Fashion is rapidly testing new formats to show collections and create bonds with its audience, through original online experiences. Gucci, presented a virtual and interactive playful universe called Collina Land, to raise awareness about climate change and promote ecological activities. Designed together with the artist Hillary Taymour, and the fashion brand Collina Strada, the video game stars 12 models who assume the roles of avatars, thanks to the 3D scanning technique. Players explore a fantastic landscape, plant trees and feed virtual animals, to encourage reflection on the notions of change, growth and community. The clothes worn by the avatars can also be worn in real life.
Every year Ikea launches a limited collection of rugs designed by contemporary artists. In 2019, it featured eight designs from creatives like Virgil Abloh and Misaki Kawai. To avoid the mistakes of previous releases, when opportunists bought carpets in quantity to resell them on eBay at higher prices, Ikea created “Ikea (He) art Scanner”. The experience, developed in Belgium, was designed to detect those consumers who had a “love at first sight” with the products. Those interested were able to see the rugs on display at an Ikea store in Anderlecht. Each was given a helmet equipped with an EEG device, which detected electrical activity in the brain, adapted to an algorithm to measure beta and gamma brain waves, the body's electrical responses and heart rate in real time. As customers viewed each mat, the algorithm converted their EEG device data into a score that determined whether they were eligible to purchase it. Displayed as a percentage, the rating was projected on the wall next to each carpet; a low percentage indicated a lack of genuine interest and made the rug unavailable for purchase, while customers with a high percentage were able to purchase the item.
The world of video games is expanding beyond the stereotypes that were generally thought of. The political component enters this field to find the young public that spends much of their daily time online, even more in times of pandemic. Build the Vote, was an experience created in Minecraft, for young Americans to participate in the presidential voting process. The result of a collaboration between Sid Lee and the non-profit organization Rock the Vote, the face-to-face voting mechanism was recreated as faithfully as possible: a polling place that evoked the Capitol, which participants walked into, a registration instance and, later, the solo entrance to the voting room. With the intention of making the experience nonpartisan, the players did not vote on the actual candidates, but on issues related to the topics that were addressed in the debates, such as criminal justice, immigration and socio-political reforms. Each vote was collected anonymously and the results were posted online before October 30. For their time, players were rewarded with skins, as well as the "I voted" stickers, which were distributed at the polling places.
With the proliferation of working from home, people demand new solutions that allow them to manage and look better in endless online sessions. L'Oreal introduced “Signature faces”, an augmented reality tool that virtually adds makeup to the face during a video conference. The interface allows to use 10 products with different styles. It is compatible with Snapchat, Instagram, Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts, among others. In 2018, the brand had already launched an app to test makeup with AR, but now it has decided to advance the line of virtual cosmetics.
People demand better virtual communication experiences, after a first period of using basic videoconferencing platforms, driven by the quarantine caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. New technologies allow enriching the way of transmitting verbal and non-verbal language to improve online work and learning. The PORTL company is changing virtual interaction through holographic communication. Postmortem performance via a hologram of Tupac Shakur at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival inspired the company to create the Epic HoloPortl machine. It is a device the size of a phone booth that promises to transmit live holograms. The machine uses stretched, transparent 4K LCD screens, built into the light box, giving the impression of a 3D hologram. The company is working on a reduced and more accessible version of the device, aimed at home use, that would be the size of a desktop computer.
Older people always consider how accessible a product is when deciding on a purchase. The lack of mobility and social isolation are problems that can be solved with the assistance of technology, helping to simplify decision-making. Lifepod has developed voice-activated interfaces that help older adults organize their day. Caregivers can program the 'pod' to create personalized routines, set reminders, and schedule general entertainment that provides well-being for patients. It also helps reduce feelings of loneliness by creating a stable social connection that is easily activated by your voice.
Disney announced a new “metaverse” theme park called ‘Windows to the Wild’, where the physical and digital worlds will converge. Wearables, smartphones and digital hotspots will immerse visitors in magical experiences with animals from Animal Kingdom, recreated in AR. Simultaneously, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway: Adventure Kit, an interactive home-use AR experience based on a Disney park attraction at Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, was launched. Available to play for free through the DisneyNow app, the kids' experience lets you control three iconic Disney characters - Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy Goof - as they drive through three vintage-styled augmented environments, customizable with a variety of cars, buildings and accessories.
Short-circuiting the brain through shocking images seems to have become the only way to capture the public's attention in a chaotic virtual and analog context. Clemence Grouin-Rigaux, creates and manufactures everyday furniture from an unusual material: waste collected from slaughterhouses. Pigs' blood, bones, fat, skin, hair and urine are treated and recycled to form tables, stools and chairs. The designer considers that it is time to make visible and reflect on the waste from the meat industry that has negative consequences for the environment. Every year more than 60 billion animals are slaughtered worldwide for food, with one billion farm animals in Great Britain alone (United Kingdom Slaughter Statistics-2019). Through her collection of everyday functional objects ‘Hidden Beauty’, the designer seeks to change the perception that waste can be useful to create novel and beautiful furniture.
Building forward-looking scenarios is a useful exercise in visualizing what's to come and helping companies prepare for the future. For example, the effects of climate change could be dramatic if action is not taken now. By imagining the worst possible scenario where there would be food shortages due to extreme environmental conditions, Israeli designer Meydan Levy created "Neo Fruit." These are five edible artificial fruits, which contain a cocktail of vitamins and minerals. Fake fruits have soft skins 3D-printed from translucent cellulose, an organic compound that gives plants their structure, injected with colors and flavors to make them tasty.
The recent Black Lives Matter movement has brought with it a harsh criticism of colonization and a rejection of the symbols and icons linked to it. The movement has unleashed a redefinition of a less Western-centric and white culture perspective, to move towards a more inclusive view of the world. Indian architect Bijoy Jain, proposes to move away from Anglocentric and European standards and canons in architecture, in an effort towards decolonization. His work celebrates the pre-colonial era of India, valuing the country's traditional masonry and crafts with the aim of creating a new architectural language that represents the local culture.
Recent youth activism finds new forms of expression and provokes symbolic appropriations in the artistic field that break with the status quo. French artist Clément Poplineau has developed a provocative language in painting by transposing codes from one era to another to represent current social inequality. Notions of oppression, power, police violence, political revolt and class struggle are present in his works. He takes as protagonists the young people of the French working and popular class to portray them with resources of classical painting. It uses elements of the Renaissance, originally intended to immortalize the rich and noble. In his paintings, highlighted themes, scenes and messages are not usually represented or accepted in traditional ethics.
Brands will find new forms of expression and connection with their audience thanks to the exponential growth of mixed reality (XR) applications and haptic devices. Ultraleap has developed a virtual "touch" through an innovative haptic technology, which uses ultrasound waves to create tactile sensations in the air. The three-dimensional shapes and textures can be felt more than seen. This will allow applying haptic layers to virtual objects, developing immersive holographic interfaces and increasing gesture control with natural tactile feedback. The integration of the digital, virtual and analog layers will be a fact in the near future.
In increasingly polarized societies, negative emotions such as fear and anger gain ground in front of others. Neuroscience tells us that all humans are intrinsically empathetic and that empathy is a skill we can train. The designer Guntra Laivacuma, has developed a solution. The Empathy Gym is a narrative board game that trains players to develop empathy towards others by sharing stories about emotions, actions and sensations. In its warm-up phase, the game asks participants to practice recognizing emotions through facial expressions. In the exercise phase, train players to develop better listening skills. Finally, in the cool-down phase, the game allocates time for people to reflect on their experience.
