30 : 04 : 21 : Weekly Debrief

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Need To Know

This week: Browns unveils a connected luxury store, The Future Rocks subverts diamond trading, a mind-altering exhibition, food prices based on freshness and Sydney’s regenerative bar.

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30 April 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Net-A-Porter Lifestyle Edit


Browns Brook Street, Mayfair, London

1. Browns’ tech-driven store augments luxury retail

London – The luxury department store’s new technology-enhanced layout promises to transform high-end retail.

Browns, which is owned by e-commerce platform Farfetch, is becoming a connected and service-driven luxury environment, building on Farfetch’s mission to create the store of the future. In this vein, this new multi-brand store is complemented by the Browns app, which allows customers to book appointments and pre-arrange a selection of items on arrival. Meanwhile, the store's changing rooms will feature connected mirrors to display products selected by customers.

Other experiential elements include an on-site restaurant, a dedicated area for make-up and styling, and a space for a changing roster of store events. Holli Rogers, chair of Browns, says: ‘Our new magical home will inspire customers as well as usher in a fundamental shift in the way people shop as layered into this connected, tech-enabled experience is a thoughtful and human side – which is so crucial in the current landscape where personalisation is pivotal.’

As we explore in Storefront Salvation, retailers are recognising the importance of digital innovation in store environments and combining physical touchpoints with technology.

TikTok teamLab Reconnect, Tokyo

2. A sauna-art hybrid promising enlightened states

Tokyo – Art Collective teamLab is partnering with social media platform TikTok on an exhibition combining art and sauna experiences to alter mental states.

Dubbed TikTok teamLab Reconnect, the exhibition is an immersive environment where visitors replicate the process of entering a sauna, having a cold shower and then taking a rest, before engaging with artworks. The intention is for visitors to enter a ‘sauna trance’. According to teamLab, this sensation prompts the senses to sharpen, as well as clearing the mind and allowing people’s environments to be experienced more fully.

‘By taking alternating hot and cold baths, visitors open their minds, experience an ever-expanding physical sensation and become one with the art,’ comments teamLab in a statement. The artwork on show takes inspiration from the laws of nature, building on teamLab’s new art project, Supernature Phenomenon.

As we explore in Enlightened States, the notion of Meditative Museums are helping the public to reach a calmer state of mind.

The Future Rocks by AKQA, global

3. The Future Rocks fosters community around jewellery

US & Global – The platform is serving a gap in the lab-grown diamond market by providing an ethical marketplace with an editorial and community-centric focus.

Launching with a progressive campaign by AKQA, The Future Rocks platform seeks to profile lab-grown diamonds through an inclusive and engaging lens. The marketplace is supporting emerging jewellery designers by providing them with a space to sell products as well as communicate their unique stories and values. Meanwhile, shoppers are provided with a channel to access ethically sourced, quality jewellery.

‘We hope to ignite and capture the hearts of both jewellery lovers and people who’ve never bought jewellery before,’ says Anthony Tsang, CEO of The Future Rocks. ‘We wanted a bold campaign to resonate with a new consumer base, reflecting progressive values that they embody – such as inclusivity, ethics, and diversity.’

In a similar vein, editorial platform Dimepiece takes a subversive approach to the luxury watch industry, targeting younger women consumers normally overlooked by watch marketers.

4. This Milan supermarket incentivises off-price groceries

Milan and Israel – Italian supermarket group Iper is using electronic labels to make it easier for consumers to buy foods based on their expiry date.

The store is working with Israel-based technology start-up Wasteless to feature electronic price tags that lower the cost of groceries in real time. Using algorithms, the prices are adjusted depending on expiry date, as well as the time of day and popularity of particular food items. Through this system, Iper can significantly reduce grocery waste, while consumers are financially incentivised to shop more sustainably.

While we’ve been tracking the evolution of Wasteless since 2017, the new collaboration aims to break down the stigma attached to buying off-price items. Oded Omer, founder and CEO of Wasteless, explains: ‘Now, consumers can make shopping decisions that reward their sustainable behaviour, and there is no stigma that the shopper is sacrificing anything or buying second-rate items.’

Wasteless is just one disruptor championing sustainable solutions that work towards Food Waste Innovation.

Wasteless in collaboration with Iper, Milan
RE designed in collaboration with Alfred, Sydney

5. A regenerative bar building booze from food waste

Sydney – With a zero-waste policy, Australian bar Re serves as a blueprint for how bars can operate in the future.

Marking a world first when it comes to permanent bar locations, Re is pioneering a regenerative hospitality experience, from its drinks to its interiors. The venue, designed in collaboration with creative production company Alfred, features furnishings made from recycled bottles and Tupperware, along with structural features made from milk bottles.

Re’s cordials, syrups and tinctures are all created from leftover food products that would typically be wasted. Experimental cocktails such as Play That Fungi Music, for example, make use of salvaged mushrooms. According to Matt Whiley, co-founder of Re, the bar aims to be zero-waste in due course: ‘Traditionally, the bar industry has been incredibly wasteful. I'm not saying that we're going to be zero-waste from day one, but we're going to try bloody hard to get there.’

While we’ve previously identified the rise of zero-waste dining innovations, Re showcases how regenerative hospitality can also thrive in the drinks industry.


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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