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REPORT 10/11

David Gobert Teigeiro
Silvia M. Rodrguez Vives
Pepa Casado DAmato
Carmen Jover Esp
Raquel Glvez Orejuela
Jess Navarro Campos
Vicente Sales Viv
Cristina Revert Carreres
Design and layout:
Pepe Gimeno Proyecto Grfico

of contents
In accordance with the provisions established under current legislation, no part of this
publication may be reproduced or transferred
in any form or by any means or process,
whether electronic or mechanical, including
digital format, renting or leasing, without the
prior written authorisation of the copyright
All the images remain the property of their
respective owners and have been reproduced
with their consent.
AIDIMA and AITEX reserve all rights, in particular to the reproduction, distribution, public
communication and transformation, whether
in whole or in part. The information and
data in this report have been duly verified;
however, ITC, AIDIMA and AITEX accept no
responsibility for their use.
ISBN-13: 978-84-95077-40-0
Legal Deposit: V-1999-2010
Autonomous Community of Valencia,
May 2010

Prologue by the Honourable First Vice-President of Consell
Letter from the directors of ITC, AIDIMA and AITEX
Presentations of ITC, AIDIMA and AITEX
The Habitat Trends Observatory team
What is the Habitat Trends Observatory?
What do we understand by trends?


Habitat: the general situation
Diagram of trend evolution
Table summarising accepted trends
Table summarising trends for 08/09
Table summarising trends for 10/11
Guide to using the Report



New Classics
Sublime by Hand
The Essentials
Once upon a Future
Everyday Solutions
Basik & Raw
Mind the Green


1. Brand universes
2. Discreet luxury
3. Here and now
4. The consumer at the helm
5. Desire for simplicity
6. The alternative consumer
7. Reinventing the green model


A. The value of emotions
B. The frugal society
C. The multitasking generation
D. Digital natives
E. The need for rationality
F. Change in attitudes
G. Eco-behaviour


Prologue by the Honourable

Regional Minister of Industry, Commerce and Innovation and First Vice President
of the Generalitat Valenciana

In todays society, the speed with which

changes occur complicates the forecasters
task; however, prediction is essential in
taking decisions, embarking on strategies or
deciding on major changes of direction for
the future development of societies, industries and individuals.
It is my pleasure to present the second edition of the Habitat Trends Report produced
by the Habitat Trends Observatory with
support from the Department of Industry,
Trade and Innovation of the Generalitat
Valenciana through the Institute for Small
and Medium-sized Industry (IMPIVA) and
the European Regional Development Fund
This project has been carried out jointly by
a team of experts from different fields from
the Furniture, Wood, Packaging and Related
Industries Technology Institute (AIDIMA),
the Textile Technology Institute (AITEX) and
the Institute of Ceramic Technology (ITC), all
members of REDIT, the Institute of Technology Network in the Autonomous Community of Valencia.
This multidisciplinary team, in consultation

where necessary with prestigious external

collaborators (from the areas of sociology,
psychology, design, marketing, communication, etc.), has carried out an in-depth
analysis of multiple habitat-related aspects,
with a particular focus on three determining
factors: socio-cultural, aesthetic and market
factors. These factors are understood to be
complementary and, considered together,
provide a broad picture of our habitat and
at the same time trace the movement and
stimulus of trends in this field.

The first edition of this project met with

great acclaim and quickly became a classic
for hundreds of professionals, not only in the
Autonomous Community of Valencia, but
across the whole of Spain. This publication
also aspires to become a valuable support as
a day-to-day tool for Valencian companies
in their endeavour to successfully achieve
the conditions to improve and expand their
competitive status to the full.

This study by the Habitat Trends Observatory therefore provides Valencian companies with privileged information for the
design and development of innovative products that will satisfy the needs of todays
citizens. Having thoroughly sounded out the
mood and lifestyle of the modern consumer,
it offers a multitude of tools with which to
generate innovation as a strategic competitive weapon.
The Habitat Trends Report 10/11 identifies
and describes several of the predominant
trends that are, in turn, linked to a series of
socio-cultural and market keys. It provides
us with comprehensive information on how
trends identified in the previous study have
evolved; we learn how certain lifestyle
trends have transformed, or what were
then undefined, emerging trends have now
become firmly established. It offers a wide
range of examples, and refers closely to
the market and communication throughout,
placing the trends within their corresponding
socio-cultural framework.

Vicente Rambla Momplet

Honourable Regional Minister of Industry, Commerce
and First Vice President of the Generalitat Valenciana.

Letter from the directors


A Chinese proverb says that at the heart of

every crisis is hidden a great opportunity for
those who know how to find it; to this we
should add another maxim, attributed to
Albert Einstein, which states that we cannot
change things by always doing the same.
These two phrases point to the way out of
the present crisis: opportunity, attitude and
Since mid 2007, the economic environment
has transformed habitat-related sectors (in
some cases leaving deep scars). The construction bubble eventually burst, taking with
it all other sectors of production and almost
bringing about the collapse of the economic
principles on which our society operates.
What began as a financial crisis soon turned
into a social crisis, with repercussions
affecting the values and behaviours of
citizen-inhabitants. Out of this competitive
and market environment the present Habitat
Trends Report 10/11 was born, the leitmotif
of which is palpable throughout its pages:
market opportunities exist if we are able to
understand how the recession affects social
values and what repercussions it has on the
markets, and essentially, on what habitatrelated manufacturers are producing.

Although it is important to safeguard the

day-to-day operations of the company, looking toward to the future is imperative. The
trends presented in this publication provide a
current picture of the state of habitat-related
sectors in Spain today. In some cases this
may be a continuation, with slight variations, of the trends identified in previous
years, while in others these trends go off in
strikingly new directions. In general, what
is noteworthy throughout is the moment of
enforced reflection in which the consumer
society is immersed: the need to combine
hedonistic and emotional consumption with
the efficient and rational use of resources
imposed by the present context. Companies and consumers alike, everyone is now
subject to the same rules.

Once again, every effort has been made to

produce a publication that companies can
use as a tool, and for that reason it appears
in the form of a work manual. The Habitat
Trends Report 10/11 revisits previous trends
and updates them with a view to the coming
years. Similarly, this edition covers the predominant trends of habitat-related sectors,
trends that are reflected in mass consumption but, as they are no longer emerging
trends, are not usually dealt with. In this
way, we have attempted to present a comprehensive overview of the habitat-related
milieu in Spain.
This publication would not have been
possible without the institutional support of
the Council of Industry, Trade and Innovation through various funding programmes
coordinated by the IMPIVA. We hope this
work will inspire future company projects,
based on an improved knowledge of the
social reality, creation of new valuable proposals and inter-sector cooperation between
habitat related companies.

Mariano J. Prez Campos

Director of AIDIMA

Vicente Blanes Juli

Director of AITEX

Carlos Feliu Mingarro

Director of ITC-AICE




The Institute of Ceramic Technology (ITC) is

a state-subsidised partnership constituted
through an agreement between the Ceramic
Industry Research Association (AICE) and
the Universitat Jaume I of Castelln, which
was set up to respond to the needs of companies in the Spanish ceramic tile cluster.
Throughout its 40-plus years of activity, it
has coordinated cooperation between the
university and industry, the results of which
are reflected in the high levels of development in the Spanish ceramic tile manufacturing sector. The ITC provides support
for companies through R&D&I and other
activities designed to make the sector more

AIDIMA, the Furniture, Wood, Packaging

and Related Industries Technology Institute,
is a private non-profit research association with legal status as an Association of
Companies, operating both at home and
abroad. Founded in 1984, it is recognised by
the Spanish Interministerial Commission of
Science and Technology as a Research Association and as a Centre for Innovation and
Technology. AIDIMAs mission is to boost
the competitiveness of the Spanish furniture, wood and related industries sector, and
the packaging and goods transport sector,
in aspects related to quality, technological
innovation, training, information, safety,
environment and improved management,
particularly in the areas of design, production and marketing and in consolidating
export activity.

Today the ITC is able to extend its scope of

activity to other processes and materials.
Of particular note are its undertakings in the
sphere of energy efficiency, in reducing the
environmental impact of industrial activity,
in surface functionalisation and in developing new technical and aesthetic features in
products associated with the broad habitatrelated sector, as well as other industries
such as high-technology tools, advanced
ceramics, the car industry, petrochemical
sectors, etc.

The work of its Design and Architecture

Area (ALICER) focuses on various design
related fields: products, ceramic systems,
design management, etc. Because its team
is made up of professionals from a variety
of areas (architecture, design, communication, IT), it is able apply a multi-disciplinary
approach to its projects.

AIDIMA is a member of REDIT and FEDIT

and forms part of the OTRI network. It
is a member of the Board of Directors of
AENOR (Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification) and participates
on various standards committees (UNE,
CEN, ISO). In the field of packaging, it is a
member of IAPRI (International Association
of Packaging Research Institutes) and of
EFPRO (European Fibre and Paper Research
Organizations). AIDIMA is recognised by
the European Union as a Centre of Excellence for the wood, furniture, packaging and
related industries sectors and participates in
European R&D and training projects and in
activities for the dissemination of innovative

AIDIMA currently holds the presidency of
INNOVAWOOD, the European Association
for R&D and Training in the Forestry, Woodworking and Furniture sectors.
AIDIMA has an established track record in
following trends in furniture, market analysis
and strategic planning, and research into
consumer patterns and distribution in the
short, medium and long term through the
Furniture Competitive Intelligence System.
AIDIMA has participated in the Habitat
Trends Observatory since it began in 2005.

AITEX, the Textile Technology Institute, is

a private non-profit association created in
1985 on the initiative of the textile industry
business community and the Generalitat
Valenciana through the Institute of Small
and Medium-sized Industry, IMPIVA, and
is a member of the Institute of Technology
Network REDIT.
AITEXs main objective is to enhance
competitiveness among textile companies
by promoting modernisation, stimulating
R&D&I, introducing new technologies, improving quality and generating knowledge in
the areas of design and the market.
To achieve these aims, the Institute carries
out technological research and development
activities, provides advanced technical services through specialised laboratories with the
highest national and international accreditations and recognition, and offers consultation and dissemination in areas related to
design and the market.
AITEX also designs tailor-made training
services for companies and has its own surveillance and technological transfer tools.
In summary, all the Institutes programmes
and activities are designed to support the
textile industry and respond to its technological needs.

The Habitat Trends

Observatory Team

The Habitat Trends Observatory team

consists of personnel from ITC, AIDIMA and
AITEX, a substantial group of experts from
different fields that, together, approaches the
research from a multidisciplinary perspective. This study has thus been carried out by a
broad-based group working dynamically, and
enriching the information through the synergies between the knowledge from the sectors
in which they operate.

Jess Navarro Campos

Director of Corporate Development, AIDIMA.

Director of the Dept. of Market Analysis and
Strategy, AIDIMA.

Vicente Sales Viv

Analyst in the Dept. of Market Analysis and


J. Javier Iborra Casanova

Analyst in the Dept. of Market Analysis and


What is the Habitat Trends


The Habitat Trends Observatory is an

organisation for generating and disseminating knowledge on habitat-related trends.
It has become an information tool to help
companies take strategic decisions that influence their activities (design, communication, marketing, business strategy, etc.), by
providing medium-term information for the
Habitat Competitive Intelligence System.

Cristina Revert Carreres


Analyst in the Dept. of Market Analysis and


David Gobert Teigeiro

Carmen Biel Sanchis

Head of the Market Area and Lecturer in the

Area of Marketing at the Universidad Jaume I of

Javier Mira Peidro

Head of the Design and Architecture Area, ALICER.

Mila Pay Sez

Silvia M. Rodrguez Vives

Head of the Habitat Trends Observatory at ITC.

Researcher for the Habitat Trends Observatory .


Vicente Cambra Snchez

Sub-director of the R&D Area.

Carmen Jover Esp

Head of Training and Responsible for the Innovation,

Fashion and Clothing Manufacture Research Group.

Head of Trend Department.

Pepa Casado DAmato

Centre for Product Development.

Competitive Intelligence System

Raquel Glvez Orejuela


Head of the Habitat Trends Observatory at Aitex

and Design Projects Specialist.

and product

Design solutions focused

on user



Cristina Serrano Garca

Design Specialist.

Lola Macas Maas

Market Observatory Specialist.


Ismael Quintanilla

Social psychologist, head of the Economic and

Consumer Psychology Research Unit (UIPEC) at
the University of Valencia.

Arantza Vilas

Textile designer and artist, and associate professor

at the University of the Arts London.

Observe and
generate strategic
information on
habitat, market
and environment





What do we understand
by trends?







Interior design

Home textiles




Demography and



and Market
Distribution and retailing
Graphic design


Reliable, tested information: our researchers come from various specialist areas, we
consult external experts, we explore a range
of international sources, we keep a close
eye on what is happening on the web and
we attend a broad spectrum of European
trade fairs, congresses and events in order
to build up a comprehensive picture of all
trend-related issues. We have also developed our own methodology to analyse and
summarise all the information we gather so
as to offer exhaustive and useful knowledge
to companies and designers.
Trend analysis: The HTO studies trends
from an in-depth perspective, by thoroughly
exploring their underlying motives and
causes, revealing the concepts behind each
one of the products proposed and finding out
what needs it covers. In this way, the trends
we describe show how design can connect
with users lives, and thus avoid the rapid
obsolescence of trend analyses that follow
different approaches.

Trend application: trends must help firms

and designers to come up with new proposals. By integrating information about trends
into management systems, companies
obtain an overview of how society and individuals are evolving, and are able to anticipate movements in the market, thus helping
to define strategic courses of action that
should be aligned with the organisations
other functions (design, marketing, production, logistics, purchasing, etc). To this end,
the HTO runs workshops focusing on the
creative side of the innovation process that
aim to achieve innovative results based on
information about trends.


In summary



Seletti Palace Collection

Net de Mark.

Habitat: the general


The reasons behind the dramatic changes

occurring in our habitat over recent years lie
in a series of transformations in the sociocultural and economic context that have triggered different reactions among users and in
the markets.
In particular, the international financial
and economic recession has shaken many
consciences and is seen by some social
agents as offering an opportunity to redress
excesses and return to a less ostentatious,
more satisfying lifestyle. Ismael Quintanilla,
an expert in social psychology consulted by
the Observatory, highlights the shift in the
value system towards greater rationality
and collective consciousness as one of the
effects of the financial and economic crisis
on society. The recession has spawned an
increased concern for values that affect the
whole of society: concerns for the environment, well-being, anti-manipulation and
a greater capacity for empathy for the problems of others. The alternative consumer
has come onto the scene, a group which,
according to Lipovetsky, now accounts for
15% to 20% of all consumers.


Emotional values are still important, but

now they must go hand-in-hand with a
greater efficiency across the board: companies must set appropriate prices for
their products, and public administrations
and citizen-consumers must tighten their
budgets. Consuming still requires a touch
of emotion and products will continue to be
more than just products so long as they are
capable of representing universally recognised symbols. The emotional component
therefore remains important, but it cannot
be divorced from the context of the crisis. In
some cases it is even disguised behind an
illusion of rationality in order to stay in line
with the sensitivity of the times.
Users have also modified the philosophy
underlying their consumer patterns, and are
now looking for well-being without excesses
in a move towards a more rational consumption. Consumers are attempting to avoid
the superfluous in their purchases and this
is also reflected in how product information
is communicated. According to the study
Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer, published in the Harvard Business Review, the trend for simplicity is accelerating
with the economic crisis and will continue to
grow in the long term as a result of changes
in consumers habits.


HK by Harri Hoskinen
for Alessi.

In recent years our living environments have

undergone modifications to become yet another reflection of the changes occurring in
our socio-cultural context. These variations
are only to be expected given the circumstances of continual socio-economic shifts
and turbulence.
As in all areas of consumption, moderation
and rationalisation have made a vigorous
comeback in habitat-related consumer activity, and this will be the main thread running
through the definition of Habitat Trends 10/11.
This return to moderation, which at first
glance may appear negative for habitatrelated companies, can also be regarded
as a framework for new opportunities and
possibilities, since users are redefining their
needs, preferences and desires for their
living environments, which more than ever
before obliges us to think about what these
present and future demands are.