The continuous rise of stress-related disorders experienced by many in times of the Covid-19 pandemic are encouraging shifts towards wellness practices and habits that favor idleness and better sleeping in an effort to recover lost time. Niksen is a Dutch lifestyle concept that is becoming a trend in Northern Europe. It is the art of doing nothing to fight the increasingly fast pace of life. Practicing niksen means just being. It contemplates activities such as just hanging around, looking at surroundings or listening to music. All of it “without purpose,” without worrying about being efficient and productive. This philosophy has proven to be effective to reduce anxiety and fortify the immune system.
The home delivery culture and the need to reduce waste and one’s carbon footprint has encouraged a series of companies to revamp the old milkman model where goods are dropped and replenished at the door without the need for extra packaging. Among such companies, London-based Charrli that has created refillable glass bottles for everything from shampoos and conditioners to skincare products and soap, supporting a clean and simple life. The home delivery, subscription-based model simplifies the process by avoiding trips to a shop to refill toiletries.
As people become more and more concerned about hygiene and the quality of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, cities and institutions are taking measures provide healthier environments to city dwellers. The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao coated its outdoor signs with Pureti Print, a treatment developed in collaboration with NASA that mimics the natural process of photocatalysis to remove pollutants, bacteria, mold, and bad odor from the air. It is estimated that air purifying effect of the signs is the equivalent of that of over 700 trees. According to the design studio that implemented the project, Estudios Durero, the treatment can be applied to any printed material, multiplying future possibilities.
In the ever-expanding on-demand society and where people go directly to product and service providers to satsify their needs bypassing, in many cases, intermediaries, the ultimate business model is peer-to-peer commerce. Swimply is the Airbnb of private pools. The company connects pool owners with those looking to cool off in the heat of summer to rent backyard pools for $45 to $60 per hour. The company will soon launch a new platform called Joyspace where customers will be able to rent private spaces other than pools, like tennis and basketball courts, home gyms, backyards and private boats, on an hourly basis.
Eating out in times of social distancing can prove challanging for both restaurants and clients as, sometimes, rules are not strictly applied. March Gut designed a maple wood board which allows all dishes and cutlery to be served in one trip and while maintaining social distance. Originally designed for an Austrian hotel restaurant, the Alma tray is slightly longer than the minimum required distance of 1 metre in Austria to avoid the diffusion of Coronavirus.
The rental culture is making new adepts by the day as hard-pressed for cash and sustainability conscious younger customers are navigating through the pandemic. People are spending more time at home and they wish to turn their abodes into comfortble, beautiful and safe havens. Highsnobiety co-founder, Jeff Carvalho, in a recent episode of Digiday’s weekly show “The New Normal” said that “home goods are being coveted in the way that sneakers and clothes were being coveted…[Now] a coffee table can be seen as a desirable object.” As a result, the furniture rental market has seen dramatic increases and companies such as Feather, Hurr, and Harth have all seen spikes in rental requests in the last few months.
In times of self-preservation, people wish to boost their immune system and are increasingly concerned about whether the food they ingest is non-GMO and organic. Normally, farmers and businesses have to send produce to a lab to check for contaminants and that involves waiting a certain amount of time to obtain the results. The Inspecto machine uses the Raman Spectroscopy technique to check for chemical contaminants in food through a break-down of ingredients. For example, the device can measure pesticide residue levels or check the quality of a product before purchasing and during storage so that supermarkets, as well as regulatory officials, can make more informed decisions with peace of mind of their customers.
Knowledge from genetic science is being incorporated in products and services in order to to take hyper personalization to a new level. Matchmaking services are not excluded, especially in countries where birth rates are drastically dropping, like Japan and Singapore. For example, Tokyo-based Gene Partner Japan uses DNA samples to analyze a person’s human leucocyte antigen (HLA) genes. The bigger the difference between two people’s HLA makeup, the more likely they’ll find each other attractive. In Singapore, GeneMate helps clients find their life partner using biodata and the firm’s own unique algorithm. Companies in both Japan and Singapore have received government support for their DNA matchmaking services.
In a society that feels under biological threat and is required to continue to perform, the latest generations of wearables have integrated a series of emotional measurement and stress management tools for a more holistic approach to health. Amazon is launching its first fitness tracker, Halo. Its main selling point is emotional analysis using voice recognition technology: the device picks up emotional states based on the pitch, intensity, rhythm, and tempo of the user’s voice and flags “notable moments” throughout the day. Some of the emotional states identified include hopeful, elated, hesitant, bored, apologetic, happy, worried, confused, and affectionate.
Anxiety is taking its toll on a society crossed by conflict and civil unrest. For many individuals, it has become fundamental to develop kinship and process grief together. This has been especially true for the African American community. Social entrepreneur Elizabeth Dawes Gay launched Ipadé as a “functional sanctuary” for women of color providing a safe space for people to come together to recognize that they are not alone and build community.
The increasing diffusion of more sustainable consumer behavior is leading to a series of initiatives that priviledge access over ownership. Danish fashion brand Ganni is going to expand their rental service through Ganni Repeat, a collaboration with Levi’s. The parternship features a rental only capsule collection for the European and North American markets with pieces made from upcycled vintage Levi’s 501 jeans. The collection, called “Love Letter”, can be rented starting at $55 a week for up to three weeks. Items are home delivered in reusable RePack packaging.
The second-hand fashion market continues to grow and even small stores are moving online due to the impact of Coronavirus. PaperCity magazine recently published “A Guide to Virtual Vintage Shopping in Texas,” which features local vintage boutiques that have opted to selling on Instagram because of restrictions brought about by the Pandemic. Small stores are embracing innovative digital initiatives and they have found a sure avenue to reach younger customers who are more eco-conscious and prefer to buy second-hand garments.
Architects and urban planner are taking into account new criteria and demands to prepare for future COVID-resilient cities. Italian Studio Stefano Boeri Architetti and SON-Group partnered to design a new urban plan for a COVID-resilient living district in Albania for 12.000 residents. The design features a big space next to the Tirana river with walkable pathways and areas for outdoor exercise, with extensive roof gardens. Smart technologies will be incorporated to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses.
Post-pandemic, businesses and organizations are redesigning their services to prioritize outdoor space. Kings Cross in London now hosts a perment outdoor gallery which was inaugurated at the end of July with the exhibition ‘Games We Play’ from The Outside Art Project. The 26-acre space comprises 15 movable displays featuring the work of famous photographers and visual artists, with benches and seating available throughout. The idea is to replicate the project with cultural organizations across the UK and other countries in the future.
What is the definition of ‘normal’ today? More and more people acknowledge that there is a range of neurological abilities which form part of the human experience. Even the media media portrayals of people with neurological disabilities – historically almost non-existent or inaccurate – is changing. Little Voice, a comedy-drama that debuted on Apple TV depicts a character with autism, Louie King. The actor playing King - Kevin Valdez - is also on the spectrum. The show co-creator, Jessie Nelson, who wrote and directed the 2001 film I Am Sam featuring Sean Penn playing a dad with an intellectual disability, said that at that time, he “was not allowed to cast an actor with a disability in the lead. I could barely get the movie made. It took me years and years and years to convince people that this was a story worth telling.”
As retail in big cities is struggling in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, big brands are moving their attention to suburbs and vacating their central locations. The WSJ reported that there are over 300 vacant storefront on Broadway in Manhattan, a 78% increase from 2017. Among brands that have closed their Manhattan stores are Kate Spade, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penny, Le Pain Quotidien. Residents too are looking to suburbian areas for a change of lifestyle. Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel reports that residential contracts in Manhattan dropped 31% in August while the housing market in the suburbs is booming and bids are above asking prices.
Increasingly skincare brands are resorting to science collaborating with MIT experts and Nobel prize winners to formulate products that consumers can fully trust, especially after the Coronavirus pandemic. The brand Augustinus Bader – names after the stem cell and biomedical scientist behind the formulas – has created a hand cream that helps with dryness from over-washing, the new routine to avoid the spread of the virus. The brand patented a ‘TFC8 technology’ which uses amino acids, vitamins, and “synthesized versions of molecules found naturally in skin”.
