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category - design
category - mobility
category - sustainability
sector - health & wellness
sector - youth

This week: The Hermitage Hotel honours women’s history, a marketplace for professionals, celebrating cycling communities, a decolonised approach to spiced rum, and an insect hotel

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30 September 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Fluff Stuff


The Hermitage Hotel rebranding by Mucca, US

1. The Hermitage Hotel’s new identity honours women’s history

US – The iconic Hermitage Hotel unveiled a new face that is fresh and playful while echoing the Nashville-based hotel’s rich history.

The Hermitage Hotel has collaborated with creative studio Mucca to modernise its visual identity while celebrating its past. The hotel, which is classified as a National Historic Landmark, played a role in advocating for women’s rights in the 1920s.The updated branding is a nod to the past, namely through a new customised typeface called Suffragette and the use of bright yellow, a colour symbolising the movement. The hotel’s messaging is adopting a laid-back tone; for instance, swapping traditional ‘Do not Disturb’ door hangers for ‘No, thanks’ or ‘Please tidy up my room’ for ‘Yes, please’.

‘We were able to honour the original spirit of the building, using the right mix of reverence and irreverence to help it reclaim its moment in history,’ explains Mucca founder Matteo Bologna. An increasing number of luxury institutions want to see their Heritage Refashioned, but striking the right balance between brand legacy and relevance for tomorrow’s consumers can be a challenge.

e-Robertet, France and UK

2. Robertet creates a marketplace for professionals

France – Fragrance and flavour manufacturers like the Robertet Group tend to work in relative secrecy, producing the raw materials behind some of the world’s most popular perfumes and food products. With its latest e-Robertet online shop, however, the company is opening its vaults, allowing professionals to purchase its products directly through its website. The website will sell essential oils, vegetal oils and floral waters.

Robertet is a stalwart in the fragrance and flavour industry, with 170 years of experience and a long list of collaborations with major perfume brands and composition houses. Until today, its B2B services have largely been conducted outside the public realm – like most raw material manufacturers. Although its new e-Robertet shop is still aimed at professionals, it marks a shift away from the sheltered tendencies of the sector, promoting greater transparency.

As beauty consumers become more knowledgeable about the ingredients in their products, Robertet’s new marketplace aligns with the rise of the Skintellectual movement, something which we previously explored in the Accredited Beauty macrotrend.

Friends with Purpose series by Klipdrift in partnership with Biking Bandits, South Africa

3. Biking Bandits celebrates cycling communities in South Africa

South Africa – Merging sport with socialising, cycling brotherhood Biking Bandits has teamed up with brandy company Klipdrift on a campaign spotlighting the benefits of ‘social riding’ for South African communities.

Part of Klipdrift’s Friends with Purpose series dedicated to powerful tales of friendship, the campaign showcases cycling in a different setting from the typical media portrayal. The film follows the founders of Biking Bandits in the streets of Soweto as they explain how they created a community dedicated to 'bringing cycling back to the hood' to mitigate the pandemic-induced loneliness.

Biking Bandits actively promotes freedom of movement and aims to shake up the stereotypes around cycling’s representation in the media. ‘The face of cycling in South Africa has been predominantly white and [Biking Bandits] is reinforcing that this is an activity everyone can participate in, wearing what they want and cycling in whatever spaces they want to,’ says Dylan Davies, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa.

Speaking to Neo-collectivists, the initiative shows how next-generation communities can redefine and decolonise the shape of sports like cycling.

4. Spirits company takes a decolonised approach to spiced rum

UK – Mirchi is a new spirits company launching a natural spiced rum that prioritises real ingredients – and community. Guided by the founders' West African and South Asian roots, Mirchi interrupts a market that fails to appeal to young communities of colour and that often treats sustainability as an afterthought.

Distilled locally in the UK, the natural spiced rum is carbon-neutral and plastic-free. Mirchi, which means ‘spice’ in Urdu, encapsulates the ‘beauty of Lahore and the atmosphere of the London night scene’. Combined with the with hero ingredient baobab, an organic powder grown in Ghana, the spirit embodies a melting pot of cultures. Co-founders Arslaan Ahmed and Harry Nti Trotman wanted to ‘take the best bits of our culture and combine them with how we experience flavour today’, affirming their mission to diversify a market rooted in tradition.

Mirchi bridges the gap in the market for a spirit that appeals to these diverse communities, decolonising a space that relies on outdated aesthetics.

Mirchi, UK
Alusta Pavilion at Helsinki Design Week by Maiju Suomi and Elina Koivisto, Finland

5. Insect hotel unveiled at Helsinki Design Week

Finland – Aiming to provide an urban shelter for pollinators, a clay structure dubbed an ‘insect hotel’ is being inaugurated as part of Helsinki Design Week. Designed by architects Maiju Suomi and Elina Koivisto, the Alusta Pavilion is located within the courtyard between the Helsinki Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.

The installation comprises low-rise clay and wood structures, featuring shapes and perforations designed to act as a playground for bees and insects. ‘Many visitors have exclaimed that this is like a giant insect hotel,’ says Suomi, explaining how the project’s nickname came about. Visitors are invited to explore and interact with the garden, to have a seat on the clay walls, or to attend workshops and lectures on architecture and the climate emergency hosted in the grounds.

Projects drawing on Interspecies Architecture to tackle the shrinking populations of pollinators in urban areas are blooming. The Alusta Pavilion is a good example of design bringing people and nature closer, while endorsing an educational role and raising awareness on the impact of the climate crisis on biodiversity.


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