This means that as users, we stop and think

about our acquisitions or possessions; we
require them to have meaning for us and to
respond to a specific need or desire. Consumers are seriously examining the real value
of objects, which represents a sea change
in consumer behaviour that is particularly
striking in the luxury goods markets. There
is now a widespread practice of launching
products with minimal risk; for example, the
ostentation of previous years has given way
to a habitat predominated by friendliness
and simplicity, and in which the products
capacity to provide a solution is also highly
valued. We talk about a return to a more

natural, deliberate and reflective cycle. We

are also exploring other channels that fill the
desire for exclusivity and sophistication such
as the use of handcrafted articles or limited
editions of decorative pieces. This change
in direction can be seen in design for living
environments through a range of different
values such as:
1/ The assessment of a product in terms
of its usefulness and long life, with lasting
aesthetics and quality.
2/ Increased transparency for consumers; in
other words, the values transmitted by the
company and its products are clear, coherent
and credible at every stage of the process.
3/ The demand for products and services
that give the user more autonomy (mobility,
change, personalisation ) through extreme
practicality, ease of use and comfort.
4/ The search for safe values, which remain
stable and are considered as a good investment, as key references in the world of
5/ Finally, the appreciation of products that
incorporate a distinctive component such
as singularity or representing something
unique, but always from a reasoned and
justified emotionality based on efficiency.


Current trends


Trends 08/09

Historical classical
Renewed classical


Neo baroque
The diagram traces areas of
activity where companies can
evolve from their present position
towards the trends of 10/11, to
adapt to consumer demands.


by Hand



by Hand

Contemporary functional

Press Start


Natural functional

Home Sweet


Scandinavian design

Home Sweet



Basik & Raw

Renewed rustic

However, this does not mean

that companies might not move
towards other areas of activity.

Trends 10/11








This evolution is more

evident in textiles and

Press Start



Once upon
a Future


the Green


Current TRENDS



Current trends: Refers to current styles produced by most

companies and professionals in habitat-related sectors,
and that therefore users largely recognise and identify.



Products with references to historical styles:

Renaissance, Neoclassical, Baroque, etc. The
decorative elements typical of these styles are
either used explicitly, they are abstracted and
stylised to give a more contemporary aesthetic,
or they are reinterpreted in bolder, more creative

Historical classical: Textual references to

styles from the past.

Ambiances characterised by the use of craft

processes and natural materials or by imitations of
their finishes.

Rustic: Reproduction of traditional products

with legacies from various crafts.

This legacy dates back to past processes and

resources from a wide range of origins (traditional local crafts, colonial style, the Arts & Crafts
movement, etc.). These resources are preserved
intact; they may be updated or imported from
other cultures.


20th Century

Comersan Antibes

Event collection, designed

by the Amboan
team for

by Azteca.

Crochet by
Manuel Revert.

Terracota Glass
by Cermica

Duna by

Fiber by Tau

Arbres, Milenio.
Alta costura
de Piel S.A.

Top 2008
by BM200.

Geometric by
Vicent Martnez for Punt

Bruko duvet
cover by

Dagon by Land

Renewed classical: Classical repertoire

updated and synthesised.
Neo-baroque: Reinterpretation of Baroque from a horror vacui and hyper-decoration perspective.

Renewed rustic: Updated by simplifying

traditional imagery.
Ethnic: Style that refers to decorative
aspects from a culture or ethnic group.

Items for the home with a very familiar, everyday

style that efficiently fulfil the function for which
they were conceived. This style is based on a less
rigorous reinterpretation of functionalism which
the user finds more familiar. Two dimensions are
apparent, one more practical and the other more
decorative or figurative.

Contemporary functional: Highly functional products that reinterpret styles such as

functionalism to make them more familiar
and commonplace.

Objects typified by their reflection of the roots of

industrial design. They represent the principal
movements and vanguards of the 20th century
such as the Industrial Style, Scandinavian Design, Pop and Minimalism.

Industrial: Style based on the maxim

form follows function, conceived to democratise design.

Natural functional: Incorporates figurative

elements, especially natural elements, in
functional products.

Scandinavian design: Style based on

beautiful, functional and democratic
design, with references to crafts.
Pop: Style of mass culture. Aesthetic
elements include rounded forms, acid
colours, optical illusions, etc.


Minimalism: Movement that pursues the

essence and conceptualisation of any area
related to art, architecture or design.



Trends 08/09: Review and evolution of trends identified

by the Habitat Trends Observatory in the Habitat Trends
Report 08/09.

What it consists of


Where the trend is now

Excessive, expressive, passionate

and impulsive products. Their irreality and dreamlike nature affords
them a provocative sensationalism.
The product creates identity. Eclectic and varied aesthetics.


Consolidated and oriented towards

markets with a predominant symbolic consumption, mainly in Asian or
Eastern countries. The concept of luxury
has changed dramatically in European
markets and Excessive Objects are being
replaced by New Classics and Sublime
by Hand.

Espacio Bisazza
in Barcelona.

Madam Rubens
by Frank Willems.

Flap by Francesco Binfar

for Edra with

Spaces aim to surprise through

everyday entertainment. Users
participate by involving their own
creativity in the product. Play is
seen as a relationship strategy
among those sharing a living

Retro collage

Slow growing, since the creativity and humour of this trend are giving way to real
problem solving and the new practicality
of Everyday Solutions.

Flying Carpet by
Emiliana Design
Studio for Nani

Wall Invader by
Radi Designers.

Hotel Fox in

Sweet Home

Products that provide physical

and mental well-being. A habitat
designed to encourage social
relationships. Placebo for nature.
Environments are simple, easy and
intuitive in their relationship with


Consolidated and with a long future

ahead. Complemented by The Essentials
trend, based on similar principles, but
more neutral and with a focus on quality
and durability.

Algues by Ronan &

Erwan Bouroullec for

Solid Poetry
by S. Happle &
F. Molenschot.

Soft Wall
by Forsythe
+ Macallen
for Molo.


Trend proposing new ways of

living through technology with the
future in mind. It questions the way
people live at all levels and in all
ambiences. Pursues warm, intuitive technology in its relationship
with the user.


An emerging trend with great scope.

Once Upon a Future takes a further
step in the search for the home of the
future, where the user plays an even
more important role, since the objects in
the home learn and evolve alongside its

Z Island by Zaha
Hadid for Dupont.

Wireless speakers
by Inoda + Sveje
Architecture/ Design
Studio for One Off.

Interpolis by
Studio Jungen

The object as an expression of a

specific culture. Unique products
that establish an emotional relationship with the user. Incorporates
local into global. Revitalises crafts
and cultural exchange.

Cultural exploration

Growing, particularly in aesthetic aspects.

The resurgence of crafts has evolved
towards Sublime by Hand, where the
figure of the artisan-artist has gained
importance and local aspects become
less relevant.

Made for China

by OPOS Designers.

Bovist by Hella
Jongerius for Vitra.

Ceramic latticework
by Alejandro Zaera
(Cermica Decorativa) for the Spanish
Pavilion at the Aichi

Questions habitat through provocation. Heterogeneous manifestations. The object is viewed as a

transmitter of ideology, function
takes second place.


for Subversion by
Ralph Borland.

Hotel Bsico by
Design Hotels in

A significant ethical and social obligation on the part of companies.

Commitment to people and the
environment. Sustainable products
to improve the habitat in aspects of
energy saving and bringing nature
into our homes and cities.


Ventilated facade
by Tau Cermica.

by Ana Mir,
Emiliana Design


Press Start



Rococo delirium

Fictional spaces
Everyday creativity

Bucolic nature


Crafts revisited

Project: Utopia

Emerging. More accepted in independent

markets. Basik & Raw represents a less
experimental evolution of this trend, closer to the alternative consumer, offering a
response to the socio-economic situation
and presenting more critical proposals as
alternatives to consumerism.


by Mareike Gast.




Immediate nature

Consolidated with a long-term outlook.

Another trend, Mind the Green, has
emerged with the same aims, and represents a paradigm shift in the concept of
sustainability: it is no longer enough to
consume less or cause less damage to
society and the environment; we must
find another way of working, based on the
philosophy of benefitting the environment
and individuals.

Seoul Communes
2026 by Mass



What it consists of


Factors driving the


Aims to create new design classics, signature pieces destined

to become cult objects with their
origins in industrial design.

New rigour

Consumer scepticism about short-lived,

fleeting fashions. Pursues justified value,
quality and durability of a product without
forsaking luxury. Taste for more timeless,
and especially more justifiable aesthetics
based more on styles than fashions.

The value of

Appreciation of authenticity, reflected in

the search for extremely high quality and
a strong artistic and manual component.
Scepticism about industry, leading to
greater appreciation of handcrafted items
than manufactured mass produced goods.
Social demands based on a discourse that
prioritises local over global.

The value of

This is the result of a very specific juncture,

in which consumers have shifted from
an attitude of exhibitionism to proposals
based on simplicity and honesty. The postrecession consumer has clearly expressed
a demand for simplicity and durability.

The need for


Linked to the significant changes in lifestyles. Teleworking, social relationships,

increasing mobility or the need for up-todate information mean that individuals demand technological products to link the life
they lead in the domestic setting with their
life in the street, the city or in cyberspace.

The multitasking

One of the main reasons behind this trend

is the changing structure of the family and
its increasingly diverse formats that have
appeared in recent decades. The gradual
shrinking of living space has also led to
greater appreciation of these solutions.

The multitasking

Changes in society, heightened as a result

of the economic downturn. A new negative
attitude to consuming has contributed to
a rise in more critical responses exploring
viable alternatives to the present model of

The need for


This trend stems from the increasingly

widespread concern about the short and
medium term consequences that todays lifestyle might have, not only for health and
the climate, but also in terms of economic
and political changes.

Change in

by Hand

This trend represents a new way of

appreciating exclusivity, in which
the traditional know-how of the
artisan works in harmony with the
designers creative and personal

Creativity Labs


Based on good design, aims to improve individuals quality of life. Objects must therefore be impeccable,
long-lasting and above all, useful,
in that they satisfy our functional or
emotional needs.

The Extra-Ordinary and

the Super-Normal

Once upon
a Future

More than ever before, products are

becoming a service, a link with the
information around us. It is here that
we communicate with our objects,
and they interact with us and learn.

Invisible objects


This trend is based on the new

situations users find themselves
in. It proposes dynamic, ingenious
and practical products that simplify
and facilitate daily activity. Here,
everything that is multifunctional, collapsible, modular, transformable and
polyvalent is retrieved and rethought.

Form follows

Extremely simple and austere yet

functional and creative products are
proposed as solutions to consumer
weariness. It takes a friendly and
sympathetic approach the user.

The naked object

& Raw

The value of time

Objects that evolve and


Nothing is destroyed,
everything is transformed

Socio-cultural keys

The frugal
The need for

The frugal

Change in


The need for

Change in

Presence in the
Design leaders aiming at the luxury market
like Capellini, Cassina, Poltrona Frau, Kartell and recognised designers such as Konstantin Grcic, Tom Dixon or Petter Knudsen
are names associated with a return to the
roots of design.

Market keys


Where the trend is

Emerging. More advanced in
furniture and interior decoration.
Has scope in luxury markets.

Desire for

Well-known brands such as Vitra, B&B and

Moroso turn to artisans to create sublime
products of a very high quality; this is the
haute couture of the habitat sector. By starting from the premise of local production,
designer-makers have also found a niche in
this market.

Brand universes

Companies and designers are increasingly adopting simple language

and creating highly durable products.
Examples include firms like Deesawat,
Geaforms, Hay, Xam, Woodnotes,
Tapiovaara design Aero design furniture, Bonestil, Brikolor, Ercol, Pinch,
Fjordfiesta, etc.

Desire for

This trend is being developed by information technology and communication

companies such as Nokia, firms with
strong innovation departments looking
to the future like Philips or Electrolux,
and design or experimental technology

and now

Firms producing for consumers with

average purchasing power are proposing
creative solution for domestic spaces.
Examples include Campeggi, Segis or
designers such as No problem, Matali
Crasset or La granja.

Here and

This trend is being taken forward by independent designers, since it involves high levels
of creativity and these are people motivated
to do things differently (Apparatu, Atelier
522). Some companies are also launching
collections based on this philosophy (Muuto
and ABR Produccin Contempornea).

Desire for

Firms such as Philips, Whirlpool or Soundpower, manufacturers of goods related to

energy consumption, are taking this trend
forward. Less well-known design professionals, such as Jin Kim or Frederic Ruyant, are
also contributing solutions aimed at changing
habits or product life cycles.

The alternative


The alternative

The consumer
at the helm

The consumer
at the helm
Desire for

The alternative consumer

Reinventing the
green model

Growing in the furniture and

decoration sectors. Emerging in
furnishings and home textiles.

Growing and with great potential scope in the market, since

their neutral, familiar and high
quality products can reach a
large number of users.

Emerging. Closely associated

with the level of implementation
of technologies in society and
the continuously falling prices of
technological products.

Great potential for growth and

market penetration, as this
trend is in line with the general
feeling that consumption needs
rethinking through a practical

Emerging with a clear future since

it presents alternatives that markets can absorb, particularly at a
time when users are demanding
this type of product.



the Green

Theories such as Cradle to Cradle,

Dreamtelligence or Co-design encourage us to think much more creatively about a shared future. It aims
to find practices and processes that
are not only less harmful, but also
more beneficial for the individual,
society and the environment.

Rethink and change

Cradle to cradle


Reinventing the
green model

Emerging. This social and holistic understanding of sustainability has great potential for
development in the medium and
long term.


Each trend is associated with

one or more socio-cultural
and market keys. The links
are given on the first page of
each trend section and guide
the reader to the keys that
complement the information
on each trend.


The value of


The frugal


The need for


Desire for

The value of


The frugal


The need for


Desire for

Change in

The alternative

The multitasking generation

Here and now

Digital natives

The consumer
at the helm

The multitasking generation

Here and now

Digital natives

The consumer
at the helm

The need for


Desire for

The need for


Desire for

Change in

The alternative


Reinventing the
green model


by Hand

The need for

Change in


The Essentials


Once upon
a Future



Once upon
a Future
Basik & Raw
the Green



Desire for

& Raw

The alternative consumer

the Green

Change in

The alternative


Reinventing the
green model





Le Corbusier
collection by

Ac lounge
by B&b Italia.


Luxury is gradually moving away from

notions of exhibition, attracting attention or
surprise, towards safe values like the quality
and excellence of rationalist design.

Le Corbusier collection
by Cassina.

Bauhaus School:
School of design, art and
architecture founded in 1919,
that laid the foundations of
Industrial Design, based on
the notion of highly rational
responses to problems. It also
spread the idea that every object is designed and spread the
discipline into different fields.

This may be due to an attitude befitting

of the times in which we live, in which the
consumer seeks out objects with a justified
value. In this case, while brand and signature design are still crucial, they are directed
towards the creation of new design classics,
signature pieces destined to become cult
objects grounded in the roots of industrial
The pursuit of product value and quality has
found its direction in the origins of design,
and the principles of the Modern Movement
are once again being explored. We now hear
talk of integrity of design, in terms of form
follows function, although augmented by the
new industrial manufacturing processes and
the introduction of new materials capable of
generating a wide range of previously unimaginable solutions.


Within this trend we are witnessing a return

to the origins of design in the modern period.
The value of rationality applied to household
objects is making a comeback, providing
solutions resembling those from movements
like the Bauhaus School*.

Table B by Konstanti
Grcic for BD Ediciones.
Table, inspired by the firms
classic shelf unit Hypstila,
in production since 1979,
with a simple appearance
and materials like wood and
aluminium, behind which is
hidden a complex technical
development (a long piece of
extruded aluminium with a
minimal profile). Here, hightechnology is combined with
various manual processes.


Vanity chair by Stefano

Giovannoni for Magis.

Stella tables by Nathalie

Dewez for Habitat.

The new rigour


Rationality goes beyond ephemeral fashions

because it centres on the function of the
object. This trend presents practical solutions that take into account processes and
materials and the future use of the product.
These are the considerations that turn a
design into an icon. We already know the
references of design; now we have to create
the icons of the future.
If recipes for icons existed, the basic ingredients would be updated versions of those
used by Le Corbusier or Marcel Breuer.
Designers familiar with industrial processes,
new materials and methods of production,
who start with rigorous design and engineering principles in their approach to creating
products for our living environments; this is
how high quality products are created, items
that are easy to use and long lasting, noted
for their discreet, sober appearance. They
have impeccable finishes and dispense with
any superfluous decoration.
Here design uses technological research and
focuses on advances in manufacturing processes and in the properties of each material
to create extremely useful products.