More and more traditional medicine is converging with holistic medicine, however, the connection is sometimes nebulous. Kenshō Health is a directory and information service that merges science and holistic medicine. For such reason, it wants to be more like a holostic health medical journal bringing scientific rigor and data to wellness. Kenshō’s ensures that all the care providers on the platform are 100% validated by carrying out a comprehensive background check. Providers come from Stanford University, Harvard University, Columbia University and other.
The virtual and physical universes are increasingly merging in retail experiences. To open its new Harajuku store in Tokyo, Ikea developed a facility to house the popular virtual influencer Imma, a character who does not exist in real life and who is followed by more than 250,000 people on Instagram. For three days, Imma lived in the store's windows, redesigned for the occasion as her living room and bedroom through high-definition LED screens placed inside the physical rooms. The physical space was "curated" by the influencer to give the appearance of being a real place at the same time that her daily life was broadcasted on YouTube during 9 hours.
Interior design will incorporate extra functions to improve people's health. Artemide has developed the patented Integralis technology that allows lamps to become disinfectants for environments by using ultraviolet light. Installed in traditional lighting devices, the technology can be programmed through an app to emit normal light when there are people in the room (and avoid damage to human beings) and ultraviolet (UV) rays when empty to sanitize the environment. Devices in the busiest rooms can be programmed to emit short bursts of stronger UV light when no one is present to disinfect both surfaces and the air.
In an attempt to align death with the circular values embraced in life, designer and researcher at the Delft University of Technology Bob Hendrikx designed Living Cocoon, a coffin made from fungal mycelium that helps bodies decompose faster as well as improve soil quality. The coffin structure takes a week to grow and, once it contains the body of the deceased, it takes about two to three years to decompose. This represents a great advantage over conventional wooden coffins that take more than ten years to decompose in the ground.
In times of COVID19, traditional celebrations are transformed with the use of extended reality technologies. To get around the restriction of gathering large numbers of people, the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay held an online graduation ceremony in which 2,000 students participated through personalized avatars. Using Virtual Reality, the avatars took the stage and received their certificates from the director of the IIT. The ceremony was broadcasted on two local television channels, as well as YouTube and Facebook Live.
Urban design incorporates sanitary functions to make cities safer in times of COVID19. In Seoul, South Korea, bus shelters designed like glass cabins have been installed and equipped with temperature measuring devices and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. Passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal imaging camera and the door will open only if their temperature is below 37.5 ° C. The cabins also include an air conditioning system with ultraviolet lamps that kill viruses while cooling the air.
Designers are reacting to the extraordinary times of change we are living as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Viktor & Rolf’s Autumn/Winter 2020 collection titled ‘Change’ features silky nightgowns emblazoned with emojis and "unapproachable" coats covered in spikes and tubes. It includes three mini-wardrobes each composed of three looks including a nightgown, a dressing gown, and a coat. Each wardrobe represents a different state of mind about the pandemic: the first is about a ‘panoply of gloom" and aims to emulate a feeling of sadness and anger; the second represents the "conflicting emotions" that many are experiencing during the pandemic; the third wants to "radiate love" converting the "melancholy" of the first capsule collection into "serenity".
Thinking solutions that help improve the quality of life of minorities is a necessary strategy in a critical social context. A new app called WYD Pride has been developed to help LGBTQIA+ people find places where they will feel welcomed and accepted. The app combines user comments, Yelp reviews, and Instagram photos to help users make an informed and safer decision about where to go in the neighbourhood. The app includes three different methods for discovering LGTBQIA+-friendly places, including list view, pin view, and an immersive AR mode.
Helping the public to better understand products is one way to earn their loyalty. Aldi supermarket chain in the UK has launched an online course for wine shoppers and drinkers following research which shows that two thirds (63%) of Brits are confused and a further 57% admit to “feeling daunted” when it comes to buying wine. Aldi’s wine course, which is free of charge, has been called the “Aldiploma” and the company says it is the first supermarket wine course of its type in the UK, offering “price-tag and pressure-free learning” with six online modules and video tutorials.
Creating communities around physical care and sports remains an effective brand strategy.’The Runaway' by New Balance in London is the first-ever pub to be opened by the sneaker brand. It targets marathon runners who will pay for beers with miles run and tracked through the social fitness network Strava. To support runners who are preparing for spring marathons, there are a series of running challenges: the first challenge is to run 40 miles for pints, while the last challenge tasks runners to go the distance of 10K for pints. Inside the pub, there's a fully stocked bar but as this unique destination expressly appeals to active individuals, it also includes a gym area with weights for working out.
The merger between the cosmetic, health, and textile sectors will open up new possibilities for innovation. The designers behind the Sildior – a luxury towel that helps keep your skin hydrated and flawless - claim to be able to physically pause the signs of aging by relying on a specially engineered fabric with an anti-aging Sericin protein built into it. The towel is woven from 100% Mulberry Silk, a high-grade silk obtained from the cocoon of the Bombyx mori silkworm. The silkworm is also responsible for producing a protein called Sericin, found in most cosmetics for its ability hydrate the skin and reduce the presence of wrinkles.
With the increasing awareness of the positive effects of good nutrition, people are demanding new food philosophies. Future Food Today is the title of SPACE10’s first cookbook developed with sustainability in mind both for people and the planet. Uniting technology, science and food, recipes are based on future food trends that will define nutrition in the next few years. From “dogless hotdogs” and “algae chips”, to “bug burgers” and “microgreen popsicles”, it’s packed with dishes we could, one day, be eating on a regular basis. SPACE10 is IKEA’s future living lab.
Anti-racism protesters are finding creative ways to express their opinion and deliver strong messages to change culture. The statue of slave trader Edward Colston has been replaced in Bristol, UK, with a sculpture of one of the protesters who brought it down in the framework of anti-racist protests. The new image depicts Jen Reid, an activist photographed at the scene when the sculpture was shot down. The artist Marc Quinn was charged with designing and then coordinating the direct action of locating the new statue - in just 15 minutes and without authorization from the local government - as "an incredible act of poetic justice".
Amid increased activism on the streets and online, the issue of privacy is at risk with the use of new facial recognition technologies. The encrypted messaging application ‘Signal’ developed a new tool to easily blur faces when users share images of people, adding another layer of privacy while not completely hiding the subject's identity. The company decided to add this option to support global protests against racism and police violence caused by the murder of George Floyd by law enforcement. “2020 is a pretty good year to cover your face”, the company said.
'Eau De Space' is a perfume created by NASA that recreates the aroma of space following the astronauts' perception: "space smells of metal, a quite pleasant sweet metallic sensation", "gunpowder", or "raspberry and rum". Developed by Steve Pearce at the request of NASA in 2008 to aid in the training of astronauts, the perfume will soon be available to the public. It also works on another perfume called Smell of the Moon. The goal is to increase interest in experimental learning in disciplines such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The tourism sector is exploring new possibilities to overcome the limitations caused by the global health crisis. After organizing the first live virtual tour from the Palace of Versailles on May 14, Alibaba's travel services platform, Fliggy, renewed the experience with the British Museum on June 30. The 120-minute live stream was animated from the museum by a Chinese guide, Yiman Lin, to accompany the 370,000 virtual visitors through famous works on display, such as the Rosetta Stone, the statue of King Ramses II, the sculptures of the Parthenon and the double-headed Aztec serpent.
