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February 27, 2020

Secret Semaphores

If a picture is worth a thousand words, emojis must be worth a million. With one wink or forehead slap, we can share all of our thoughts and feelings with a single keystroke. But what about the nuances that exist within unique cultural cohorts and even whole countries? How do we express the sly and deep connection points that come from family and heritage? Ivory Coast designer O’Plerou Grebet has been working on a fun and colorful project to create a full range of emojis entirely devoted to the African continent. 365 emojis to be exact, one a day for his project “Zouzoukwa”. Each one showcases the rich culture and story of Africa with its varied gastronomy, clothes, rituals or popular modes of transport. An amazing way to celebrate and connect people through the ownership of those icons that resonate deep within our DNA. We are predicting a rise of culturally and community based visual keyboards – moving beyond brand-based imagery. (No shade on kimojis 😎 !)

Hum a Few Bars

Bar codes – have you ever looked at those mysterious grids and wondered what language they actually speak? And to whom?? (So many questions!) Well, the folks at Electronicos Fantasticos went even further down that road, wondering what music they could extract from the piano-like keys existing on every commercial package today. The black and white stripes seem to produce a variety of rhythmic and tonal noises, which the design group has now translated into two instrumental projects: the Barcoder, a vigorous piece of musical performance, and the Barcodress, a pattern-covered gown that’s played when the wearer moves in front of the scanner. The group’s ultimate goal is to create an entire orchestra of similar instruments. We are picturing an awesome flash mob moment at the self-checkout line … any takers?

Game On!

Ever wish you could just stay home and game all day? (oh wait – maybe you already do…) anyhoo – dreams can come true! The US-based gaming company Atari just announced a partnership with innovation and strategy company GSD Group to build a series of video game-themed hotels. The hotels will offer swanky rooms alongside VR and AR-powered entertainment facilities. The hotels will also feature dedicated e-sports venues for future events. Construction is planned to start in Q3 2020 in Phoenix, with seven further US hotels also planned, including in Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin and San Francisco. You can check in…. but can you ever check out??

Whisper Sweet Things

Defining ‘luxury’ has become a thorny challenge for many brands today: consumers are pushing back against anything that seems to scream privilege. Perhaps the best route then, is a whisper. At least Rolls-Royce seems to think so. This week, the brand’s CEO unveiled a unique members-only club, complete with an app, that will provide current and future owners with incredibly curated experiences, services and connections for those who own one of the sleek rides. How best to describe this exclusive coterie? To directly quote the press release, these are “individuals untethered by common constraints such as time and money.” Sounds like a fun group! For those of you contemplating a new silver sled of your own – check out the deets below!

The Bodyguard

Somewhere between pure abstraction and the essence of function lies Montcler. Beyond all the tulle and sequined dazzle that was Milan fashion week, the brand continued to awe us with its realistic visions of a magical, if ominous future. This year, Montcler expanded its Genius initiative to include eight designers, and devoted it’s show to a space with individual rooms housing each unique interpretation. The result was breath taking. Maybe not the flights of fantasies from Versace, but the ensuing garments resonated with the pure humanity of the need for protection that clothes provide us. Tough and tender: a fashion tour de force!

Petit Panic Room?

The idea of hiding away in a special nook or cubbyhole is a universally appealing one, regardless of our age or station. Despite the high demand for open concept home layouts, parents of littles and the designers that serve them are realizing the allure of the secret hiding place. With the black hole of tech constantly calling, magical spaces crafted simply for dreaming, drawing, singing, or imagining speak to our inner Harry Potter. (We predict the next iteration of this form and fantasy collab will be home offices that venture into the same sensory territory.)

Pop Quiz

In the marketing wars, pop culture can be a dangerous place for heritage brands. How often do we cringe at an old icon’s attempts to metaphorically throw on a beanie and order an IPA. Well, this week, we have a double treat (or threat, depending on how you see it!) First up, Jif enters the urban slang playbook to generate a heated discussion on whether Gifs, the animated files so dearly beloved by all of us incapable of forming complete sentences, is pronounced like the esteemed brand name. Props for created a debate that we are willing to be invested in!!
Our second item showcases a unique move by Oreo, a brand that is no stranger to winning the culture wars. The brand has announced a limited time ‘drop’ with the possibly over-hyped, over-priced streetwear brand, Supreme. Slam dunk or shark jump? You decide!

Instagram of the week

In this era of fake news and general pandemonium, what rings true? Where do we find clarity?? Well we are finding great joy, and even a little peace in the Instagram account: @craigslist_mirrors Gaze into these reflective surfaces, and realize the final image depends on us…just whisper what you want to see…
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