For a product to be considered good, it must

have a proven track record; in the case of ha-

bitat, our attention turns to the icons of design, celebrated objects that have remained
successful over various decades, demonstrating a timeless aesthetic as well as quality.
In the end, the person who acquires these
products is convinced their value is safe, and
it is factor that makes them cult objects.
Firms re-edit their most lasting, quintessential pieces, frequently incorporating more
contemporary elements. Indeed, renowned
designers are reinterpreting these icons of
design, always improving the product in one
way or another or updating processes and
materials, but leaving out their own personal
touch so as to remain true to the original
Homage is thus paid to those who, through
their work and formal research, have created
styles that are still with us today and have
helped to democratise the design of products for the home. Their creations form part
of our collective imagination and are perceived as the origins of modern production.
Some companies and professionals create
products based on these values of rational
design, explicitly reclaiming their icons,
while others, less explicitly, recall and
apply rationalist principles to create sober,
timeless and extremely high-quality pieces,
probably because they are regarded as fitting
into todays top end markets.

Pressed Glass Bowl and

Screw Table by Tom Dixon.
Objects created with a particular
eye for reclaimed materials and
manufacturing processes; the
Pressed Glass Bowl is made with
a process normally used for other
industrial products (car headlamps)
while the Screw Table is inspired
by materials (iron and marble) and
processes used during the Industrial


Radar by Piero lissoni

for Cassina.

Factors driving the trend


Periods of economic recession generate fear

in the markets, leading to more conservative
behaviour. Consumers choose products they
can be sure will provide satisfaction, and
classics are therefore always a safe bet. In
various interviews, writers were asked how
the global recession had affected the publishing business; some of our most celebrated
authors reported a rise in sales of their
books, possibly regarded as a safe option
compared to other more risky purchases
(understood as younger, unknown writers).
Consumers are therefore sceptical about
transient fashions, but at the same time
they are attracted by aesthetics and style

and consequently opt for what are considered to be more timeless and, above all, more
justified aesthetics, based on styles rather
than fashions.

Jade by Christophe
Pillet for Porro.

Moreover, this trend stems from the spread

of design culture at a global level, although
more intensely in Europe, where decorative
arts museums have long been established in
capital cities such as Paris or London. There
is no doubt that design is now considered as
art and it is not uncommon to see exhibitions devoted to exemplary designers, or
leading furniture and clothing collections
from the history of design. This phenomenon has spawned a fetish for the classics,
which have become collectors items and
have engendered a taste for objects from
the beginnings of industrial design.



Poltrona Frau.

Lmpara Troag
by Luca Nichetto for Foscarini.

Fronzoni Color
Collection by Cappellini.
Series of chairs and
tables designed in 1964
by A. G. Fronzoni, now
re-launched in a new
colour version.

Sand sofa by Lievore

Altherr Molina for
Andreu World.

Calligrafie by Cotto Veneto.

Ceramic collection to mark the
centenary of the publication of
Tommaso Marinettis futurist

Presence in the markets

To a certain extent, New Classics is related
to the Excessive Objects trend analysed in
the Habitat Trends Report 08/09. Although
conceptually these are clearly different
trends, they have one factor in common:
the potential consumer. Like New Classics,
Excessive Objects was aimed at individuals
with high purchasing power.


In Europe today the high end consumer

shuns neo-Baroque or ostentatious trends
in favour of simplicity and a natural feel,
which are considered more contemporary
Betts carpet
from Naturtex
in collaboration with Flix


Fronzoni Color Collection by Cappellini.

both socially and economically. During the

current recession, many voices have reflected on luxury and waste, and as a result a
significant sector of society is now seeking
out simpler products, yet still of excellent
quality. Inspiration in design classics meets
this new need.
On the other hand, the Excessive Objects
trend, although in a later stage of evolution,
continues to be important, particularly in
Asian countries and in the new economies
that, despite the effects of the economic

crisis, still have a buoyant upper class whose

consumer patterns are based on personal
The companies driving this trend are design
leaders, focused on the luxury market, and
therefore with a strong brand image. Names
associated with this return to the origins of
design include firms like Capellini, Cassina,
Vitra, Poltrona Frau, Magis, Muji and Thonet, Roche Bobois, Kartell, Molteni, Driade,
Flos, Cattelan Italia, Ligne Roset, Minotti,
Poliform, Zanotta; and renowned designers
such as Konstantin Grcic, Tom Dixon or
Petter Knudsen.


Other references
La crisis en la literatura:
B&B Italia:

Piero Lissoni:
Poltrona Frau:

BD Ediciones:

Tom Dixon:

Konstantin Grcic:

Cotto Veneto:

Nathalie Dewez:

by Hand

Stefano Giovannoni:
Felix Diener:


Luca Nichetto:
Christophe Pillet:
Andreu World:





Decorative objects





Interior design



Level of presence



Crinoline Outdoor seating by

Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia.

Spanish Pavilion for the

2010 Shanghai from the
Miralles-Tagliabue studio

by Hand

Shallot by
and Frances
Bromley for

This trend reflects a new way of appreciating

exclusivity, in which the artisans traditional
know-how is blended with the designers
personal and creative reinterpretation.
Each product has a story, a unique personality and ancestral wisdom, so universal,
sterile and industrial language is therefore
rejected. Its purpose is to give each product
a popular vocabulary that is already part of
our collective imagination, through the filter
of the designers own language.
In fact, manufacturing has shifted to
making, and this requires time, something
that the user appreciates. These products
can not easily be processed industrially and
indeed, are not designed to be mass produced. Exhibitions such as Origin: the London
Craft Fair, held annually since 2006, testify
to the resurgence of interest in the new
artisan-designers, which grows year on year.
According to Arantza Vilas, textile designer
and artist, and associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London, luxury is being


reconsidered and redefined through a return

to its original sources: the exclusivity and
the importance of the products origins, part
of the value of the purchase lies in the direct
relationship with the artisan who made it.
These are designers, architects and artists
who, through their work, deliberately break
down the barriers between art and design,
culture and commerce. They do this by creating unique pieces and special editions for a
market increasingly concerned not so much
with the story of luxury brands, but with the
stories behind the objects they buy: where
they come from, the artist-designer behind
the product, the materials and processes
used in their creation.
Thus, the user places greater value on
authenticity, as seen in the search for
extremely high quality and a substantial
artistic and manual component in which
the perceived and real value of the product
come together.

Sehnsucht piece from the Echos collection by Pour les Alpes with the collaboration of Swiss artisans Greta Valer
Jenaz and Elisabeth Davatz Fanas. The
work pays homage to the Swiss Alps
and alpine culture using various craft
techniques, in this case lace, which
they interpret in an extremely creative
way. The delicate silk and cotton lace
took over 200 hours to make and is
protected behind a piece of transparent
glass to ensure its stability.


This & That by Fabrica

for Secondome. Limited
edition of blown glass
domes in which various
designers incorporate
everyday items, such as
bicycle handlebars, into
the sophisticated and
elegant beauty of glass.

Decorative figurine
by Louise Hindsgavl
(Danish Crafts).

1-2. Tak Cheung.

3. Sam Baron.
4. Jade Folawiyo.

Creativity Labs

by Hand

Artisans workshops have become centres of creativity where

designers learn and express
themselves through the product.
The final piece is the result of
experimenting with age-old
materials and techniques, but
also from incorporating new
materials and processes, for
example rapid prototyping
techniques or 3D printing.
In fact, this return to roots, rather than
reminiscing about past golden ages, is
regarded more as a chance to experiment,
to benefit and learn from the artisans knowhow.
The artisans methods are clearly seen
as offering an opportunity to experiment
directly with their materials and techniques.
The designers subjective creativity sets out
to explore these possibilities by complementing this know-how with todays techniques
and materials to improve the quality of the
final product or extend the potential of the
finished item.


The value of these products lies in their

striking, personal aesthetic or conceptual
language, and in the singularity of one-off
pieces or limited series. No single aesthetic
predominates since the trend is based on
the philosophy of creative expression.


Granny lamp by Pudelskern

design for Casamania.
Markus Bstieler.
Lamp inspired by the
Tyrolean secular tradition
and culture; the wool is

produced by a small family

business in the Tyrol, and
the lamps are hand knitted
by a workers collective in
the Netherlands.

Bucho paper side

table and Africa chair
by Rodrigo Almeida.
This Brazilian designer
steeps each project in his
own culture, in which many
cultures coexist (European,
Asian, African ), all of

which he is influenced by and creatively

interprets in a fusion of
traditional craft techniques and contemporary

Crinoline Outdoor seating

by Patricia Urquiola for
B&B Italia.

The value of time

by Hand

This trend involves a return to a much more

natural, unhurried production cycle. Creating an object takes time, since it is made
to last, to remain with us throughout our
lives and perhaps be passed on to the next

made-to-measure, tailored products, and

the chance to select, review the work and
follow and even take part in the whole production process. The idea of having to wait,
part of the process of creating a limited
edition, is valued.

Products are designed to the highest standards, with quality and durability at the core
of the design. The highest quality materials
are used, together with precise finishes, as
the work that goes into these objects is of
a sublime quality, incorporating know-how,
care and patience, all of which are time

The ANSOAP study Consumer behaviour

and crafts highlights certain factors that craft buyers value in their purchasing decisions;
these can include limited series (exclusivity),
manual and non-intensive production processes (unconnected with the industrialised
system), the quality of materials, their history or the regional connection (prioritisation
of local over global).

In addition, this trend involves a return to


Aventurina by Argenta.
Adaptation of ceramic glaze
based on the aventurine
effect commonly used in
artistic ceramic processes
and industrial processes.

Set interpretation and Volant

armchair by Patricia Urquiola
for Moroso using the material Alcantara, which is
transformed, pleated, creased, rippled and distorted to
reinterpret this piece.


Kirchschlag Collection
by Atelier Areti.

Factors driving the trend

by Hand


The (G)local trend (Habitat Trends 08/09)

highlighted the importance of globalisation
from a dual perspective: negatively, by
which local cultures are annulled or dissolved, and positively, by which cultures
are transformed and adapt to new times.
Although this perspective continues to be
valid, a series of socio-political transformations have led to a new outlook for the trend
Sublime by Hand. The financial crisis that
began in the United States over a year ago
has brought to light some of the dangers of
global interdependence and has disrupted
many trends that fall under the umbrella of
globalisation, but the process will probably continue, although more slowly and
somewhat more awkwardly and unequally
than in recent decades (Thomas Fingar,
Challenge and alternatives: factors and
decisions that will determine our future).

The global economic recession, which

because of this interdependency has sent
shock waves across the whole planet, has
led to a call for change based on the local
before global discourse. Crafts and the
personal have benefited from this discourse. Furthermore, the much debated crisis
of the capitalist model has led to a certain
feeling of scepticism towards industry and
has raised the value of crafts over manufactured or mass produced objects. Traditional
crafts are now having a notable impact in
this recession, and while the activities of
these artists and groups were, until recently,
regarded as entertaining, they are now acknowledged by both market and consumers,
and the importance of local products and
product origin are highly valued (Arantza
Vilas, textile designer and artist, and associate lecturer at the University of the Arts
That individuality is one of the fastest
growing values in todays society is a widely
held opinion in sociological and psychological circles. Some, such as the sociologist
Ulrich Beck, claim that western countries
have experienced a deep-seated social
shift towards individuality since the end of
the Second World War. This individuality
has made consumers more demanding in
their search for objects that directly connect
with their lives. The artisan therefore has a
greater capacity to respond to this new user
demand, by providing unique products with
their own story that are a far cry from the
industrial mass production model.

Vasi Litigati by Mario

Ferrarini for Bitossi.


Love triangle patchwork

chair y Opposites attract
chair de Katherine May.
This textile designer creatively revives the traditional
craft of patchwork to make
upholstery fabrics and quilts
using any recyclable material (ties, shirt cuffs, dolls
dresses, etc.).

The designer-maker is a new
artisan with more institutionalbased knowledge about design
processes, who combines craft
with the discipline of industrial
design. He or she does not
reproduce industrial finishes or
items, but borrows certain techniques and knowledge from
the field of design that can
help to improve his or her work
and the processes involves.

A Continuous chain by Soojin Kang.

This piece incorporates the beauty of
traditional crafts and old materials in
a contemporary context and explores
the emotional relationship between
people and objects. In a world of fast
consumption, the collection underlines the significance of hand made.

Presence in the markets

by Hand


The growing numbers of designer-makers*,

particularly in the United Kingdom, has significantly changed the relationship between
craft and design and has spawned a new
class of products that fall between the two
worlds and, consequently, between two very
different markets. A new craft consumer has
emerged who is also knowledgeable about
design. This consumer has high spending
power and values the uniqueness of a
product. The Victoria & Albert Museums
exhibition, Telling Tales. Fantasy and Fear in
Contemporary Design, covered some of the
DesignArt devoted to the work of recognised
design-makers or designers like Ron Arad,
Tord Boontje or Marc Newson. A significant
aspect referred to in the exhibition catalogue
is the importance of the connoisseur, which
adds intellectual value to these products: the
makers brand, the label and the signature,
numbered editions, exotic materials, highquality production and source documentation
are essential ingredients for the connoisseur, and are just as valid for antiques as for
contemporary design. These are intangible
qualities that add a quantifiable value to the
object. Designers have greater autonomy
than the industrial design model affords them
and greater creative freedom than they can
expect when working on commissions for
industry (Arantza Vilas, textile designer and
artist, and associate lecturer at the University
of the Arts London).
On the other hand, well-known flagship firms
such as Vitra, B&B (Outdoor) and Moroso in-

creasingly turn to artisans and expert makers

to create products that are sublime, extremely complicated to make and of exceptional
quality: the haute couture of habitat.
From an industrial or business perspective, the approach taken by Alfons Cornella
(Infonomia) to the concept of industry 3.0 is
of particular interest, and reflects on what
direction western manufacturing industry
should take: How can small manufacturing companies prosper in an environment
where giants are collapsing? What types of
manufacturing can we expect to flourish in
the next few years? Cornella concludes that
industry has to reinvent itself, and that this
reinvention can take various paths, including
what he refers to as industrial crafts. The key
factors for anyone setting out on this path are
specialisation and the ability to be unique.
A good example of this is Shotoku Glass, a
firm that started out producing light bulbs;
the companys extensive knowledge about
glass gave it the necessary skills to make
other products using the material, such as its
e-glass series, a collection of glass tumblers
made by reusing the glass from fluorescent
light tubes, carefully made by expert artisans,
which has won various awards including the
Annual Traditional Arts and Crafts Challenge
Awards in Japan. Another example is the Quirico Company, which works in a similar way to
offer a unique, handcrafted product.

Designers, creators and artists are, without

doubt, at the vanguard of this trend; combined with the companies craft skills, they
often add the value of singularity to these
star products. Names include creative laboratories like Fabrica, highly prestigious and
celebrated designers such as Hella Jongerius,
Fernando & Humberto Campana, San Baron
and Tord Boontje, international artists like
Joana Vasconcelos and upcoming names

in design like Rodrigo Almeida, Stefan

Schouten & Carole Baijings, Cordula Kehrer,
Christien Meindetsma, Katherine May, Emily
Barletta, Soojin Kang, Marie Retpen, Esther
Coombs, Ikuko Iwamoto, Helene Uffren,
Torbjorn Andersen, Aldo Bakker, Shary Boyle,
As well as generating a whole new range of
products, this relationship between artisans
and designers has also improved communication about products, as reflected in the
proliferation of designer-makers associations
offering their products on the web. Platforms
such as Hidden Art, Dutch Design, Cockpit
Arts and Artesania Catalunya in Spain offer
support in promoting and marketing craft
products with a high design content.
At the same time, this trend has also been
significantly advanced by the increasing
number of events and exhibitions promoting
crafts and craft workers from all backgrounds
such as Danish Craft or Polska Folk at the last
Tent London (London Design Festival).
This type of work is increasingly seen in
museum shops all over the world. Designermakers creations have also been accepted
on the traditional design circuit, in shops,
museums, galleries, events, etc.