Digital activism grows and expands its political influence thanks to the ingenuity of people who find new forms of action and protest. Thousands of teenagers - many of them still unable to vote - are actively intervening in the US presidential campaign by using the Tik Tok social network to boycott candidate Donald Trump, after he announced his intention to ban it for being an app of Chinese origin. Last month, hundreds of thousands of young people signed up to attend Trump's first convention after lockdown in Tulsa but did not show up leaving the stadium semi-empty - a devastating image. In recent days, thousands of ‘tikTokers’ followed a step-by-step guide on how to downgrade Trump's 2020 campaign app rating on the Apple App Store and hinder its download.
Post-coronavirus we will see more home objects and products performing additional functions related to keeping our homes safe and clean from bacteria and virus. The Sterilizing Lamp by Frank Chou, uses an ultraviolet light to disinfect objects such as the user’s keys, mobile phone and wallet in 60 seconds.
The new normal will require new products and services that help people to regularly sanitize objects and spaces in daily life. From devices to clean fruits and vegetables to system that keep a living environment healthy. Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati has designed a concept for a portable case to purify clothes removing bacteria and viruses from fabrics. The “Pura-Case” uses ozone in the sanitization process and can be controlled using a battery-powered panel on top or remotely via a mobile app.
Dyson has patented a new type of air purifier which it describes as a mix between an air purification system and a set of headphones for an effective but somewhat subtle solution to staying healthy in germ- or pollution-filled settings. Dyson's portable air purifier features two speakers assemblies -- both have a filter, an impeller that creates airflow and a motor that drives the impeller. The clean air travels down a nozzle and to a front strip. This strip has an outlet that releases air toward your nose and mouth.
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne revealed a wearable skin that allows virtual reality (VR) users to feel objects in virtual environments. The skin-like supplement, made from silicone and electrodes, is filled with sensors and actuators which work together to realistically mimic a sense of touch. At the moment, the prototype is limited to a fingertip device; however, researchers are hopeful of more applications in the future.
Carmaker Ford designed an ‘emoji jacket’ that could make cycling on the road much safer. It features a large LED panel on the back allowing the user to display their mood and therefore communicate much easier with drivers. Ford created the jacket as part of its ‘Share the Road’ campaign, to encourage more people to cycle safely. The big emoji icons are displayed as indicators and a hazard signal to demonstrate a rider’s movements and possible dangers ahead. The function can be controlled via a wireless remote mounted to the bike’s handlebars.
Videos with the hashtag #CAMHS – standing for child and adolescent mental health services – now total 6.1 million total views on TikTok as young users share their experiences with overstretched healthcare. But the app is also being used as an important springboard for discussion. Along with providing a platform for young Muslim women to speak out about Islamophobia, and LGBTQ+ people to discuss coming out to their parents, there’s a whole subgenre emerging where teens are speaking out against the failings of mental health services.
Matt Healy, frontman of Brit award-winning band the 1975, stated that the group will only perform at festivals with a gender-balanced lineup. Healy’s decision comes in the wake of the announcement of the lineup for Reading and Leeds festival, which continues to be heavily male-dominated. Out of the 91 artists in the first announcement, only 20 are female or feature women. Only three of the 18 acts announced for its main stage include women.
Unilever announced it is updating its principles for food and beverage marketing to children. For instance, it will no longer target marketing communications to children under 12 (over 25% of its audience). The key reason is that the World Health Organization calls childhood obesity one of the most serious public health issues of the 21st century. Unilever wants to help parents, caregivers and kids make informed choices about the food and drinks they buy.
Theory has created a new labeling system called ‘Theory For Good’, which tackles three of the signature materials they use in clothes—wool, cotton, and linen. The new system considers the fabrics’s environmental footprint, workers’ rights, and animal welfare. Products with tags that say Good Wool, Good Linen, and Good Cotton mean that the material in them is traceable all the way back to origin. The objective is that by 2025, 100% of Theory’s signature fabrics will be traceable.
Artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s new artwork is titled ‘Safety Jackets Zipped the Other Way’ and comes in a range of configurations that can be tailored to one’s own taste, or space. It consists of a set of high-vis safety jackets combined with standard construction materials such as wall hooks and cable ties that can be assembled according to an Ikea-esque self-assembly instruction sheet. The self-assembled democratic artwork meets the artist’s purpose: to provide the possbility to make art to anyone.
With a reference to the scratching technique that was made famous by hip hop artists, Soltani+Leclercq designed ‘Scratch my Rijks’, a series of postcards from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Using a coin, users can reveal the hidden artwork that lies beneath the golden scratcheable surface, turning the user into an archivist, a restorer, an artist, and a viewer. The postcards perfectly convey the museum’s primary missions of storing, restoring, and displaying art pieces.
In an effort to redefine our relationship with technology and gadgets, design studio SF-SO created ‘Tamed Digital Devices’. The project is a response to the prevalence of digital products in the current society with numerous built-in features and functions that, rather than helping, just create confusion for the user. To counteract this trend, the Tamed Digital Devices bring back the tactility of analogue products in a series of four objects: the ball internet radio, the cone bluetooth speaker, the wheel digital radio, and the fingerprint smart door lock. Moving away from touch screens and electronic sensors, the intuitive physical interfaces derived from analogue products aim at reducing the user’s overall time and effort.
Chef’s Pierre Thiam is the owner of Teranga, a West African eatery in New York who believes his restaurant should contribute to saving the planet’s biodiversity. He prefers to use ingredients from underutilized crops because, in his words, “designing a menu should be a conscious and responsible act.”
With coronavirus spreading across the world and dominating the news a Chinese designer, Duyi Han, decided to pay tribute to the medical workers who are risking their lives to help those in need. He illustrated the walls and ceilings of a historic church in China’s Hubei province – where the epidemic began – with the traditional style of church paintings and frescos showing medical workers who are selflessly putting themselves at the front line of the virus.
The “Edward Hopper and the American Hotel” exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), includes a fully functional hotel room meticulously recreated as a copy of the suite from Hopper’s 1957 painting Western Motel where people can sleep one night. From a blue garment thrown over a chair in the foreground, to the angle of the light and the vista beyond every detail has been recreated.
‘Biogarmentry’ is a sustainable clothes collection created by the Canadian-Iranian designer Roya Aghighi made from algae that turn carbon dioxide into oxygen via photosynthesis. The collection is a result of the collaboration between the University of British Colombia (UBC) and Emily Carr Univeristy. With the aim to introduce a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, garments use biofabricated textiles with living organisms: the fabrics combine chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a single-cell green algae with nano polymers.
‘Levenslicht’ is an interactive sculpture designed by Daan Roosegaarde in Rotterdam that pays tributes to the 104,000 victims of the Holocaust. The installation is made up of luminescent rocks that glow every few seconds, apparently as if taking "a breath of light", arranged in a circle, around which visitors can gather to reflect.
During Stockholm Design Week 2020, Massproductions created an installation comprising an oversized bell tent, with a metal chair encircling a ‘fireplace’ at its heart, with the aim of inviting visitors to slow down and enjoy a moment of contemplation. To stimulate the five senses and evoke nights under starry skies, the designers integrated tactile surfaces, bespoke scent and special materials for the furniture. The company provided time and space for attendees to step off the treadmill of the typical design fair experience, dominated by a fast-paced obsession with novelty.
OMA has created a new resort typology in Bali, dedicated to both guests and the local community. The building opens up the ground and top floors for public events and activities. The ‘Desa Potato Head’ project (‘desa’ is the Indonesian translation of ‘village’) includes a beach club and two hotels as well as private guestrooms. OMA designed the resort to be open to the public, creating spaces that could accommodate festival celebrations, cultural events, and day-to-day leisure activities.
DeliverZero is a new zero packaging waste restaurant delivery service launched in NYC. The service allows customers to order food from their favorite restaurants as per usual but packaging the food in returnable and reusable containers.
