK – Creative studio Uncommon is imbuing mortgage company Habito with a dream-like identity intending to visualise the straightforward process the company offers.

The rebrand updates the broker’s logotype adding wings to represent the heavenly appeal of the brand. Themes of euphoria and joy extend to a new pastel colour palette as well as a phantasmagorical visual style, illustrated by new campaign imagery such as a flying key representing a Habito client’s new home. Uncommon has also worked on merchandise to matches this new euphoric style – an untypical direction for a financial services business.

The new look launches as part of the brand’s existing ad campaign intending to increase brand awareness, aptly named ‘Hell or Habito,' ‘The founder Daniel created Habito to save people from the hell of getting a mortgage, so when we were creating the Habito experience we wanted to create the badass version of heaven,’ explains Nils Leonard, co-founder of Uncommon Studio.

Discover more colourful branding identities for financial businesses like Habito, in our Design Direction Fluid Capital.

Karma Kitchen identity by Droga5

3. A positively messy rebranding for Karma Kitchen

London – Creative agency Droga5 has tuned in to the honest side of food preparation with a playful rebranding for Karma Kitchen.

The London-based commercial catering company, which offers food and catering companies access to shared and private kitchens, has opted to rebrand after a surge in interest in its services during lockdowns in the UK. It hopes to better communicate its culture and concept through a vibrant rebranding that reflects the 'messy' reality of food innovation, preparation and catering.

Simplified graphics reminiscent of kitchen pans and equipment sit alongside capitalised typography. Meanwhile, imagery of real food shot close-up by photographer Maisie Cousins is purposely raw. Karma Kitchen says of the visuals: ‘[They] have nothing to do with overly styled food porn and everything to do with the visceral, messy business of cooking and eating.'

Moving away from refined aesthetics, more food and drink companies are using their branding to communicate the pleasure and escapism found in food – a design direction we explore in Frivolous Foods.

4. Wireless headphones that function as hearing aids

Japan – Tech start-up Olive Union debuts the third iteration of its Olive Pro headphones, which play music as well as amplifying voices D/deaf and hard of hearing (HoH) people.

By embedding artificial intelligence (AI) into the design, speakers housed within each earbud can cancel out background noise and improve the clarity of human voices for the wearer. Combining hearing aid technology with innovations typically found in premium Bluetooth devices, the buds have a dual-purpose. When put into music mode, the AI integration transforms them from hearing aids into noise-cancelling headphones. Priced at £145 (€163.50, $199), the Olive Pros align with the cost of other premium wireless earbuds, differentiating these aid-led devices from more expensive options in the assistive tech market.

‘When my uncle first needed hearing assistance, everything from design and pricing to technology and maintenance turned him away,’ shares Owen Song, the founder of Olive Union. He adds: ‘Our third-generation Olive Pro was built for him and the 466-million people globally, suffering from some level of hearing loss.’

Emerging assistive tech is enhancing everyday life for differently abled consumers, these solutions utilise thoughtful design cues as way to ascertain Implicit Inclusivity.

Olive Pro earbuds by Olive Union, Japan
The Soke interior by Covet & Noir, London

5. Boosting psychological wellbeing via interior design

London – Design studio Covet & Noir unveils its latest project, designing comforting interiors for mental health clinic, The Soke.

The use of neutral colourways throughout the London-based facility aims to evoke feelings of tranquillity for visitors. Other design features in the 10-room family-focused clinic include soundproof walls to block out local traffic, linen curtains for privacy and a natural feel, and relaxation pods. The design studio purposefully selected furniture such as leather upholstered chairs and vintage sofas to make the space warm and inviting, similar to being at home.

‘The non-clinical character has been carefully curated to shift the image of prevalent everyday mental health issues and to encourage people to embrace regular engagement with their psychological well-being, as one other aspect of their positive lifestyle choices,’ says Maria Lindgren, co-founder of Covet & Noir.

In our macro trend Conscious Deceleration, we explore the calming impact interior design can have on people's subconscious and how this design can be replicated in healthcare environments.


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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