Other references
Rodrguez S., Casado P. (2009).
Nuevas Formas de Habitar.
Comunidad Valenciana.
Origin. The London Craft Fair:
Hidden Art:
Knitted Landscape:
Html Patchwork:
Kwangho Lee:

Katherine May:
B&B Italia:
Atelier Areti:

The Essentials

Pour les Alpes:
Soojin Kang:
Rodrigo Almeida:

Sam Baron

by Hand

Patricia Urquiola:

Louise Hindsgavl:
Tak Cheung:

Danish Crafts:

Harri Koskinen:






Decorative objects


Interior design


Level of presence



Furniture by Brikolor

Marcello chair by
Nathan Yong for
Ligne Roset.

The Essentials

Lamp from the Sweet

collection by Paola
Navone for Gervasoni.

What takes precedence in this trend is the

idea of good design, which revitalises its
true purpose: to improve individuals quality
of life. Everyday objects must be impeccable
and above all useful, in that they meet our
needs, whether functional or emotional.
Their durability is also valued, and quality
is therefore important and is achieved by
applying excellent manufacturing processes
that may sometimes involve artisan-derived
processes; their refined, highly familiar
aesthetic takes its references from Scandinavian design.

Furniture by Brikolor.
Photo: Niclas Lfgre
This firms ambition is
to manufacture furniture
with a guaranteed
emotional and technical
durability of 300 years.

Institute of Technology). Simplicity is about

subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful, such that this trend is based on a
reflection about the role of design and how it
can solve problems efficiently through solutions that are simple to use but sometimes
complex in their conceptualisation (simplicity and complexity need each other).

The trend typically rejects fleeting fashions,

the need for design novelty and design
for designs sake. In this way product life
cycles become normalised, in that the item
we acquire for our home can remain with us
throughout our lives.
This is an intermediate zone, where the
status conferred by an image of an icon is
not the objective, but rather its excellence,
quality, durability, comfort, ease of use,
are prioritised together with familiarity and


This good design can be summarised in the

10 Laws of Simplicity devised by John Maeda, a researcher at the MIT (Massachusetts

Rocking Chair by
Charlotte Guisset
for VIA.


Axor Urquiola by Patricia

Urquiola for Axor (Hansgrohe).
The core concept of the bath is
poetry of security; according to
Patricia Urquiola it thrives on per-

sonalisation, on the many small

memories and personal objects
that make a room into a home.

Trio by Camila
Kropp for Iittala.

The Extra-Ordinary and the


The Essentials

These manifestations are based on concepts coined by Jasper Morrison and Naoto
Fukasawa in their exhibition Super Normal
at Twentytwentyone Store in London at the
end of 2006. They call for design responsibility towards the user and his or her wellbeing, and the simple and sensible purpose
of this type of product is thus to be useful,
accessible and long-lasting.
This trend is a tribute to all the anonymous
objects (whether handmade or manufactured) that have served as examples of
good design with no other initial pretentions than to be useful and affable (without
being coupled to a strong brand image or a
renowned designer) and that form part of
our everyday collective imagination. Familiarity is therefore one of its attractions and
because of this, it is not particularly innovative from an aesthetic point of view; rather,
it goes back to these everyday objects, with
the result that its products are intimate
items closely related to the users own personal memories.

Another important feature is the quality of

the materials and processes used, the reliability of the product and its expected long
life. These products are sympathetic because they take into consideration not only the
use of the object, but also the user: rounded
or curved shapes, quieter colours that are
easy on the eye, and perfect finishes. While
they borrow from Scandinavian design, they
are updated to meet new needs and take
references from Japanese design.
The Dutch designer Richard Hutten describes his products, which include normal
chairs, tables and decorative objects, as no
sign of design. This is because, he says, in
some way, we are already used to them;
I work with archetypes and give them a
twist. So on one hand they appear very familiar and on the other, they are surprising.
(Source: Viewpoint 21: 131).

Clover by Kensa Kuoshiro.

Redesign of a traditional
object, a terracotta plant pot,
with a modern slant shows
how commonplace objects
continue to make excellent

This simplicity is not only found in the

products form, but also in its use, which
takes into account the principles of design
for all* and provides beneficial and healthy



Design for all:

is the intervention on environments, products and services
with the aim that everyone,
regardless of age, gender,
capabilities or cultural back-

ground, can participate in our

society with equal opportunities. (Definition taken from
the Design for all foundation,

Wilma Bench by Donna

Wilson for SCP Furniture.
This textile designer works
with the principles of craft,
sustainability and quality
products and finishes, by

Textile collection (100 years,

Cabriole, Elements) by Tord
Boontje for the Danish firm
Kvadrat. This collection of
upholstery and curtain fabrics
is created by methods devi-

using natural wools and

cottons and endeavouring to
keep production in the United

sed by the designer in which

manual tracing is transferred
to the fabrics by digital
printing, laser cutting and
abrasion techniques.

Factors driving the trend

The Essentials

We cannot begin to understand the huge

transformations in trends without referring
to the socio-economic context of recent
years. The Essentials has arisen out of a set
of very specific circumstances in which consumers have moved from a more Baroque,
exhibitionist perspective to one of simplicity and honesty in the products they buy.
The post-recession consumer has clearly
expressed a demand for simplicity. Downturns are stressful and typically increase
peoples desire for simplicity (Paul Flatters,
former head of analysis and research at BBC
The uncertainty caused by the socio-economic situation and fears that the standards
of living enjoyed during the recent economic boom years may be unsustainable
have generated adaptation or adjustment
behaviours, according to the social psychologist Ismael Quintanilla. In other words,

individuals are tending increase their income

or reduce their spending by changing their
consumer patterns. In all events, there is an
evident change both in the motivations for
buying and in the issues considered when
making a purchase, which in all cases are
governed by prudence.
What we now find is the smart shopper
(Omnicom Media Group), an expert shopper
who compares prices and is faithful to a
brand as long as it provides clearly superior
quality. On the other hand, the threat of a
domestic crisis in our immediate individual
circumstances means we prioritise the price
variable when making purchasing decisions.
However, even more important than price,
at least in Europe, is product quality, which
for 67% of the population is considered to be
a very important variable.

Importance of various aspects of products in purchasing decisions




Product price


The products


Very important

Rather important

Source: Eurobarometer. Flash EB Series 256, 2009






Not very important

Not at all important



Meknes and Creta

Collection by Antonio

Restoration of the
Casa del Condestable in Pamplona
by Tabuenca &
Leache, Architects.

CIVISAGORA. Safety and

confortable surface for public space. CIVISAGORA
is the fruit of years of
research in developing
products through PersonOriented Design. It consist
of ceramic convergins
designed to offer an
integral solution for the
urban habitat following
criteria of ergonomics and

Earth by Hctor RuizVelazquez for Saloni.

Presence in the markets

The Essentials

The Essentials is a trend with great potential for market penetration as it responds
to highly rational criteria. Simplicity, in line
with the general attitude of the market;
quality, as promised by the product; and the
presentation of long-lasting objects with an
extended useful life.
Today the market is becoming polarised with
increased consumption of both high and low
price products, while spending on intermediate price goods has fallen considerably
(data for the period 1994-2004). This means
that users are opting either to buy objects
from low price ranges and own label brands,
or to make purchases based on the criterion
of quality.
The user/consumer of this trend not only
finds these products to be useful, in the
broadest sense, but also sees them as an
Brands such as Vitra, Thonet or Roche
Bobois, leaders in quality and know-how,
consolidate their products with this concept
of simplicity referred to above.


In addition, a growing number of firms and

designers are adopting simple language and
manufacturing products that are made to
last. These include firms such as Deesawat,
Geaforms, Hay, Xam, Woodnotes, Tapiovaara design Aero design furniture, Bonestil,
Fokus Fabrik, Brikolor, Ercol, Pinch, etc.

Nominal growth of products and services in tier

relative to market average for those products and
services, 1999-2004






Source: The vanishing middle

market. McKinsey 2005



Amongst designers, this trend has been

adopted both by well-known designers
such as Tokujin Yoshioka or Nendo, and by
other collectives and designers like Johanna
Gullichsen, Benjamin Hubert, Constance
Guisset, Kensa Kuoshiro, Innovo-design,
Outofstock, Design Incubation Centre, Mikiya Kobayashi,
Marteen Baptist, Marina Bautier, Joost van
Bleiswijk, etc. The reason why this trend has
been taken up so horizontally and in such
diverse ways by different types of companies and design professionals is simply that
all of them feel strongly about reaffirming
the principles of design; championing what
is useful, functional and what contributes
to improving quality of life for people in a
simple and anonymous way.


Mint Kitchen, produced by Rauzas Company.

This firms furniture collection (kitchen, bedroom,
etc.) follows the concept of a simple, comfortable
and dynamic lifestyle and gives users the choice
from a range of basic modules to create their own

Other references
Flatters, P.; Willmott, M. (2009)
Understanding the Post-Recession
Consumer. Harvard Business Review,
The Laws of Simplicity:
Las Leyes de la Simplicidad (Spanish):
Design for all:
Twentytwentyone Store:
Nathan Yong:
Ligne Roset:

Kensaku Oshiro:
Patricia Urquiola:
Tord Boontje:

Once upon
a Future

Saloni Cermica:
Tabuenca & Leache Arquitectos:


Tau Cermica:

Rauzas Company:


Pinch Design:

The Essentials

Antonio Ferre:

SCP Furniture:
Donna Wilson:
Paola Navone:





Decorative objects


Interior design





Level of presence



Sonumbra by Loop.pH.

Wablog by Nodesign together

with Jean-Louis Frechin and Uros
Petrevski. Gadget that enables
communication between people
using minimal signs and movements to signal their presence

Once upon
a Future


or to perceive the presence of a

person nearby, to send comments
or messages via networks like
Twitter or Facebook, etc.

In this trend, the habitat attempts to reflect

an interconnected community in which the
limits of the tangible and the virtual almost
touch and at times blur into each other. In
this context, design becomes the interface
that attempts to bring low tech* within
everybodys reach. We see how container
is gradually losing ground to content; more
than ever before the product is becoming a
service, a link with the information around
us. The challenge lies in imagining the future in order to design it.
Here we communicate with our objects,
which in turn, interact with us and learn.
In the field of computing this is known as
the Internet of things, a term coined by the
Auto-ID Lab, a research group working on
radio frequency and emerging technologies
based in seven universities worldwide,
including the prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The idea is
as simple as its application is complicated:
it refers to the possibility of connecting all
objects to Internet by radio frequencies,
thereby enabling each object to use exterior
data to improve the way it works and thus
according intelligence to every object that
surrounds us. A good example is that of
the St. Anthony Falls Bridge in Minneapolis
(USA), one of the first smart bridges to be
built; its numerous sensors provide real-time
information about traffic, weather condi-

tions, the weight it is carrying, vibrations,

expansion and contraction of the structure,
etc., allowing the bridge to react automatically to any situation.
According to the sociologist J. A. Daz, there
has been a significant shift in attention away
from a certain techno-centrism towards the
individual and his or her flexible relationship
with technology; away from considering the
huge potential of technology, towards considering users real needs.

Tactility Factory and Girli Concrete by

Trish Belford and Ruth Morrow. This
surface covering is the result of a joint collaboration between an architect
and a textile designer. It aims to turn
hard into soft by using textile and cement techniques and technologies to
create hybrid surfaces. The resulting
surfaces are aesthetically unique and
their thermal and acoustic capacities
differ from those of traditional

Low Tech:
machines or systems that
do not use modern or highly
sophisticated technologies.
The concept appears as a
counterpoint to High Tech,
and typically requires fewer
resources, is easier to maintain, costs less and has a lower
environmental impact than
other comparable technologies. (Source: Wikipedia).

Another key issue is the experimentation

and exploration of the range of possibilities offered by new technological advances
in materials and procedures, no longer
the exclusive domain of the technologist.
Design professionals are becoming increasingly keen to participate from the outset in
the conception of innovative materials and
processes, as reflected in the proliferation of
multidisciplinary collaborations that enrich
this creative process.


Lumiblade Mirrorwall
by Random International
for Philips.

Wallmount by Philips. Using the

same OLED-based technology
(Organic Light), Philips have
created a series of lighting objects
that vary in intensity with a simple movement of the hand.

Invisible objects

Once upon
a Future

The importance of the object itself is losing

ground to content. Design efforts now focus
on content and how the user will interact
with the object. This is much more obvious
in technological objects like the Apple iPad.
According to Wired, the appearance of
gadgets like iPad will gradually lead to the
disappearance of the devices materiality,
to the point where we will not perceive the
mechanical part. This is already seen in the
transfer of these criteria to objects in the
home, from electrical appliances, through
textiles or surfaces, to lighting, a trend that
will continue to grow.
This invisibility is not related to minimalism;
in other words it is not a question of aesthetic choice, but rather it is based on giving
precedence to space so the user can interact
with it. The user therefore takes charge of
constructing the object, its contents and its

An example of this is the Lumiblade Mirrorwall (Random International and Philips):

when it is switched off, it is completely
invisible, like a mirror. Once it is switched
on, a series of OLEDs turns it into a softly lit
surface, but when the user approaches the
surface, the OLEDs directly in front switch
off, forming a mirror in the shape of the
person. The system also recognises movement and reacts immediately, following the
person as he or she moves.
This interaction with the user occurs intuitively, in such a way that the learning process
is fast and above all, logical, since it is
based on commonly assumed gestures that
are very closely linked to those generated
through the use of gadgets and other electronic devices (telephones, touchscreens,



ADW! by La otra Cristina Serrano.

This piece of intelligent furniture,
designed for transit areas, looks
like a simple picture, but it detects
the presence of a person and

lights up the room. At the same

time, an illuminated message
appears, previously introduced via
Internet or text message.

Morph Phone by Nokia. Nokia

Research Centre in collaboration
with the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre. This device
explores the potential user
benefits of nanotechnology in,
for example, mobile phones.
Based on the same principle as
a spiders web, the terminals
flexibility allows it to take on
different shapes depending on

the users requirements. Its

integrated sensors also enable it
to self-clean, absorb solar light
and recharge, and it can detect
environmental conditions (such
as air pollution or whether or
not a piece of fruit needs to be
washed before eating).

Objects that evolve and learn

Once upon
a Future

Today, we are one step closer to interaction;

going beyond intuitive technology, researchers are now exploring how technology and
objects can evolve according to our moods,
guided by our feelings, with a logical sensitivity, not only intelligence and reactions
(Biennale Internationale Design, Sainttienne, 2008). Companies like Philips are
working on the emotion detection processes
they believe will play an important role in
the interfaces of the future.

Nanotechnology is also gaining inroads

in scientific spheres: as well as making
previously unimaginable advances in areas
like health, communications, energy and
the environment, it is enabling objects to
develop according to the use we make of
them. Extremely flexible products will be
created that can even be used as an elastic
second skin.
People will not only be able to influence
the content of the object, but also its very
shape, intuitively, through their emotions
and through the way they use it. Indeed,
according to sociologist J. A. Daz, the term
intelligent is now accompanied by approaches such as the conscious house, integrated environments or living, interactive
environments . Various configurations exist
in this new context of intelligent:

Homes that contain intelligent objects:

these homes contain single stand-alone
appliances and objects that function in an
intelligent manner.
Homes that contain intelligent, communicating objects: these contain appliances and
objects that function intelligently and also
exchange information to increase functionality.
Learning homes: patterns of activity are
recorded and data is used to anticipate
users needs and to control the technology
Attentive homes: the activity and location
of people and objects within the home are
constantly registered and this information is
used to control technology in anticipation of
the occupants needs.
(Source: taken from Inside the Smart Home
by Richard Harper (Ed.) Springer-Verlag


Sonumbra by Loop.pH.
This urban lighting system,
created with electroluminescent
textile fibres, was designed
to respond to the activity of
people moving around it or

standing near it. It generates a

rhythmic, harmonious luminous
pattern from the visitors movements, or motionless presence.


Glowing Lampshades by
Kathy Schicker for Puff
and Flock. These printed
lamps give off light in the
dark when they have been
exposed to solar or UV light.