IKEA Dubai is now letting customers pay for goods with their time. The logic is simple: the more time customers spend travelling to IKEA, the more they can buy. The campaign allows customers to spend their time as a currency, simply by showing IKEA checkout staff their Google Maps timeline, which proves how much time they’ve spent travelling to IKEA stores.
Design studio Superflux built a vision of a typical Singapore home in 2219, with features including homemade hunting tools, snorkelling equipment and a mini hydroponic farm. It is equipped with tools that occupants might need to source food and water, as well as to travel around the city. With the installation Mitigation of Shock, placed at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, Superflux imagined that climate change will completely change the way people live their lives over the next 100 years, as day-to-day survival becomes increasingly difficult.
Joes and Manon used an interactive dinner as a catalyst for a conversation about one of the biggest taboos: sexuality. Through nutrition they tried to remove this intimate subject from the taboo sphere and open the discussion of sex. At the Natlab in Strijp-S, they created a cosy setting with music, video, a greenhouse and a bar. The two designers were able to talk about sexuality casually and the standards and behaviour associated with it. They compiled a programme with Rutgers, the Dutch authority in the field of research and sexuality, and other designers such as Thieu Custers, Nienke Helder and Circus Engelbregt.
Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich has created ‘Order of Importance’, a sand-covered sculptures of 66 cars and trucks, which he has arranged to resemble a traffic jam on Miami Beach in a bid to raise awareness of the climate-change crisis. The temporary installation was placed on the oceanfront at Lincoln Road during Miami art week, to draw attention to rising sea levels.
‘The Art of Listening: Under Water’ is an immersive sound installation created by the artist Jana Winderen and presented in Art Basel in Miami Beach. The installation provides visitors with a unique opportunity to listen closely to the ocean’s inhabitants and to reflect upon the ways in which human activity interferes with underwater life. Winderen has a background in mathematics, chemistry, and fish ecology, and her practice explores audio and environments that are difficult for humans to access on their own—whether aurally or physically. By looking at the way sound travels through various materials (like soil, stone, wood, and water), she began considering how natural noise from varying environs are affected by the interruption of human activity.
'Pool', designed by Breakfast, is an exploration in the call-and-response nature of people’s interaction with water and machines. The piece integrates painted aluminum, custom mechanical motor system, custom motion tracking software, camera, and computational design. The individual Brixels collectively mimic the moments of a surface of reflective water. The sculpture translates the human motions above and around it into ripples across the surface. These brick-like-objects, which can take on various forms and be made from a myriad of materials, can precisely rotate, making up an array of kinetic pixels.
‘Muqarna Mutation’ is an installation algorithmically designed and robotically fabricated. It combines architecture, mathematics, and art to form highly intricate and complex stalactite structures. A selective subdivision algorithm generates hundreds of thousands of tiles set among dozens of tiers to create an extragavant ornamental transition from column to ceiling. Robots refine and ennoble a mass-produced industrial product, aluminum profiles, into an elaborate structural ensemble: 15,000 individual aluminum tubes are suspensed from a robotically-milled, tiered base. Muqarna Mutation at Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, reconceives historical muqarna archetypes and explores how - in the context of the fourth industrial revolution – computational design and robotic fabrication can bring the splendor of such a rule-based geometric art into the future. Standing beneath the muqarna, visitors are struck by a mix of bewilderment and curiosity: a disorientating sensory overload partially obfuscates the underlying compositional logic. Patterns are readily discernible as one changes perspectives, only to disappear again amidst the endless reflections.
‘Corporealités’, created by Jesper Just, explores cyborg theory with dancers from the American Ballet Theater. It is an immersive video installation punctuated with a series of physical and sensory elements that force viewers to re-orient themselves within their spatial surroundings. The architectural arrangement of the installation encourages participants to create unexpected and illogical pathways as they circumnavigate the space. Dancers overlaps and intertwines, intermittently observed through a microscopic camera lens. The extreme zoom of the lens renders genders and identity ambiguous, while the fractured screens mirror the fractured bodies, forging a tangible connection across physical and digital spaces.
‘A Station of Being’ is an experimental bus station for the Arctic Region. The station transforms the uncomfortable experience of waiting into a transitional experience: a moment to ’just be’ and ‘change your state of being’– before heading for a new place and new activities. The first prototype of the bus stop was in Umeå, Sweden, where waiting for a bus may well mean standing on an icy platform in a cold snowstorm. The station has a smart roof, integrating lighting and sounds, that informs travellers when a bus is approaching. Every bus line has its own signature: for instance, when bus line 9 to Röback, that hosted local glass makers, is 20 seconds away, ‘glassy’ tones sound through the station and yellow shades appear on the ceiling and on the pavement. The station has pods looking like rigid, wooden jackets and hanging from a giant timber roof, invite travellers to lean in them very comfortably. They can be rotated easily, so that one could always stay out of the wind, no matter in which direction the wind blows. The pods also invite people to move their body and to create various social situations: looking at each other or keeping others out of the wind. The pods provide comfort and warmth without consuming any power.
‘Faire Corps’ is a poetic, sensitive and immersive journey imagined by the company Adrien M & Claire B through works based on interacting algorithms and human movements. The experience, at Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, integrates graphic design, IT, scenography, music, drawing, video projections, imaginary living art, and movement. “More than ever, we feel the need for a (re) appropriation of technological tools (...) We want to contribute to the creation of an imaginary future, a livable and possible future", the artists say.
'Catharsis' is an outdoor installation that immerses viewers within a reimagined ancient forest that has grown undisturbed for centuries. Set against the backdrop of Kensington Gardens, Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s forest and Equalsonics' soundscape serve as a counterpoint to frantic city life by digitally slowing you down and drawing you in. Access the installation's livestream worldwide via catharsis.live. ‘Catharsis’ is presented as part of CONNECT, BTS an free art project across five cities and four continents supported by South Korean K-pop group BTS.
The artist Doug Wheeler has developed a new immersive installation integrating light, technology, and architecture with the aim of engaging the viewers’ phenomenological perception of pure light and space. The “49 Nord 6 Est 68 Ven 12 FL”, at David Zwirner gallery in New York, is an ethereal installation light-saturated, all-white, creating an ‘infinity environment’ for living an intimate experience.
Kitx, created by Kit Willow Podgornik, is a conscious and therapeutic fashion Brand which uses ancient Ayurvedic recipes from South India to dye its fabrics and add antibacterial properties to garments. Meanwhile, Emily Bode designs textiles with medicinal properties using indigo yarns dyed by hand with basil, neem and turmeric, resulting in an aromatic tissue that helps cure respiratory problems.
White Spots App brings users to places that are disconnected from the internet understanding that being offline is the new luxury. The app uses an intelligent geo-localization system and virtual reality to show digital networks that surround a person in real time, and spots unconnected places on a world map. The app proposes different routes to nearest “white spot”, a place free of electromagnetic waves where feel calmer and safer.
The fashion brand Become has launched intelligent basics garments to help menopausal women manage hot flashes. The seamless knit technology wicks moisture and heat away from the body as users’ temperature increases. When body begins the rapid cool down, it transfers the heat back to prevent the chills while keeping the moisture at bay.
The DO Black, developed by Doconomy, is a credit card that tracks the carbon dioxide emissions of purchases and caps the climate impact of users' spending. The card is linked with an app that uses the Åland Index calculation system to measure the CO2 produced with every transaction allowing users to put limits on their consumptions to reduce the carbon footprint each day.
Spot, designed by Gadi Amit studio, is a toy to foster a kind of junior-level mindfulness by nurturing children's attention spans. The Artificial intelligence-equipped toy is a handheld scanner that kids can point at a living object in nature to hear it talk back, incorporating useful information to suit children ages five to nine. Then Spot uses its in-built projector to present a story woven around the day's discoveries creating a new play at bedtime. The designers found that this kind of toy could encourage focus and a natural pace of experiencing as opposed to instant gratification.