Light Touch by Light

Blue Optics. Interactive
projector that turns any
flat surface into a touch

Factors driving the trend

Once upon
a Future

In the Habitat Trends Report 08/09 we noted

the importance of advances in ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to
the development of trends of a technological
nature. This observation is even truer today,
since in the period 2000-2009 worldwide
Internet use has increased by 380.3%, and
in more developed countries the index of
the population with an Internet connection
ranges between 52% and 74% (Source: Miniwatts Marketing Group).
On one hand, home automation has taken
giant strides since the 90s. Today, much is
heard about home networking, and automated home that is also connected to external
networks to provide a contextualised service
within the home. For example, this would
allow a newly built house to be connected to
neighbouring homes so as to gather all the
data necessary to start functioning (yearround weather patterns, mains water and
electricity systems, rubbish collection times,
The sudden freeze in the new-build construction sector will entail a decline in the
installation of home automation systems,


since installation is much more costly in

already existing buildings. However, there
will be an increase in the demand for home
products that incorporate this type of smart
applications, whether in furniture and
decoration or in home alterations. This new
context of access to technologies stemming
from the development of the Information
Society is the main catalyst for a series of
wide-reaching social transformations. The
availability of new technological media will
transform values and attitudes, and in turn,
culture and society itself. (Libro Blanco del
Hogar Digital).
Although it is true that a series of technological developments are driving the Once
Upon a Future trend, the situation goes
beyond technical factors alone. One of the
most important issues is the major change
in the lifestyles of the individuals who live in
the home. Combining teleworking with personal projects, social relationships between
people across great distances, increasing
mobility in daily life or the need for up-todate information at any moment are some
of the reasons why people demand technological products that can link the life they
lead in the domestic setting with their life in
the street, the city or in cyberspace.

The home has gone from being a closed

space reserved for family interaction and
the closest social relationships, to an open
space with a connection channel capable of
breaking down the borders between internal
and external. The home has thus become a
space [] with the potential for carrying out
any social or economic activity (J. F. Tezanos and J. Bords). While the development
of the home was formerly based on bricks
and mortar, a construction revolution, the
new revolution will be based on the technological component and the equipment that
goes with it.


Digital console system for

Compac work surfaces. The
system enables incorporation of controls for the
cookers functions into the
surface using 2H technology
from Zeyron Technologies.

Furniture by Martela
in collaboration with
PowerKiss. The
surface of these
pieces is capable of
recharging mobile
wireless devices.

Presence in the markets






It is not easy to predict what time horizons

we might expect for this trend, but according to data gathered through Delphi surveys the smart home will have a significant
presence in Spain between 2030 and 2040
(Daz: 27).
This trend is emerging notably in the home,
although not with regard to technological
objects, commonly used ICTs and entertainment. Lighting and electrical appliances
and to a lesser extent furniture, textiles and
surfaces are its main applications in the
domestic setting.
Firms most closely associated with this
trend are typically those with well-established research departments working on
technologies and future processes (Philips,
LG, Corian, etc.).


Categories of

Late Majority

How are technologies introduced into society? Undoubtedly, the Once Upon a Future
trend embraces what Everett Rogers calls
Innovators and Early Adopters, in his book
Diffusion of Innovations. Although this is a
relatively small group, it plays an influential
role in transmitting and spreading innovations and changes in the rest of society.

Early Majority

Products related to this trend are abundant

in all markets today, from the rapidly established tradition of technological access in
Asian markets, particularly mobile phones,
to Europe and the United States where
Internet access is widespread. Data from the
Spanish National Institute of Statistics give
us a picture of the type of homes in which
Internet connections are most frequently
found. The higher the number of occupants
in a home and the larger the population of
the city, the greater the likelihood that it
will have a device to access Internet and a
broadband connection. However, it is more
likely that the Once Upon a Future trends
user will resemble the prototype Internet
user: male, between 15 and 34 years old,
with university or higher level education,
student or salaried worker and living in areas
with more than 100,000 inhabitants (J. A.
Daz Martnez. Tecnologas de la informa-

cin en los hogares espaoles).

Early Adopters

It goes without saying that the cost of these

products raises a barrier to technology access; however we are witnessing a reduction in the price of technological products
(such as the Waspmote sensors from the
Zaragoza company Libelium), which is
bringing us closer to the time when these
barriers will no longer exist, particularly in
the domestic sphere. [] the home will be
particularly open to the impacts of changes
associated with the technological revolution,
and transformations in the logic underlying
manufacturing systems, in the orientation
of consumer patterns and in communication
and cultural innovations will have a notable
presence in the houses of the future (J. F.
Tezanos and J. Bords).


Once upon
a Future


Source: E. M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 4th

edition (New York: The Free Press, 1995)

It is also interesting to note the increasing

number of creative collectives (designers,
architects, etc.), often working together
with technologists, who are experimenting
with radically new materials (see the boom
in materials banks worldwide) and the new
uses, understood from the users perspective and experience, that new technologies
offer. This is the case of Il Gu Cha or collectives such as the Design Incubation Centre.


Other references
Daz, J. A. El hogar inteligente del futuro. Tendencias de cambio en las TIC en
el entorno domstico.
XI Foro de Tendencias Sociales. 2009
J. F. Tezanos and J. Bords (2000). La
casa del futuro. Resultados de un estudio Delphi. Fundacin Sistema, Madrid.
Article in Wired How the tablet
will change the World:
Future Vision Montage:
International statistics on
Internet penetration (Spanish):
Libro Blanco del Hogar Digital:
Smart Bridge in Minneapolis:

Once upon
a Future

Tactility factory:
Light blue optics:
Power kiss:


Zeyron Technologies:
Kathy Schicker:
Puff and Flock:

Random International:
La Otra Cristina Serrano:







Decorative objects



Interior design


Level of presence



Format 10/10 by Charlotte Lancelot

Flip Table by Signe Baadsgaard,

Architect MAA for Bolia A/S.

Drop by Leonardo Perugi for

Cerruti Baleri. Transformable seat/daybed that can be
dismantled into three pieces for
easy transport.



This trend mirrors the social change that

now seems to be finding a response in our
homes. The idea of living together, sharing,
community, etc., has given rise to new
solutions vis--vis space, home and objects,
with the aim of finding a balance between
individual and collective living in the context
of sharing a home with others.

The creativity in dealing with new (day-today) challenges is what Everyday Solutions
puts to the test. Companies and designers
must, first of all, show expertise in identifying problems and situations that can be
solved or made much less complex, with a
single aim of improving quality of life for the

In Everyday Solutions, objects are valued

according to their capacity to solve everyday
problems. These products are created with
users new situations in mind (smaller living
spaces, multipurpose rooms, mobility,
shared flats ). It proposes dynamic, ingenious and practical products that simplify
and facilitate everyday activity, and all that
is multifunctional, collapsible, modular,
transformable and polyvalent is retrieved
and rethought.

A recent phenomenon might be framed within this trend: products that were originally
designed for users in emerging economies
such as India, China or Taiwan are beginning
to see a consumer demand in more mature
economies. These objects tend to be smaller
or incorporate fewer special features; they
are more intuitive to use because they
were initially designed for inexperienced
users; they are more robust, more energy
efficient and are backed by good design.
Products like low cost netbooks, designed
for countries in Africa and Asia, domestic
water purifiers using jugs with built-in filters,
or the microfinance model devised for poor
countries are starting to be seen in countries
like the United States.

According to the designer Andr Ricard,

creative activity is not about changing the
appearance of the things we have inherited,
and nothing else. Changing one form for
another in something that is already good as
it stands is very superficial and insignificant.
We should expect creativity to go beyond
that, to create new tools that changes in lifestyles demand at each particular moment
in time. (Ricard: 17)

There are various reasons why societies with

more experienced shoppers have become interested in these products: they are
cheap, they are simple to use and intuitive,
their good design is appreciated by more
experienced consumers, and they are more
sustainable than the premium versions they
are used to (Source: Trendwatching).


Pelican bedside table by

Marc Venot, part of Via 2009.

This table has additional

storage space accessed by a
simple twist of the hand.

Composite, by
El ltimo Grito
for Uno Design.

Form follows solution


As mentioned above, this trend is based on

solving problems or improving situations in
the everyday habitat. To this end, companies and designers creatively, but with their
feet firmly on the ground, try to put themselves in the users shoes and not only solve
obvious problems imaginatively, but also
become expert detectives of situations that
need considerable improvement to make
them simpler and safer.
We are referring to familiar, everyday
objects that, thanks to their design, become efficient and beautiful tools that make
our lives easier (Elisa Sinz, CEO of DDI,
Spanish state corporation for the development of design and innovation). These are
1000 in 1 products, collapsible, transformable
objects, those that hide themselves away or
simply hitherto unheard-of items. Yet this
does not mean they are incomprehensible
gadgets or implausible inventions; they aim
to put practicality back in the domestic space, this time adapted to new needs, ways
of living and the new home-based activities
like teleworking, participation in social networks, carrying out personal projects, leisure
and socialising.


These tend to be products that start from

basics and as the problem is resolved or
the situation improved, their form and
aesthetics emerge. Because these objects
are designed with the end user in mind, the
language they incorporate must be easy and
user-friendly. This implies that utilitarian
design considers function and aesthetics on
an equal footing.

These products are designed to optimise

space and the functions of furniture, lighting
and surfaces, and in the end, help to make
the house a flexible environment, adapted
to the user.

Invisible Bookshelf by Ovo Editions. Shelf size

can be modified according to need.

Moreover, in pursuing domesticity and

practicality, a growing number of firms and
hotels are creating much more familiar
spaces, by giving them a homely feel in the
way both materials and products are used.
This approximation to the domestic sphere
comes at a time when distances between
public and private are shrinking and people
are working as much at home as outside. In
sum, what is aimed for is a closer relationship with the user.
We are family sofa
by Claus Molgaard
and Ole Jensen.
For those unexpected visitors who stay
the night, is how the
designer describes this
multifunctional piece
that provides a solution
to an everyday situation.


Nue cushion carpet

by G-Led.

Format 10/10 by Charlotte Lancelot.

Wall covering made of felt and
Kvadrat fabrics inspired by the
typology of ceramic tiles that
allows customers to choose and

construct their own composition

in the form of pixels of different
textures and colours. It can also
be used as a memo board.

Factors driving the trend


In the monograph New Ways of Dwelling

we described some of the recent changes
in the family structure. The average number of household members has fallen, and
relationships between family members have
become more relaxed and equal, lifestyle
patterns and the activities carried out in the
domestic setting have changed. These new
circumstances require new products to meet
the needs arising in everyday situations.
One of the new, rapidly growing models is
that of shared households (people living
together who are not from the same nuclear

family). This arrangement is sometimes

seen as an alternative to the increasing
dehumanisation of relationships and individualism of recent years, and in other cases
it is a lifestyle choice based on economic
In either case, this arrangement is becoming
widespread in todays society and is leading to a new structural and value system
that prioritises notions of living together,
community, sharing, solidarity etc., and
as a result, ideas that favour and improve
relationships take precedence over individualism.
In addition, the problem of space is ever
more pressing and is growing with the
gradual migration of the rural population
into urban areas. Forecasts suggest that by
2050, 70% of the population will live in cities
(Source: World Urbanization Prospects).
Added to this, the size of the average flat
is also shrinking. During 2008, it was 96.8
square metres, 1.5 metres smaller than flats
designed in the previous year and almost 2
metres smaller than two years before (98.6).

Almost half Spanish dwellings are smaller

than 60 m (Source: Ministry of Development).
The recent economic crisis has also brought
into question those products or designs
that have no specific purpose and whose
sales seemed to be guaranteed during the
consumer wave of the recent boom years.
The decline of the markets has caused users
to take a rational approach and question the
market choices they made and the reasons
behind those choices. A new way of thinking
has emerged based on a more justified choice of products; there is a demand for objects
that solve everyday problems, that improve
quality of life, basic products that work and
are useful, at reasonable or at least justified
prices. This new idea of practicality is deter-

mined by times in which people are thinking

much more rationally, in that functionality is
valued and the purchasing process is more
rational than emotional.



Chambre dAmi
by Campeggi.

Desapercibido by Fluye Estudio.

Furniture covered in ceramic
material, rendering it unnoticeable in situ. As it comes in
modules, Desapercibido can be
adapted perfectly to all settings.
The cupboards appear to come
out of the floor or the walls, and
their dimensions vary according to
space and use; they are available
in modules or in specific pieces
depending on the setting.

Presence in the markets


As a trend, Everyday Solutions has huge potential for market penetration since it falls in
line with the general feeling that we need to
rethink consumption in a more practical way.
These objects do not set out to downsize as
a way of saving, but as a more rational, simple, environmentally friendly and intelligent
way of consuming.
With the gradual permeation of design
culture in society, people are beginning to
look at objects through new lenses. They
are more experienced in recognising good
design in the lines stores carry: ergonomics,
solutions to specific problems, etc. Consumers growing experience enables them
to recognise objects that fit their needs;
Everyday Solutions refers to products that

are adapted to respond to todays requirements.

environment where more open and flexible

structures are sought.

It is precisely the firms that create products

for customers with an average purchasing
power that are beginning to propose creative
solutions for domestic spaces. They are very
aware of how important the quality-benefit
ratio is to the user, as well as price. If any
firm can be said to represent this trend, it is
Campeggi SRL, whose identity has always
been firmly based on providing solutions to
space and mobility issues. This mission is
increasingly visible in all types of companies
that strive to meet these new needs, such
as Danese, Soca, Segis, Alias, Ligne Roset,
etc. Office furniture companies like Bene,
Prooff or Sellex are also moving in this direction, as a result of the changes in working

Independent designers are also re-examining these solutions, as they offer a very attractive professional avenue in which changes in users routines are taken as a starting
point to propose new uses and functionalities. Examples include Arihiro Miyake, No
problem, Thierry Bataille, Meysan Myahedi,
Itamar Burnstein, Giulio Manzoni, Philippe
Nigro, Joran Briand, Charlotte Lancelot, La
granja, Matali Crasset, 5.5 Designers, Gabriella Crohn, Diane Steverlynk, etc.

Built to Resist collection

by Quinze & Milan and
Eastpak. Designed almost
as a sofa-backpack, it
incorporates numerous
compartments and is made
with Eastpak backpacks


A further sign of this trend is seen in exhibitions such as those organised by associations like the VIA, which select projects
related to this area of design work.
Exhibitions such as A la mesa! organised by
the DDI and curated by Martn Azua, present accessible, highly up-to-date products
that respond to this change such as, Menos es Ms or Fagors
bread making machine.

Nuovoliol 10
by Clei.


Other references
Ricard, A. (2009). Artculo Respetar lo
inmejorable from the compilation
Articulando. Opiniones y reflexiones
sobre el diseo. ADCV, Valencia.
World Urbanization Prospects:
Genevive Lefebvre
and Marthe Marandola. Cohabiter pour
vivre mieux. JC Latts, 2009.
Valores del diseo. Cotidiano:


Basik & Raw

El ltimo Grito:
Uno Design:


Electrolux Design Lab:

A la mesa!!:

Fluye estudio:

Cerruti Baleri:

Ole Jensen:

Ovo Editions:


Mark Venot:


Charlotte Lancelot:
Quinze & Milan:









Decorative objects
Interior design


Level of presence



Deep Waffle Geometrics and Diamond Dot Grey by Jethro

Macey in collaboration with The Third Nature.

Woody by Hay Studio for Hay.

Shelving constructed on the
principle of simplicity; its
straightforward assembly is
clearly visible. This shelving
unit came onto the market by

Block by Inax.

Basik & Raw

Recent years have witnessed a crossover between design and art. Many young
designers have taken this stand in using
their work as a political and social weapon
to transmit their ideas. This trend shows a
reaction that, as a salutary lesson, proposes
alternative ways of working from design
itself, but from a perspective of intimacy
with the user, since in the end, it is offering
solutions within the context of consumer
Here, design activity seeks out ways of
reconciling itself with and committing to the
environment we live in, and as such confronts the Kleenex culture that is constantly
throwing up new and very often unnecessary

chance; originally designed for

use in the firms shops, it met
with a favourable response from
customers and the firm decided
to put it into production.

Deep Waffle Geometrics and Diamond Dot Grey by Jethro Macey in

collaboration with The Third Nature.
Concrete wall panels suitable for interior and exterior cladding projects.