Inmergo headphones, designed by Rocco Giovannoni, provides a rich audio for people who are hard of hearing trough a new bone-conduction audio technology. The headphones, made with soft silicone, bypasses the eardrum and convey sound as vibrations through the bones of the skull, directly to the cochlea — the "hearing" part of the inner ear, but it does so via waterproof speakers that are fully immersed in liquid and then sealed in a pliable membrane. This membrane sits against a person's skin, transmitting sound vibrations through touch.
The design studio Donttakethisthewrongway installed bright yellow punching bags on the streets of Soho, Chelsea and Washington Square Park inviting New Yorkers to release their frustrations in a safe, communal space. The public punching bags offered an outlet for expressing emotions that we all face daily in a city, as a means to develop a healthier way to address personal and collective issues in a public setting.
A DANCE CLUB TO FIGHT LONELINESS AMONG ELDERLY PEOPLE
The Posh Club is a social club for the elderly in the style of an “elegant” evening tea inspired by the 40’s with live shows and volunteer waiters, to combat loneliness and promote intergenerational interaction.
Paradise Now by Bompas and Parr was a free and open-air urban facility that invited people to collectively enjoy a sunset in dunes infused with vitamins, rehydrate under fog falls, and cleanse themselves with rainwater enriched with minerals from exotic springs from around the world.
The opera ‘The Mile-Long Opera: a biography of 7 o’clock’, created by Liz Diller, brought together 1,000 singers along the NYC High Line in a free, immersive choral experience that helped rethink public space in an artistic and collective way.
The artwork Forced Empathy, by Tania Bruguera in the Tate Modern, requires that a large group of people come together and lie on the floor at the same time to reveal - through the body heat generated by the entire group - a hidden portrait of Yousef, a young Syrian who emigrated to London.
CopenHill is a revolutionary power plant in Copenhagen which burns waste instead of fossil fuel and has a roof with multiples functions. Based on the idea of “hedonistic sustainability”, the architects created a real mountain with a green forest area, a hiking trail, climbing and a ski slope. The design adds a “fun factor” into a nondescript industrial building and inserts a hill in the city’s flat topography.
A WEBSITE TO PROMOTE TRANSPARENCY BEHIND ALGORITHMS
Algo Transparency (algotransparency.org) aims to inform citizens on the mechanisms behind the algorithms that determine and shape access to information. The goal is avoiding the bias that Artificial Intelligence creates from market needs that negatively influence people. Technological experts developed a program that identifies the most recommended videos by YouTube’s algorithm, based on a given search.
Sony’s studio, Pixelopus, has released a new videogame called Concrete Genie where the protagonist, Ash, is a young artist living in dull fishing town. His job is to fill the landscape with street art using a magic paintbrush, dodging bullies and adding colors to their life. Developers turned to the PlayStation’s DualShock 4 controller, utilizing the motion sensors to turn it into a paintbrush.
The Pokémon Company has announced that it will soon launch an app that ‘turns sleeping into entertainment’. The app will track nightly sleep and assign a score based on sleep target – how regular, how long, etc. The aim will be to reward the day gaming experience when healthier sleeping habits are achieved.
A CIRCUS USES HOLOGRAMS INSTEAD OF LIVE ANIMAL PERFORMERS
The German Circus Roncalli uses 3-D holograms to present animal performers in its shows. Some of the holographic acts replicate traditional circus fare while others are more fantastical. In this way, the circus is preserving the tradition of animal acts while eliminating concerns of animal cruelty.
An anti-groping device developed by the firm Shachihata in Japan will help victims of sexual harassment on public transport to mark their assailants with an invisible ink stamp in the shape of a hand. People can then use the device's black light to identify those who have been marked.
Khulile Vilakazi-Ofosu and Caroline Hlahla designed the Sibahle doll collection (‘we are beautiful’ in the Zulu language), with the intention of changing the paradigm of African toys based on ‘white’ models and proposing new references to girls and boys. The collection includes black and mestizo dolls, with Indian features and even vitiligo.
The company Vollebak has designed a T-shirt using just plants and algae. The shirt is made from pulped eucalyptus and beech from sustainably managed forests, and algae grown in bioreactorswill, so the tissue can biodegrade in just 12 weeks.
Nike Adventure Club is a subscription plan for kid’s sneakers to make it easy for parents to keep up with their kids’ fast-growing feet and tendency to trash sneakers quickly. It offers parents three subscription tiers meant for kids ages two through 10. They can sign up to get four pairs of sneakers a year for $20 a month, six pairs for $30 a month, or 12 pairs for $50 a month. This subscription program is also a way to start building loyal customers from children.
British Airways is offerinng VR entertainment on select first class flights. Customers have their own 3D cinema in the sky, and can watch a variety of films, documentaries and travel shows in 2D, 3D or 360° formats. The line-up also includes a range of expertly-selected therapeutic VR experiences, such as guided meditation and sound therapy, specifically designed for those who fear flying.
Yona is the brainchild of musician Ash Koosha and artist Isabella Winthrop, who programmed her with the ability to create her own lyrics, chords and melodies through Artificial Intelligence. The virtual performance is a perfect mix between emotion, creativity and science. Yona develops in accordance with aggregate data of users online to expand ideas of collective consciousness, machine creativity and online ownership.
ARCHITECTURE AND FOREST THERAPY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY
The Green Villa is a hybrid office and residential building designed by MVRDV based on the principles of forest therapy, with plants embedded into its architecture. Studies shows that plants decrease people’s cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. The project includes a plant and tree library, as well as recycled rainwater to nourish the front-facing plants year-round.
Amelia Showfields is a character played by an actress in Showfields: a curated, immersive retail experience where customers can interact with products before they buy them providing both entertainment and escapism. Amelia gives customers a tour of the store, entertains them and adds a spark of whimsical madness to store.
In the last 12 months more Swedes have refused to take air travels because of “Flygskam” feeling, or “flight shame”, the embarrassment that local travellers feel about their environmental impact (source: Swedavia). The 16-year-old Swedish climate-change activist Greta Thunberg is sailing currently from Britain to New York, where she will attend the UN’s Climate Action Summit. Due to the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with air travel, Greta refuses to fly.
Due to butterfly populations plummeting, a new New York office building designed by Terreform One has been conceived to help give monarch butterflies a place to live. The facade is a wildlife habitat with a climate-controlled space where suspended milkweed vines and flowers support butterflies through their life cycle. Tiles that are 3D-printed from carbon-absorbing concrete give the insects places to land. Gardens on the roof and a terrace are filled with more pollinator-friendly plants.
AIR CONDITIONER WEARABLES TO FACE HEAT WAVES IN THE CITY
Sony designed Reon Pocket, a cooling wearable device to put right at the back of the neck in a specially designed undershirt’s pocket and deliver instant cooling thanks to a property of semi-conductors called the Peltier effect. The startup Embr Labs developed the Embr Wave bracelet. At the press of a button, a ceramic plate placed in contact with the skin gets really cold, providing a bit of relief by targeting the sensitive thermoreceptor nerves on the inside of wrist.
BIODEGRADABLE TENNIS DRESS MADE WITH LAB-GROWN SPIDER SILK
Adidas and Stella McCartney used vegan spider-style silk to create the Biofabric Tennis Dress, which can fully biodegrade. Bolt Threads, the bioengineering startup that created the fiber, studied the silk made by ‘argiope bruennichi’ – a type of orb-weaver spider that commonly spins its own web – to recreate a version of the proteins in a laboratory.
Protesters in Hong Kong have been pointing high-powered lasers directly at surveillance cameras — a high-tech protest strategy intended to confuse facial recognition systems and to avoid identification.