These are everyday products that, although

extremely functional, also find creative
responses to the manufacturing and distribution costs involved. They must be cheap
because they meet a need for survival, for
getting by on as little as possible, whether on a short-term basis or not, but at
the same time they must be durable and
We could say that design in this trend meets
the need for urgent or fast solutions, since
the products it offers solve everyday problems intelligently, creatively and efficiently.
The return to a simple form in favour of
function and finishes that are not necessarily
impeccable are therefore implicit in the very
concept of the product.

According to John Thackara, an authority on

eco-design, last year (2007), for example, a
new project was launched every three minutes. Did we need a new product every three
minutes? I dont think so. The irresponsible
development of new products is one of the
trends that must change (Catalogue of
the Biennale Internationale Design, Sainttienne, 2008)


In designing, therefore, thought should be

given to making the most of what already
exists, and creating products from combinations of what we already possess or by simplifying and reducing until objects are stripped bare. This idea is gaining ground in the
present context, in which mass consumption
is frowned upon and we are learning to do
things better with fewer resources, a creative challenge for firms and designers.


Table by Gaetano
di Gregorio.

Sofa III
by Christiane

The naked object

Basik & Raw

Difficult times call for ingenuity on the part

of the designer, who responds by going back
to the function of objects, changing their
direction and using them as raw materials.
When the only target is to solve, craftsmanship lacks meaning; the love of the handmade, admiration for craft. Search for tools
and techniques, understand the operations
and link them together to get down to the
essence of the object. Fixing, reusing and
creating new versions are resources for
times without excesses. (G. Ferrn).

To a certain extent, this reflects the idea that

we do not need to live with so many things,
that objects do not have to be adorned,
dressed up with superfluous frills; rather
than going for the essential it is a question
of getting down to the products skeleton,
to the minimum, and for this reason these
objects appear to be naked.
It is a way of presenting the raw product,
almost half made, that shows the real cost
of the product, its value, since it is presented honestly to the observer. Moreover,
pieces can easily be replaced if the object
needs repairing. What we value here is that
the product fulfils the function for which it
has been designed and because we know it
has no added extras. Indeed, the user can
opt to finish off the product should he or she
so wish.
According to Martin Raymond, co-founder of
The Future Laboratory, consumers are cutting down on basic goods. A new aesthetic
is growing as a result, particularly in much
simpler graphics and fonts for packaging
(Viewpoint 25, September 2009). In other
words, this search for the basic, the raw, not
only affects the products but also their packaging and even their graphic design, since
we are frugally looking for ways to save.

Light Line by
NG Design.

Nothing is destroyed, everything is


Another strategy for approaching the concept

of basic is to reflect, prior to the design stage,
on what the real need for the new product
is, to ask is it necessary?, does it provide
new functions or address unmet needs?
Launching a product on the market from
this perspective means considering whether
there is a good reason for it, or whether it is
a response to more superficial motives, such
as slightly varying the style of a product or
making changes that really matter very little
to the end user.
It is at this juncture that hybrid products
emerge from reusing already manufactured
objects, or processes used in their production
(moulds, for example). Something already in
existence is used to create something hitherto unseen. With an extremely creative eye,
the designer discovers an infinite number of
unknown objects and blends them together
to create truly useful products.

Street furniture by ALICER-ITC.

This line of street furniture presents
a system for constructing various
elements using rejected ceramic
material as the main raw material.
The system creates furniture with
different uses, from a seat to a
plant pot or a bollard, depending
on where it is to be placed, its size
and its final shape. The last piece
of every element can be adapted to
the habitats in which it is located.


Clutter Shelf by Chris Kirby.

Shelving system inspired by
and constructed on disarray
that can also be reconfigured
in the production stage and is
easily stored.

Bootleg by Nadadora
for Sagen Ceramics.
Hybrid vases made using
different moulds.

Factors driving the trend

Basik & Raw


Trends like Basik & Raw cannot be understood without examining the significant changes that society has undergone in recent
years, and the effects of the financial slump
on its citizens. Broadly speaking, a negative
feeling towards consumerism has emerged
that has spawned a number of different attitudes. On the one hand, we have seen how
some consumers are choosing functional
products such as those in the Everyday Solutions or The Essentials trends, or they have
gone back to traditional values that offer
security such as the case of New Classics or
Sublime by Hand.
On the other hand, a more extreme response to the socio-economic situation has
thrown up more critical proposals aiming
to explore viable alternatives that depart
dramatically from previous paths and that
respond to the weariness with consumer
fever. Every society clings to a myth by
which it lives. Ours is the myth of economic
growth. For the last five decades the pursuit
of growth has been the single most important policy goal across the world. The global
economy is almost five times the size it was
half a century ago. If it continues to grow at
the same rate, the economy will be 80 times
that size by the year 2100. (Tim Jackson.
Adbusters 84. Nihilism and Revolution).
We are therefore witnessing one of the
psychological effects of the economic crisis,
as the social psychologist Ismael Quintanilla explains: fed up with the predominant

lifestyle (these consumers) are looking

for new alternatives based on the maxim of
consuming less by adapting their purchases
to a new fairer and more responsible sense
of need. This is precisely the reflection
that lies behind the Basik & Raw trend,
the understanding that we are living in an
unsustainable financial and manufacturing
system, but with the conviction that changes can be made through design.

Latifa by Anne-Ccile Rappa.

Lamp made from recycled polypropylene bags.

Boxes shelving
unit by Kompott.
Shelves created from
interplay of the new and
the old, by reinterpreting
a wooden box to create
a simple storage system
based on the traditional way of assembling

Zipfre by Nils Holger


M Lamp by
Ana Kra.

Presence in the markets

Basik & Raw

Compared with the Manifesto trend from

the Habitat Trends Report 08/09, Basik &
Raw is much more approachable: in addition to its a social message, it also offers
solutions and presents alternatives that the
markets can adopt, particularly at a time
when consumers are demanding this type of
This trend is mainly seen among young
independent designers, since it has a highly
creative side that is particularly appealing in
that it invites designers to do things differently. These designers include Apparatu,
Atelier 522, Mark Braun, Luc swen Designers, Recession Design, Vladimir Spasojevic, Hundreds Tens Units, Jaek Wang Lim,
Samuel Ptience, Eric Ku, Gauthier Poulain,
Sylvain Willenz, Alex Bradley, Studio
Dustdeluxe, Johanna Landin, Bonna+Rappa,
Mart Guix, Curro Claret, etc.

shops, art related events, etc., which is to

be expected given the creative focus of this
type of product.
However it is the Internet, and particularly
social networks, that provide the communication and distribution channels most
commonly used by firms involved in this
trend. This should come as no surprise,
since it is the new generation of firms and
independent designers that is taking this
trend forward and its products are aimed
at a relatively young target audience, all of
whom can be regarded as digital natives.

Some firms, such as Muuto and ABR Produccin Contempornea are also launching
collections or products based on this philosophy.


Bell Light by

Interior design projects are also applying

the trend as a highly creative option and
an appreciation of the basic, such as the
Nothing office in Amsterdam designed by
Alrik Koudenburg and Joost van Bleiswijk.


While it is true that conventional habitat

distribution points offer very little in this
line, products can be found in alternative
circles such as parallel design fairs, museum
Mondrian by Nikolaj Lorentz Mentze.
This simply expressed lighting system
can be assembled in a number of

Other references
Ferrn, G.; Barrero, G. Article
Vuelta a la esencia DXI 36.


Thinking the Unthinkable:


Biennale Internacionale Design

de Saint-tienne:
Christiane Hoegner:
Chris Kirby:

Sagen Ceramics:
Ana Kra:
Nikolaj Lorentz Mentze:

Mind the Green

NG Design:

Gaetano di Gregorio:
Annececile Rappa:
DM Depot:
Jethro Macey:

Basik & Raw

Sebastian Herkner:
Curro Claret:
Mart Guix:






Decorative objects



Interior design




Level of presence



Textile research by Kate Goldsworthy.

Textile research project by Kate Goldsworthy, supported by the Arts and

Humanities Research Council (AHRC),
The Materials KTN (MADE), TWI
(Cambridge) and Textile Environmental Design (TED). Goldsworthy aims
to create textiles that continue as
mono-materials, designed for forward
recycling, by developing new finishes,
particularly using laser techniques
with synthetic polymers, since the
traditional manufacturing process
normally mixes materials from various
cycles, thus hindering the subsequent
recycling process.

the Green

Concern for the environment remains one

of the main issues in all spheres due to the
widely held belief that the problem will get
worse in the years ahead. According to the
sociologist J. F. Tezanos, in the short term
a decade the experts paint a picture of
megatrends and predominant global problems chiefly characterised by environmental
deterioration and climate change.
The challenge facing design is not only to
make what we already have more efficient
(reduce, reuse and recycle) but to suggest
paradigm changes to how we are doing
things, which requires new ways of thinking.
This invites us to reconsider our modes of
production and reinvent social practices to
make them sustainable. It is not enough
to consume less, to do as little damage as
possible, but rather to do things in a different
way. J. Thackara, eco-design expert, states
that we have to look back and acknowledge
practices learned by other societies and in
other times. The key question is not what can
I do?, but what has solved similar problems
in the past? How can we learn from their


success? (Catalogue of the Biennale Internationale Design, Saint-tienne, 2008).

Cradle to cradle:
McDonough and Braungart use this
principal to explain how products can
be designed in such a way that from
their conception, they can provide the
raw materials for something new once
their useful life has come to an end.
They may be biological nutrients that
can easily be returned to the water or
the earth without leaving behind synthetic or toxic materials. Or they may
be technical nutrients that continue
circulating as pure valuable materials
in closed industrial cycles rather than
being downcycled into lower quality
materials with a secondary use. (Source: Braungart M., McDonough W.
Cradle to cradle. Remaking the way we
make things. North Point Press, 2002.)

Other theories such as Cradle to cradle*,

Dreamtelligence* or Co-design* encourage
us to think in a different, much more creative way, towards a shared future beyond
the concept of sustainability we are already
familiar with. We need to find practices and
processes that are not only less damaging,
but that benefit the individual, society and
the environment.
It is important to bear in mind that sustainability no longer has to be ugly, simple or
crude. Up to now there has been a demand
for all consumer goods to be sustainable,
regardless of their aesthetic. The difference
now is that we want products that are good
for the environment, individuals and society.
This idea no longer has to be transmitted
through the products external appearance,
but rather through transparent and above all
reliable communication.

Global problems and economic
uncertainties are forcing us to think
beyond the logical, and to use our
imaginations and intuition to identify
visionary solutions for problems such
as climate change, food shortages,
global poverty, energy shortages,
etc. () The age of Dreamtelligence
calls on all aspects of the imagination
and draws on the creative spectrum
to envision our way out of these
problems. This is why the movement
is being driven by artists, designers
and storytellers alongside scientists, academics and philosophers.
(Source: Viewpoint 25: 44 -57)






Co- service


Seed Safe by Mart Guix for Alessi.

Photo: Inga Knlke / Riccardo Bianchi
Seed container in the form of a money
box. As the fruit gets eaten, the seeds are
saved until planting time arrives.

The co-design approach, designing
together, circumscribes an equable
space where design thinking and practice harness collective intelligence
Where stakeholders and communities of interest can contribute to
improving economic and socio-cultural
equity, while strengthening societies
enterprises and institutions, and
regenerating the environment.


Relay by Jean-Franois AIM.

System for carrying food, keeping it
cool and conserving all its properties;

it is also made from durable ceramic


Hot water bottle by Wendy Legro /

Shaping oral knowledge by Jihyun
Ryou. Photo: Ren van der Hulst.
These two projects from the Design
Academy Eindhoven present designs
conceived to change habits through
traditional knowledge and offer
solutions for conserving food, or bring
back older solutions such as the hot

water bottle. Both cases show how

design can help to reduce consumption
through daily activities that require
fewer resources, instead of developing
technologies that gradually reduce
energy consumption.

Rethinking and changing habits

the Green

The real challenge in tackling climate

change lies in social change, and it is in this
direction that experts from diverse disciplines are working. In the field of design,
A. Fuad-Luke, an expert in sustainable design and co-design, is devising new approaches to generate eco-efficient products
and services, and that also involve groups
of people, thereby instigating changes in
cultural, social and political behaviours.
Out of this context came the idea of Dreamtelligence and how collaboration between
people of various disciplines can bring to
light creative solutions to social and environmental problems.
According to J. Thackara, we are beginning
to understand that most of the elements
in a sustainable world are social practices
some of them very old that have been
learned in other societies and in other times.
(Catalogue of the Biennale Internationale
Design, Saint-tienne, 2008).

ning an environmentally-friendly product,

but of also generating a service around it.
For instance, it is not enough to manufacture sustainable bicycles; they must be made
available across the whole city through a public bike lending system or similar scheme,
to ensure they are used.
Design also has an educational and symbolic
role to play in encouraging and helping this
change in attitude to grow. Design makes
a commitment to the cause and offers its
services. Numerous products and projects
have emerged that contribute to raising
awareness about daily situations and habits
where a change in attitude is needed, such
as smart or green meters that help consumers see how much energy they use and be
more aware of how to cut down.

Compost Vase by Chris Kirby.

A porcelain recipient to collect
and compost food waste. This
product introduces a ritual into
the process of preparing and
eating food.

It is therefore not just a question of desig-



Verbena by Aznar Textil.

This quilt cover has the Made
in Green label, guaranteeing
that it has been made with
respect for the environment
and for the workers human
rights, and that it is free from
substances that are harmful
to health.

AquaCycle by Pontos from

Hansgrohe. System for recycling bath
and shower water using a patented
biological and mechanical process
free from added chemicals.

Cradle to cradle

the Green

This philosophy argues that a radically

different approach to products is needed,
in which we ask about their production, use
and eventual return to the natural metabolism (in the form of nutrients for the soil, for
example) or to industry (in the form of raw
Objects are thus designed according to their
natural life cycle, taking into account the
materials and resources they will consume,
how they will be used and how they will be
beneficially returned to the natural environment or reincorporated into industrial cycles.
The idea of conceiving a product that, from
the drawing board stage, takes into account
its entire life cycle and its reincorporation
into the industry prevents the appearance of
what are known as downcycled objects.*
Neither the materials nor the products included in this trend are harmful or dangerous
to users or the environment. Research into
materials and processes, and the incorporation of technological advances in products
is therefore an essential aspect of Mind the


A further issue to bear in mind is the inclusion in products and services of additives
that the user neither needs nor wants and
that may even be harmful or dangerous;
these are known as products plus.*

Bionictile by Ceracasa.
Cladding for facades in
urban areas that, through its
structure and composition, removes harmful NOx pollution
from the air. NOx is harmful
to people and animals and
is also partly responsible for
global warming and acid rain.

Downcycled objects:
Good intentions aside, your
rug is made of things that were
never designed with this further
use in mind, and wrestling
them into this form has required
as much energy and generated
as much waste as producing a
new carpet. And all that effort
has only succeeded in postponing the usual fate of products
by a life cycle of two.
Products plus:
As a buyer you got the item
or service you wanted, plus
additives that you didnt ask for
and didnt know were included
and that may be harmful to you
and your loved ones.
(Source: Braungart M., McDonough W. Cradle to cradle.
Remaking the way we make
things. North Point Press,


Green Living Kitchen by Ludovica and

Roberto Palomba for Whirlpool and
Elmar. This project stemmed from the
collaboration between Elmar kitchen
designers and Whirlpool, producers of
electrical appliances. Elmar uses wood
from certified local forests and has

Rainwater collector by
Frederic Ruyant.

carried out ergonomic studies to create

its furniture. Whirlpool focuses on reducing energy consumption, by among
other things, using the heat from the
refrigerator to heat the water for the
dishwasher, leading to savings of 24% in
the homes energy consumption.

Factors driving the trend

The factors behind this trend come from the
striking events taking place on a global scale, increasingly dramatic natural disasters
and climate change, which call for urgent
action at all levels of society.

the Green

A growing body of research is evidencing the

short and medium term consequences that
our current lifestyle may have (depletion of
resources, energy consumption, emissions
), not only for our health or the climate,
but also at an economic and political level.
Climate change will cause extreme poverty
in many areas and lead to the appearance of
failed states and authoritarian regimes, says
Antonio Marquina, co-author and editor of
Global Warming and Climate Change.

Notably, many people now routinely act in

ways they consider to be beneficial to the
environment. For example, recycling has led
to a fall of 26% in the use of glass in Europe
over the last 10 years. Although average rates of glass recycling stand at 68%, in some
countries like Switzerland or Sweden 95%
and 94% of all glass is recycled, respectively.
(Source: European Container Glass Federation.)

Importance of environmental impact in purchasing decisions

Product quality


Product price



Product brand

More important than...



As important as...

Less important than...

The 27 EU countries consider the environmental impact of the products

they buy to be very important (34%) or important (49%).


From an economic viewpoint, there is now

much debate about how profitable sustainability is and many professionals, backed by
real examples, have concluded that as well
as benefitting the environment, it can also
create wealth by saving costs for companies
and increasing profit margins. Thus, sustai-

nability is not presented as a value added to

the product but at an extra cost, but rather
as a cost saving that, in addition, meets
with the users approval. The paradigm shift
is significant.
Some experts point to the need for companies to take sustainability on board internally, and even go as far as stating that an
unprofitable company cannot last, but a firm
that is unsustainable will also be incapable
of surviving. (Diana Verde Nieto, director of
the consultancy Clownfish.)

My shower curtain is an eco

warrior Elisabeth Buecher.
Shower curtain collection designed
to raise awareness about overuse
of water. The shower head is fitted
with a sensor-timer that activates
a pump four minutes after the
water is turned on; the curtains
are then inflated, taking up all the
space in the shower and forcing
the user to leave.


In Luce project by Positiveflow.

A way of displaying how much
energy is being used by a particular group or area in order to raise
awareness among citizens about
their own energy consumption.
This information is projected by
artistic illuminated installations
onto landmark buildings in the

Presence in the markets

the Green

Scientific and technological breakthroughs

have led to the development of cheaper,
more environmentally friendly materials and
technologies. These advances, previously
limited to R&D projects for alternative energies and healthy or non-polluting materials,
are now being transferred to products in the
market such as electric or hybrid cars.
Additionally, citizens are increasingly aware
of environmental issues, particularly in
Europe, as can be seen in the latest data
from Eurobarometer. The environmental
question is now so important that it affects
the purchasing decisions of 8 out of 10 Europeans. For 34% it is very important and
only 4% consider it to be irrelevant in their
purchasing decisions. One of the factors
European citizens take into consideration is
the energy efficiency of the products they
buy, with rates of between 59% in Cyprus
and 85% in Germany. For European consumers therefore, respect for the environment
is an important variable when they acquire
a product and over 40% consider it to be as
important as product quality or price.

Paradoxically, two very distinct profiles

emerge in the type of business or professional that is working in this line. At one end
there are large companies such as Philips,
Whirlpool or Soundpower, manufacturers of
products that have a direct link with energy
consumption. This firm typology represents
the flagships and drivers of the trend, since
the results of their research and development are subsequently applied commercially
and become accessible at all levels. At the
other end are the (usually) less well known
design and architecture professionals who
invest their ingenuity and commitment in
creating designs to benefit society and individuals. Designers like Jin Kim or Frederic
Ruyant create solutions to encourage changes in habits or in product life cycles.
Eco-design is also spreading among design
professionals (most notably industrial and
graphic design), who endeavour to apply
these principles in all their projects. Two
names stand out in eco-design at an international level, as mentioned earlier in these
pages: John Thackara and Alistair FuadLuke.



Off The Grid. Sustainable Habitat

2020. Sustainable waste. Philips.
In this project Philips envisions what
surfaces and coverings will or should
look like in 2020: they will no longer be
inert outer shells; instead they must be
capable of reacting intelligently to en-

vironmental changes. They will harvest

rainwater (recycled for domestic use and
filtered for drinking), trap sunlight (for
electricity and solar energy), harness
the winds (for air cooling) and channel
daylight (for illumination).

Other references
Flatters, P. and Willmott, M. Understanding the Post-recession Consumer.
Harvard Bussiness Review, July-August
Braungart, M. and McDonough, W.
Cradle to cradle. Remaking the way we
make things. North Point Press, 2002.
Fuad-Luke, A. The Eco-Design Handbook.
A Complete Sourcebook for the Home and
Office. Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2009
Tezanos, J., Snchez, M.R. Grupo de
Estudios sobre Tendencias Sociales.
Estudio Delphi sobre Tendencias Internacionales. XI Foro de Tendencias Sociales
Article (in Spanish) on the relationship
between climate change and the emergence of authoritarian states:
Europeans attitudes towards the issue of
sustainable consumption and production

the Green

Conducted by The Gallup Organisation,

Hungary at the request of the Directorate-General for the Environment. Flash
Eurobarometer 256
Universidad sostenible y rentable:
Clownfish Marketing:

Kate Goldsworthy:
Chris Kirby:
Frederic Ruyant:
Mart Guix:

Market keys



Positive flow:
Elisabeth Buecher:
Wendy Legro:
Ludovica y Roberto Palomba:
Elmar cucine:
Aznar Textil:






Decorative objects



Interior design




Level of presence



Customers can visit the

designer beehives on the
roofs of Fortnum & Mason,
London, where the firm
produces its own honey.

Prada Epicenter
(New York) fuses
point of sale with
a cultural centre.

Emotional bonds



In recent years, brands and retail chains

have heavily exploited the emotional component in an attempt to turn the consumer
experience, shopping or buying a product
into a memorable event for the consumer,
so much so that points of sale have introduced marketing techniques to enhance
the shopping experience. More than just
acquiring a product or service, points of sale
now incorporate entertainment and learning
features for their customers, what we know
as retailtainment.
The evolution of this phenomenon reaches
its zenith with the brand universe; here
brands design unique spaces or events to
strengthen the emotional bond with consumers by encouraging them to adopt a set of
core values that create a distinctive brand
personality and that, in the final instance,
let consumers identify themselves with the
brand. The brand personality in its entirety is difficult to imitate when it has a solid
foundation. For example, The Body Shop
brand is acknowledged as pioneering the
ethical approach in its business and, despite
the efforts of other brands to imitate this
position, The Body Shop is still considered
as the brand that owns this highly convincing space.
The creation of brand universes is an effective long term strategy: it takes time to create
a brand and make it grow, and therefore pro-

fitability also takes time to arrive, as Javier

Rovira highlights in his book Consumering.
Here, brands do not compete in a product
category or a market, but in consolidating
a brand space defined by certain values
that can be exported to other markets. For
this reason, the brand must be able to hold
onto its core values and its identity in other
product categories. One example is National Geographic, which has applied its brand
values (adventure, love of nature and the
human being, the thirst for discovery, etc.)
to its new stores.

Experiences and destinations

Brand universes are stores, points of sale or
any other exclusive space where the brand
expresses its personality and allows consumers
to interact with it and maximise the hedonistic
values of purchasing. Taken to the extreme, the
brand universe is a space where the consumer
can experience the ultimate expression of these
values, very often embodied in its flagship stores. The brand experience turns these spaces
into authentic consumer destinations, based on
the appeal of a unique experience.
Thus, brands aspire to be little short of religions, with legions of followers and even evangelists; likewise, their communications take

the form of divine messages and their points of

sale become temples where the consumer-believer engages in a transcendental experience.
Most international sector leaders (Apple, Nike,
Prada) follow a strategy of brand universe
creation; to this end a combination of techniques have been developed in recent years aimed at enhancing the brand experience: visual
merchandising and store ambience, multisensorial experience, the shopping ritual, introduction of events, spatial theming, storytelling
These techniques are also constantly evolving,
keeping the spirit of the brand alive and avoiding repetition of the consumer experience.

The multi-sensory experience

An important component of the brand
universe is the multi-sensory experience in
these spaces, where consumers are showered with a torrent of stimulants that may
lead to mood changes. Examples of the
multisensory experience can be found in the
stores of Abercrombie & Fitch (darkness,
high volume club music, beautiful young
model-assistants who constantly perfume
the clothes on display while dancing to the
music; the idea of a temple to beauty is reinforced by the theming of the stores with high
Greek-style columns and murals of muscular youths preparing to take part in various
sporting activities). Sense of smell is the
final frontier of sensory marketing, which has
led top brands to develop their own fragrances. Aroma triggers memory or increases the
perceived value of the product, and at the
same time contributes to creating pleasant

shopping atmospheres that influence the

consumers mood. Brand fragrances are of
course designed to express the brands personality and are an inspirational and stimulating factor for consumers. Some of the most
noteworthy examples are fragrances created
by the Parisian
Blaise Mautin for resort hotels Park Hyatt
Zurich (, a fresh
lemon aroma, and for Park Hyatt ParisVendme, Park Hyatt Washington and Park
Hyatt Dubai. Singapore Airlines ( also uses its own fragrance,
Stefan Floridian Waters, which permeates
the entire atmosphere, from the hostesses to the hot towels used on board. Other
relevant examples of aromatic marketing
applied to products or communication are
the scented laptop (Asus F6V Multicolor and
Asus F6Ve or Cinescent
technology to perfume cinemas, tried out
by brands such as Nivea (www.cinescent.
com). The other senses are also attracting
growing attention; a campaign by the ice
cream brand Hagen-Dazs introduced chocolate and vanilla flavours in Austrian postage
stamps, or the increasing number of interactive shop windows that use touch technology
on transparent holographic screens or LCD
touch monitors. Some environments involve
various sensory stimulants, such as Londons
fireplace showroom-cum-restaurant CVO
Firevault where the diner basks in the heat
of their stoves, creating an all-round sensory

Storytelling and storysupplying

Storysupplying is another tool that lends
coherence to brand universes: brands provide
consumers with experiences that they then
turn into stories to tell other potential customers. Storysupplying is one stage on from the
storytelling technique, in which the company
tells a story about a product (its origin, the
story of the workers behind the product, etc.).
In contrast, storysupplying involves greater
participation: consumers create their own
stories from their personal experience with
the brand. For example, Fortnum & Mason a
large store selling luxury goods (gastronomy,
furniture, household items) in the centre of
London, has designed beehives to produce its
own honey, and offers its customers tastings,
together with the option to visit the rooftops to
see the hives and watch the bees working.


Diesel Store Fuencarral,

simulates a moon-landing in
two of its Madrid stores to
promote the limited edition Fiat
500 designed by Diesel. The
Diesel brand also staged street
t-shirt sales as part of its Be
Stupid campaign, which also
involved choreography in the
centre of Madrid, billboards
and messages on its website,
all components of the brands
guerrilla actions for this year.

More information

Market keys

Rovira, J.: Consumering (Captulo 5: Pero entonces,

dnde competimos? Los espacios de marca). ESIC
Editorial. Madrid, 2009

Discreet luxury

Ritzer, G.: Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption. Pine Forge Press.
Thousand Oaks. 1999.
Russell Brumfield, C.: Whiff.
Lindstrom, M.: Brand Sense.

Touch and try



It is important for the consumer to have

the chance to interact with the product in
the store, thus maximising the consumer
experience at the point of sale. By trying
the product, the consumers bond with the
brand is strengthened and intention to buy
increases. This is a key factor for cutting edge
electronic and IT brands, in whose flagship
stores the customer can surf the Internet,
check emails, get help with user problems or
attend seminars on using programs, as in the
case of the Apple Store (London, New York)
or Samsungs Experience Store in New York.
Consumers are also actively involved in events
designed to encourage participation: magic
or painting demonstrations in Hamleys toy
shop in London, the stage in the Pull & Bear
store in Londons Oxford Street, where the
customer can play live with the stores band;
or Nike Town, where people meet for a group
run in Regents Park.
Product customisation also helps create a
unique store, such as the by-appointmentonly Nike iD service. Visitors can handle and
try on every new product the firm launches,
and is based on the theory that once the
customer has tried the product, intention to
purchase rises. What is certain is that half a
million people visited the Samsung Experience Store in New York last year, and as a
result, the firm estimates that sales rose by
around 55 million dollars. In the Samsung
Experience Store customers can try out all
the products, watch games on the television,
check their emails, make long distance phone
calls, but they cannot buy any of the products. The store also runs courses and seminars on using technological products. Sam-

sung has now announced the opening of a

further 11 stores of this type across the globe.

Cultural spaces
Another noteworthy development is the point
of sale-cultural space hybrid, in other words,
the doubling up of commercial and cultural
opening times, with events, presentations,
exhibitions, etc. This strategy is particularly
visible in the top of the range fashion sector;
examples include the Prada Epicenter in New
York, a brand universe where products intermingle with an art space, or the Louis Vuitton
store in Paris.
Finally, the evolution of pop-up stores is also
of note: brands recreate their own universe
at temporary points of sale for a limited time
period. What was initially a low-budget guerrilla marketing tactic (locations in suburban
areas, containers and improvised venues) is
now common practice among leading fashion


Small supermarkets provide

numerous examples of retail
sales points that combine the
concept of the traditional small
shop with design to create spaces
conceived under a new philosophy, as in the case of Fresh &
Easy Neighborhood, shown in the
photograph, which introduces the
concept of design in this sector.

The Southern Ocean Lodge

in Australia, designed by Max
Pritchard Architects, is located
on Kangaroo Island, a protected
conservation area off mainland
South Australia. Hotels like
the Tafjord Hotel in Norway,
built on top of a reservoir dam,
are set in completely unique,
off-the-beaten-track locations.

In other cases designers are

brought in to create a new space
conceived for users, such as the
French store Picard, designed by
Christian Biechaer. The supermarket FRoSTA, in Hamburg,
specialising in frozen foods,
has also opened a restaurant
where customers can see kitchen
staff preparing the same dishes
on sale in the supermarket.

Hidden luxury


Frugal, democratised luxury

A new dimension has emerged in the luxury
market, advocating a more thoughtful,
austere, or at least, less publically visible
type of consumer activity. Strategies are
springing up to help the luxury market
continue working without feeling it is being
criticised from outside.
As part of this new scene, top of the range
brands are developing methods that allow
their customers to go unnoticed. Firms such
as Prada, Bottega Veneta or Herms have
begun blending innovation, design, manual
finishes and attention to detail with this new
way of understanding luxury, marked by the
present socio-economic situation.
These changes in top of the range markets
have a vital influence, particularly on retail
sectors, where strategies to adapt to the
new way of understanding consumption
are emerging. A case in point is Net-aPorter (, a fashion
website specialising in retail sales of luxury
items, which offers its customers a range of
delivery options. The customer can choose between traditional delivery or discreet
packaging, which instead of the stores original wrapping paper, uses brown paper bags
to give the slip to curious neighbours and


Within this more discreet, simple aesthetic,

different types of strategies are adopted
such as the pursuit of authenticity and
experience over and above the status of the
luxury item brand. The no-frills* aesthetic has also spread in some sectors. This
includes products and services based on a
low cost philosophy, that introduce graphic,
industrial or service design as a variable to
add quality and experience to the product.
Firms such as JetBlue or Song have introduced the concept of style and comfort into
the low cost airlines sector. Passengers on
JetBlue flights have free access to satellite
television and over 100 radio stations. On the
Song in-flight menu, clients must pay for
their meal but they can choose from a variety of high quality brand products (salads,
organic, healthy dishes, etc.).
This evolution of the no-frills aesthetic
shows that very few products or services
can get by without some kind of management of the buying-consuming experience,
even if they are very low cost products.
These strategies help the firm to reach more
demanding customers, as well as those who
shun the usual practices of the traditional
luxury sectors. For this consumer profile,
Neutrogena has launched a line of cosmetic
products (e.l.f) that start at one dollar per
The classic example of how the nofrills aesthetic can turn cheap products,
commodities, into extraordinary products
with a highly studied and effective expe-

rience is Muji; this company sells products

for the home and office with a simple yet
impeccable design, at reasonable prices.
Buying expensive items that have no pretentions to becoming ostentatious status
symbols is having an impact on the low
cost sector revolution. Low prices, but with
design and experience, have spawned a
new product category that is fighting on two
different fronts and finding consumers from
different sides.

is a term used to describe any
service or product for which the
non-essential features have
been removed to keep the
price low. This choice is usually
reflected in an aesthetic of
plain, simple graphics.

Firms from a variety of sectors have begun

to implement this strategy, which generates
business opportunities by offering a cheap
product, but adding the value of design as a
key business factor. Examples can be found
in a wide range of sectors such as passenger
airlines, hotels like Yotel or Choice Hotels,
or car rental firms like Blueback that offer
competitive prices and extra services.