Designer José de la O and technology firm Mirai Innovation have developed an innovative design system that allows participants to manipulate a generic computer model of a vase using brain signals. People are able to alter different characteristics of the vase (colors, height, diameter) by relaxing or concentrating their minds. A headgear captures the bio-signals produced by participants’ brains and transmits these to a computer and 3D printer to produce a physical object.
The design studio Bompas & Parr has created a vegan suite inside the Hilton hotel in London, omitting the use of leather, wool and feathers. Most surfaces have been upholstered in Piñatex, an alternative fabric made of cellulose fibers that are found in waste pineapple leaves.
G. Graves and A. Jain developed Growduce, a device for recycling organic waste and biofabrication in the home. Made of a biocomposter, the microorganisms ferment and metabolize the waste to create an organic rubber that can then be used by a 3D printer to shape everyday objects.
Ginkgo Bioworks, through synthetic biology, managed to resynthesize gene sequences and encode fragrance-producing enzymes, using DNA extracted from flowers that disappeared in the 19th century, stored in the herbarium of Harvard University. The flowers’ aromas were reconstructed using identical scent molecules.
Viome collects stool samples from consumers and uses Artificial Intelligence to provide personalized food recommendations based on each individual’s biology and gut microbiome. Habit (Campbell Soup Co.) collects DNA samples and uses AI to provide guidance on personal nutrition.
The exhibition “Other Generosity”, by Eero Lundén and Juulia Kauste, explores how architecture can facilitate the symbiotic coexistence of nature and human environments. Membranes with air and water combine to create a visible and dynamic cellular structure that responds to external (and sometimes invisible) stimuli.
The artist Cj Hendry has designed Rorschach, a psych ward mimicked as a children's wonderland to reflect on the concept of what is healthy and insane in our society. The exhibition presents artworks she developed in reference to the Rorschach psychological test as well as a large inflatable looks like a children's bouncy castle, its padded white walls and floors also take cues from those found in psychiatric institutes. To complete the psych ward experience, viewers are provided with a white wristband upon entering, as if they are admitted to the Rorschach Psychological Institute.
“Les Arcanistes” is Studiopepe’s new Manifesto Project investigating the strong bond between matter and the archetypical power of symbols. The exhibition was conceived in a large industrial goldworking plant from the 20th century and was integrated by different installations. The “Alchemist’s Lab”, to distill herbs and plant essences that are believed to have premonitory powers. The “Water Spring” to experience water’s ability to vibrate to different frequencies just like the human body. The “Material Library” to collect and assemble materials that work by assonance and dissonance. The “Mantic Society” where visitors can sit at the table with a fortune-teller and be told about their transformation potential.
A Space for Being designed by Google and Johns Hopkins University’s Arts + Mind Lab is a multiroom experience that is informed by the principles of neuroaesthetics and shows how different aesthetic experiences can impact our health and wellbeing. The exhibition, comprising several interactive spaces, features a subtle variation of lighting, scent, music, artwork, materials and proportion that create a distinct sensory experience. Before entering, visitors are fitted with a specially-made band, which measures the person’s physiological responses along the way. Each band is equipped with four sensors that measure the wearer’s heart activity, breathing rate and skin conductance, temperature and body motion. The data is then downloaded and analysed at the end of the installation.
The “Unfluencer – Designing the Designer” is an immersive experience designed by Georg Lendorff for Freitag which proposes a reflection and confession for consumers’ and designers’ sins, free from all external influences. The brand wants to open a discussion about bad design into a fun and exciting experience. “Just like it’s more freeing and truthful to talk about our stupid, unnecessary and unsustainable shopping mistakes, after all, neither consumers nor designers are immune to negative forces, constraints, simple errors or delusions”, says Freitag.
Sound Gravity is an object designed by Natsumi Kobayashi for ‘Pulse’, the Yamaha Design Lab’s exhibition, that envelops the body in the sounds and vibrations of musical instruments. The object offers an experience somewhat like wrapping your arms around a cello and diving into the sounds it produces, providing an unusual broad contrast of emotions.
Bvlgari invited the Argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno to draw inspiration from the meteoric origins of gold, with his resulting "cosmic web" using constellations of spider webs to create floating galaxies. The installation ‘Weaving the Cosmos’ transforms the Planetarium of Milan into a space in which the micro and macro dimensions are closely connected, bringing into play an interaction between the geometry of the constellations and the spiderwebs.
‘Leading with Light’ is an immersive experience designed for Rhizomatiks Studio for Lexus that explores the inter-relationships between humans, light and technology. The interactive and emotional installation combines playful and dynamic lighting with human dance and advanced robotics. This choreographed exhibition uses countless beams of light as robots interact with the movements of a single performer.
Hyundai introduces “Style Set Free”, an innovative vision for how vehicles will become individual living spaces. The car brand offers a future-oriented customer experience that enables people to create their own life space inside their vehicles, thanks to upgradeable products and services.
Tell Me More is an installation that explores ways of promoting physical interaction in the era of digital communication. The space, designed by Rapt Studio, encourages strangers to converse through "drapery-clad stages" for interaction and spotlights that highlight intimate one-to-ones.
100% PERSONALIZED FASHION TO OPTIMIZE THE USE OF MATERIALS
Algorithimic Couture is a digitized couture project by research collective Synflux that reduces the amount of fabric needed to make clothes by creating garments that exactly fit the wearer's body. It involves 3D-scanning a body to determine its exact proportions, which are used to create customised clothing.
NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation center in Manhattan is implementing horticultural therapy to help patients feel better. The act of nurturing a plant can be a transportive part of a patient's recovery process by reducing stress, improve moods, and elevate well-being.
Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho show the impact of climate changethrough a light installation located in a Scottish coastal town. A series of sensors interact with the sea tide and activate three synchronised beams of light, which represent a scientific estimate of the level that the sea could rise to if the earth continues to warm.
Japanese company Open Meals will soon be offering 3D-printed sushi tailored to customer nutritional requirements by analyzing their saliva, urine and stool. The Sushi Singularity concept will be employed in a restaurant that makes use of robotic arms and 3D printers that are fed with biodata to create the sushi.
Yamaha developed a new technology based on Artificial Intelligence that translates the movements of dancers into musical notes on a piano to create a new form of expression that fuses body movements and music. The renowned dancer Kaiji Moriyama used it during a concert in Tokyo entitled Mai Hi Ten Yu, dancing and "playing" the piano with his body, accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Scharoun Ensemble.
An AR-based surgery room allows doctors and nurses to “see inside the patient” through AR glasses while performing micro-invasive surgeries. The Philips and Microsoft Augmented Reality concept, built for HoloLens 2, brings live imaging and other sources of vital data currently displayed on large 2D screens into a 3D holographic augmented reality environment that can be ergonomically, easily and intuitively controlled by the physician.
Exploring the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence and robotization in the service sector, Makr Shakr launched Toni, a robot bartender with the capacity to handle 158 bottles, create personalized drinks, memorize hundreds of recipes and serve up to 80 drinks per hour.
'ASICS Blackout Track,' is the world’s first running track to train the mind. The sportswear brand has created a custom-built 150-metre course in the Printworks space in South London which has been completely cloaked in darkness, with no tech, no music, no scenery, no comfort and no finish line. The project was developed in collaboration with leading sports scientists and top coaches to eliminate distractions and enhance runner's ability to completely focus on synchronising the mind and body.
Back & Light is an immersive mural painted by the Japanese-Brazilian artist Oscar Oiwa inside an inflatable dome — with over 2,700 square feet of surface area — located beside New York City’s Cadillac House. The intricate composition features Oiwa’s signature surreal landscapes and otherworldly characters in black and white. The artist’s entire process was live-streamed outside the structure for the public to see.
The Life, Marina Abramović’s performance, explores the combination of art and technology in mixed reality. Using wearable ‘augmented experience’ goggles, viewers are able to see Abramović as a digital sculpture while she floats in and out of the installation, her body dissolving in a cloud of glitter as if she’s coming from another dimension.
Nendo has created an immersive monochrome design for an exhibition that draws on the graphic artist MC Escher's work, famous for his optical illusions and impossible realities. The studio took the simple shape of a house as the basis of its designs for the project, adapting it to different dimensions and scales, playing with geometry and three-dimensional forms.
The advances in 3D metal printing will soon revolutionize industrial manufacturing systems. Various sectors such as automotive, aviation, medical implants and jewelry will introduce designs impossible to achieve with a mold. It will also be possible to change the metal alloy in areas of the same piece giving it a mix of different properties. Furthermore, with additive manufacturing there is less waste than conventional metal casting. Finally, instead of maintaining a large inventory of components, a company can simply print one when the customer needs it.
Ken Kelleher designs digital sculptures that are placed in public spaces and are able to astonish the viewer, altering the actual spatial perception of where they are. Each rendering has gigantic dimensions and seems in strong contrast with the surrounding environment of galleries, parks, and streets as if to underline the mixed characters of reality.
Textile Architecture Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich created ‘KnitCandela’, a double-curved concrete shell made with a 3D-knitted formwork applying textile technology to architecture. Following a digitally generated pattern, an industrial knitting machine produced the shuttering of the formwork for the shell structure: it knitted a complete shape with steel cables in 36 hours.
Parse/Error designs adaptive lamps that use data on the social and political mood to change the observer's experience and behavior. For example, a connected artwork that responds to the emotions published on Twitter through a real-time visualization of the use of (crying face) and (loudly crying face) emojis around the world.
Human manipulation through the artistic vision of Ronit Baranga. The sculptor produces figurative ceramic works that combine human characteristics with inanimate objects such as teacups, saucers, and plates.
BREAKING UP BEAUTY STANDARDS IN THE COSMETIC INDUSTRY
The cosmetics industry is exploring new ideas around beauty by opening its campaigns to people who break traditional standards. Baby Chanco and Sato Kondo are the faces of Pantene’s campaign that promotes life without colouring hair.
Ephemeral and immersive sculptures, the works of Pablo Valbuena emphasizes the architecture of the place that welcomes them. The artist models sound, light and movement to suggest a parallel architecture to the visitor. A space in perpetual transformation where the border between the real and the perceived disappears in favor of the imaginary.
Petit Pli proposes clothing that grows with kids based on origami principles. Ryan Mario Yasin, a London engineer, designed a smart technical fabric applying what in mechanics is called negative Poisson’s ratio: the internal structure deforms when stretched, becoming thicker, perpendicular to the applied force. When the fabric stretches it grows bi-directionally. A principle already used for biomedical implants. Clothing will fit children aged 4 to 36 months.
Beautonomy is pushing customization to a whole new level by empowering customers to create make-up products, choosing colors, type of product, design the packaging and sell them through their markeplace earning a commission and, effectively, helping them become entrepreneurs. An example of how some brands are acting as business enablers to consumers who increasingly desire to take an active role in their relationship with them.
The Museum of Transgender HIRstory & Art MOTHA, is a semi-fictional, transient institution located in the New Museum (NYC) that serves as a platform for exhibiting trans history and cultural production. Chris Vargas, the founder, notes that “for millennia, the patriarchy has had versions of history; now transgender people have a gender-neutral HIRstory all their own.”
The “infinity puzzle” designed by Nervous System is a jigsaw puzzle of the world map based on an icosahedral projection but with no edges, no North, no South, and no fixed shape. The finished image is always be different, no two journeys are ever the same.
Dawn ver.β is a pop-up cafe featuring five robot waiters remotely controlled from home by people with severe physical disabilities. The OriHime-D robots transmit video images and audio via the internet, allowing their controllers to direct them from home via computer.
The above photograph isn’t actually a photo of a real person. It is an image created by Artificial Intelligence and generated from two source photographs. The results are incredibly lifelike. Fake people, spaces and objects can be created with this technology developed by NVIDIA.
Facing Emotions is an AI-powered app developed by Huawei and the Polish Blind Association that translates emotions into sounds for the blind and visually impaired. The app uses the phone back camera to scan the face of the person with whom the blind person is talking to. AI then processes the identified emotions into a sound which can be heard on the phone in real time.
The IBM Food Trust system is a network in the cloud based on the blockchain that allows a greater traceability, transparencyand efficiency in the food industry. Not only does this allow for the optimization of internal processes, but it also provides consumers with reliable information
For the London Design Biennale, the Norwegian pavilion explores the impact of inclusive design in the classroom, aiming to improve educational outcomes and individual well-being. One of the technologies is an unique telepresence robot that allows children with long-term illnesses to feel included in school life – educationally and socially.
Zozotown, a fashion e-commerce site, introduced Zozosuit, an intelligent bodysuit to help customers know the measurements of their body before buying clothes online. The suit has sensors that allow users to instantly measure their body and transfer data to an app via Bluetooth.
The ‘Haus of Amazing’ club for drag queen kids is an online community founded by Desmond, a popular 10-year-old drag-boy on social networks, to help other children express themselves freely and creatively in a safe environment.
Atomic Lab is a social and technological project that designs hand prostheses printed in 3-D, with sustainable material PLA (derived from corn) and adaptable in movements to the needs of people. Artificial hands are for people with low resources.
AUTONOMOUS AND FUNCTIONALLY REPROGRAMMABLE VEHICLES
The Vision Urbanetic concept car developed by Mercedes Benz is a glimpse into what the carmaker imagines city transportation will look like in 2030 and beyond. The concept revolves around the idea of a fully autonomous chassis, with interchangeable pods, that can switch between people movers and cargo delivery to suit city demand.
Lesson of Moon, a performance where a young ballet dancer and a little robot are engaged in a process of empathic mimesis questioning our perception of the human and the non-human. Work created by Shonen Company and Ballet de Marseille.
CHANGES IN ETHICAL BOUNDARIES IN THE ERA OF THE IMAGE
Likeness is an installation created by Simon Fujiwara that explores the current visceral need to make images, a behavior that push the ethical borders. Based on a genetic and styling exercise, Fujiwara installs a wax reproduction of the figure of Anne Frank (identical to that exhibited since 2012 at the Madame Tussauds museum in Berlin) and a video with details of the sculpture filmed with a camera equipped with an arm and a fully robotic device.
Light Matters is an immersive installation composed of thousands of programmable LEDs of blue and red color, which translate the emotional states through which the visitor is literally invited to penetrate and experience this digital and sensory universe. Erwin Redl translates into the physical space the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality and 3D modeling.
Mind Pilot was an interactive installation that allowed people to pilot a helium filled airship through the power of their mind. Designed by Loop.Ph, the experience encouraged the idea of an inclusive future where people with varying physical abilities can use technology such as mind power to experience and operate a flight. The pilot wore a virtual reality headset that stimulated the sense of being in flight, and a device that measured brain waves and sent signals that navigated the balloon through the space.
Based on interviews with professionals in the financial sector, Liz Glynn’s interactive performance at Frieze London 2018 explored volatility and risk. Dancers moved in response to sales, data points and traffic at the fair, probing the commodification of uncertainty and the impulse to quantify human emotion.
Hacking the status quo to imagine possible futures
The value of differentiation is one of the fundamental cultural values that has emerged and solidified in the 21st century. If, until the 90's, the desire to resemble others through consumption was a valid mechanism to achieve social acceptance – nowadays.
Hacking the status quo to imagine possible futures
The value of differentiation is one of the fundamental cultural values that has emerged and solidified in the 21st century. If, until the 90's, the desire to resemble others through consumption was a valid mechanism to achieve social acceptance – nowadays.