The Hotel Aire de Bardenas,

designed by architects Emiliano
Lpez and Mnica Rivera and
located in Navarre, Spain, consists of a series of blocks in the
Bardenas national park. The rooms have huge glass windows
with views of the horizon that
highlight the feeling of isolation
and solitude in this esoteric hotel (
In the same vein, the Graft Lab
Bird Island Project consists of
a series of living spaces in the
forests of Kuala Lumpur with
zero environmental impact.

Market keys

Here and Now


Luxury understood as authenticity

Numerous examples of this new phenomenon can be found in the tourism sector, of
which the key factor is experience. Distant
destinations providing luxury services for
holidays; hotels and remote locations where
one can spend ones free time away from
the tourists gaze. In most cases, the surroundings are the main attraction, remote
intimate paradises offering exclusive breaks,
far removed from the travel brochures and
the luxury cruisers docking in a different port
every night.


Undoubtedly, this situation has led consumers to seek out more moderate ways of
consuming that typically play down ostentation. Consumers with high purchasing
power choose discreet ways to spend their
money, in contrast to the ostentation that
may be encapsulated in the Dubai style.
This new luxury opts for simple, timeless,
plain aesthetics that reject the baroque style
of recent years.

More information
Ten Ways To Buy Luxury, Discreetly:
Discreet luxury:
Discreet luxury holidays:


Constant connectivity

Grupo Cuevas has created a

supermarket that provides an answer to the question, What shall
we eat today? The Aqu supermarket is built on a sound philosophy: transparency in prices and
weights of fresh produce, daily
healthy menus created by the
Chair of Nutrition at the University
of Vigo (Spain), printable menus,
the option to buy the ingredients
or the prepared dishes, and a range of local suppliers in Galicia to
reduce the logistic impact. It also
offers a line especially designed to
save time on the daily shopping.
This formula recognises the value
of the consumers time. Opened
in 2008, Aqu reached the finals
in the retail innovation category
of the 2009 World Retail Awards.

In this new context, the mobile phone is the

leading support since it allows the user to
be permanently connected to any type of
information. Some phones also offer other
functions such as the iPhones GPS feature.
Augmented reality* technologies are being
introduced and enable any product or service
to be geolocated and provide an almost personalised service.

Information overload

Here and Now

The need to be connected

anywhere has led to numerous examples of making
consuming easier for users.
Baker Tweet sends information on Twitter when a
batch comes out of the oven.

We live in the information age; consumers

have more information available to them
than they can process, and purchasing decisions are taken rapidly. People have learnt
how to access information and products on
Internet whenever they want. A growing
plethora of on-line services offers a constant
stream of information 24/7.

The diffusion of services based on augmented reality shows the importance of

the on-line world and how it is increasingly
impacting on the off-line environment. While
just a few years ago two separate dimensions
could easily be distinguished, in the future
it will be more and more difficult to identify
where the real world finishes and the virtual
world begins. The interconnection between
the two worlds is growing and models from
one frequently transfer to the other. Businesses that begin on-line move across to
the real world, like Wikipedia for example.
Bertelsman is to publish a print version of the
encyclopaedia in a single volume in Germany,
which will take 50,000 entries from the digital
version; or the example of the video games
company EA and H&M, which organised the
Sims 2 H&M Fashion Runway Contest, an
on-line competition played with the video
game. User groups designed wardrobes for
their Sims avatars. The winning design was
used to create a collection of 1,000 units distributed in the firms stores in the US, some
European countries, Hong Kong and China.

Qualified information:
Alfons Cornella refers to the
tools to classify and separate
out redundant and unnecessary
information. [...] when Im in
a metro station waiting for the
next train, the information I
really need is how long I have
to wait. Watching a screen
with information about events
happening on the side of the
world (general news) isnt
going to make me less anxious
although it may entertain me
for a while.

However, excess information raises anxiety levels because it is impossible to discriminate among the avalanche of data.
The important thing in this situation is to
obtain qualified information* that helps us
to identify the best option from the many
available to us (Alfons Cornella, president of

the word is a combination
of transit and consumer,
someone who consumes on
the move. Transumer refers
to consuming during waiting
times when travelling, moments when the audience is
especially captive since there is
nothing else to distract them.

The introduction of ICTs in consumer products has led to a qualitative difference in

access to information. More important than
access to information at any moment is providing the right information at the right time
and in the right place, thus helping the user
to take decisions based on the information
he or she needs.


Bicphone by Bic.
Transumers* defines a
new social role where
enjoying and using (as
opposed to owning) is
the maxim. Accumulating experiences without
accumulating objects; this
type of consumer uses
formulas such as renting
or temporary use of objects or products. This is

the case of this telephone

from the well-known ballpoint pen firm Bic, which is
sold at a low price (around
49 euros) and is ready for
use with a charged battery
and 60 minutes talking
time. Objects like this
also provide solutions for
consumers who need to
be constantly connected.

Augmented reality:
this term defines a direct or
indirect view of a physical
environment in the real world,
the elements of which are
combined with virtual elements to create a mixed reality
in real time. It consists of a
set of devices that add virtual
information to the already
existing physical information.
(Source: Wikipedia)


U*tique Shop is an
automatic distributor of
luxury products. Its vending
machines sell products
selected by a team of
specialists. The machine
has a LED touchscreen and
a robot that dispenses the
goods immediately. It also
shows videos and can give
out samples of the product.
Photo: Michael Jacobson

Market keys

The consumer
at the helm

Here and Now

In the Habitat Trends Report 08/09 we

reported on the importance of social networks, clearly confirmed by figures such as the
number of Facebook users: over 400 million
active users, more than the population of the
United States. (Source: Facebook Statistics
on 4 April 2010).

Constant connectivity allows the real and the

virtual to be intertwined, giving rise to phenomena like virtual tourists, who spend their
holidays on-line, visiting the digital versions
of famous buildings and landmarks. Currently
5 million people make virtual visits on Internet every day (Peru Internet and American
Life Project). This technology gives users
immediate access to culture without moving
from the comfort of their own home.



More information
Ubicuidad (Alfons Cornella):
OFF=ON: is a
meeting place for consumers and firms where
both can ask each other
questions, put forward
ideas, clarify doubts
and share experiences.

The TCHO Beta Factory Store

(San Francisco) chocolate manufacturers launched a line called Tcho 1.0, created after 1026
iterations following customers
suggestions. Taking software
manufacturers beta versions
as an example, the beta attitude implies that the product
is a process that consumers
can review and improve.

Co-creation markets

The consumer
at the helm


One aspect that has altered the face of

consumption in recent years is the growing
consumer interaction with products and
brands. The consumer is no longer a passive, accommodating agent, a receiver of
companies offers, but someone who actively participates in the companys processes
and products. The chance to participate and
influence a product or service has now become an integral part of the larger dimensions
of the companys offer, so much so that the
consumer is increasingly taken into account
by firms.

Connecting firms and users

The increase in consumer power (power
to act, to create content, to influence a
product, to determine or insult with rampant potential in cyberspace ), has made
firms realise that they need to establish a
permanent conversation with their consumers. If they are to get the true feel of the
market and respond to consumers, companies must follow up the comments left
on the web, because their future business
lies in the credibility of what the consumer
says about them on Internet. Tripadvisor
( gives hotel, restaurant or other tourist business managers the
opportunity to respond directly to comments
users publish on the web about their stay or
visit. Similarly, Yelp ( enables
small traders to respond directly to private
individuals. Bazaarvoice (www.bazaarvoice.
com) also enables contact with the author
of a negative comment. In this vein, firms
like Dell and Starbucks have set up their
own mechanisms to talk with consumers

The marketing guru Seth Godin claims that

the future of marketing lies in nourishing
connections and facilitating communities;
for the moment firms must forget profits, not focus directly on sales, and work
towards enriching their clients lives. This
does not mean they should abandon all
their business methods in favour of altruistic
activities; rather they should move towards
a philosophy that benefits both parties. This
way of working, based on providing useful
services and content for consumers, is not
so much a tactic or a tool, but more a marketing approach that reflects a new way of
understanding marketing.
However consumer participation does not
stop at conversation; it also affects the
companys processes. Growing consumer
participation calls for an overhaul of the
way business innovation is handled. In its
most extreme form this is represented by
user centred innovation*, a term coined
by Eric von Hippel. This type of innovation
is possible thanks to the existence of lead
users who know the products inside out and
explore the limits of the products functions.
These users may even reinvent a product
to improve it or meet a need that not even
the manufacture was aware of. This kind of
innovation is commonly seen in electronic
consumer goods, which attract lead users.
Some of the companies that have put this
kind of innovation into practice are Lego
(one of their most celebrated toys, Mindstorm, came from a robotics research group
who were asked to apply their knowledge
to a Lego brick), Procter&Gamble (with
their Connect + develop initiative) or the

Linux open operating system. In all these cases the firms have capitalised on
crowdsourcing* as an emerging value to
solve problems through a collaborative
approach. In the same vein, Henry Chesbrough coined the term open innovation to
refer to innovations based on contributions
from outside the firm (such as Inno-Centive,, the first global open
innovation community that brings together
ideas from engineers, professors, scientists,

User centred innovation:

Eric von Hippel introduced this
term in his book Democratizing
Innovation, based on the idea
that what drives innovation is
the consumer who, thanks to
the new technologies, has an
ever-growing number of tools
with which to provide solutions
for the market.

this term was coined by technology magazine Wired writer
Jeff Howe and editor Mark
Robinson. In the same way
that outsourcing sends work
out to external firms to reduce
costs, crowdsourcing poses
a problem and rewards the
person or people who come up
with a solution. (Wikipedia)


Market keys

for simplicity
Images from inside the Globetrotter store in Cologne
(Germany), with an artificial lake where customers can try
out the canoes.

Co-creating value

The consumer
at the helm


Value co-creation occurs when the doors

to the firms processes are opened up to
the consumer. The interaction between the
individual and the firm generates value, not
only monetary value or the value of consuming the product or service, thereby creating
benefits in both directions. Co-creation takes
various forms, but in all of them consumers
play an essential role. It is not simply a
question of people interacting or experimenting with the product, but rather that they
influence its creation or its delivery (such is
the consumers power that they can even
decide the price of a service, as in the case
of the no-price winereiss restaurants in Berlin, where customers leave one euro when
they arrive and pay what they consider to
be a fair price when they finish their meal).
Handing over power to consumers and letting them into the firms internal processes
is now a common strategy. Consumers can
play an active part in any of the firms processes and by opening their doors, firms can
refresh their product or service differentiation: consumers can take part in developing
the product (, in generating
publicity ( or even in the manufacturing process (Tcho Beta).
Points of sale also give the consumer more
power and stores are introducing ways of
experiencing the product at the moment
of purchase, even for durable or specialist
goods. Globetrotter (Cologne, Germany) is
an adventure sports shop with a focus on
experience: the centre of the store houses
a lake measuring 240 m where customers can try out canoes; they can also test
waterproof equipment under a shower and

winter outdoor materials in a cold chamber.

Similarly, Adrenalina is an extreme sports
store in Florida (United States) with a surf
simulator that makes artificial waves for
customers to try out wakeboards (small
surfboards) at the point of sale. Participation
can also be a focal point for the customers
visit and for the stores business; this is the
case of Fashionology, where girls design and
create the accessories for clothes during the
purchasing process, generating a unique
experience based on co-creation.


More information
Eric von Hippel. Democratizing Innovation. 2005.
Downloadable with the authors permission at
Jeff Howe.
The Rise of Crowdsourcing (documental).

The new Osram packaging

design helps consumers
to decide on the right light
bulb; the symbols on the
front of the pack show at a
glance the energy-savings,
the useful life the bulb, and
the colour, brightness or
intensity of the light. The
differences between bulbs
are easily seen and the
consumer can make a quick
decision about which product
is right for his or her needs.

Procter & Gamble has launched

a range of quality foods at
reasonable prices for customers
who want simplicity. The
packaging also complies with
demands for less fuss to make
purchasing decisions more
straightforward. Simple illustrations and fonts, and primary
colours that emphasise aesthetics through the simplification
and streamlining of elements.

Back to the essence

for simplicity

One of the consequences of greater consumer rationality is that many people now
feel overwhelmed by the number of choices
at points of sale, by 24/7 connectivity and
by the constantly present opportunity to
acquire things.
As the economists Flatter and Willmott
explain downturns are stressful and typically increase peoples desire for simplicity.
Throughout the beginning of this century
we have started to see signs of this market
key, represented by John Maedas Laws of
Simplicity and with clear exponents like the
Apple iPod or the magazine Real Simple
from the Time Inc. group.

The tyranny of transparency

Harvard Business Review, simplicity is a
trend that accelerates in times of economic
crisis and will grow further in the long term
due to a change in consumer habits.
This simplicity demanded by consumers has
immediate consequences for firms, particularly where they have direct contact with
their users. For example, consumers place
increasing importance on communication,
having the necessary information and focusing on what is really important. The consumer is used to accessing information simply.
Prime values are transparency and clarity of
information both in the way the message is
expressed and the product setting.

According to the study Understanding the

Post-Recession Consumer published in the

Before the recession

for simplicity


Source: Harvard Business Review



Long term

Although transparency at the heart of the

firm has been a key factor for a number
of years transparency in terms of prices,
quality, opinions, standards the concept is
undergoing permanent widespread evolution. One issue is crucial in this evolution:
consumers capacity to influence not only
the markets, but also public opinion, local
and regional politics, how a brand is perceived, etc. The power consumers now hold
is decisive and has led to a major shift in
the role of each one of the market agents,
and as a result the rules of the game have
The phenomenon of transparency is exponential; although firms are becoming
more transparent, at the same time this
new company-consumer relationship has
added emotions, intentions and interaction
to the mix, and traditional transparency has
spread beyond its boundaries. Just as people
share personal information on Internet
through social networks like Facebook or
MySpace information that companies are
benefitting from they expect the same
behaviour from brands. Social networks are
another example of channels of communication with the consumer; today almost
half the users of social networks claim to
be fans or friends with a brand or a firm.

Transparency means companies have to

make an effort; they must ensure that consumers have access to the information they
want because they are participating more
than ever and demanding responses from
companies. According to a TNS report The
influence of Internet on purchasing decisions, 55% of customers look for information
from the manufacturer or the provider of a
service on the web.

Consumer participation in generating and receiving information has led to spaces on Internet where this information can be shared.
In recent months a large number of websites
have sprung up to provide consumers with
information about all types of firms and products. These platforms have shifted away
from traditional subjects (opinions on hotels
and restaurants, price comparisons for books
and electronic goods) to other sectors that
until recently appeared to be immune to the
transparency virus. Every category of product and firm, whether or not it is found in
the Internet arena, is exposed to the scrutiny
of consumers. Websites like RealCarTips.
com (, PriceHub
( or
( provide users with
information on prices paid for second-hand
cars and offer advice on where to get the
best deals when buying a vehicle.

Manufacturers of what may be

considered emotional consumer
products, like chocolate, do
not stop at printing information
about calories for the consumer
on the outside wrapper; RompiBollo also shows the calorie
count for each section so consumers know exactly how many
calories they are consuming
with every bite. RompiBollo
is an idea from Adieffe in
collaboration with Cinzia Curitti.

for simplicity

Market keys

The alternative

People want information, but they also

expect it to be relevant. For this reason firms
have to know what their users needs are,
since traditional objective product information is no longer enough.
This has led to the appearance of free
websites like StreetEasy, which help users
find property and rental accommodation
in New York and northern New Jersey. As
well as the standard information about the
product itself, such as price, area or number of rooms, the website allows potential
clients to search according to neighbourhood, building, school areas, taxes (rates
for the area) or travelling distance from a
specific place. The site also has tools that
enable users to contact the estate agent
directly, keep a record of searches, or receive
an alert when a property becomes available.
Information is given on contextual issues
that are not directly related to the characteristics of the property, but which are equally
or more important to the potential buyer.


More information
Post-recession consumer:
TNS Global:

Some retail chains are tailoring

their offer to the economic
downturn. Carrefour, for
example, has created a 1 euro
a day family menu for its
customers, who when they buy
the products the hypermarket
has selected, are guaranteed food for a week for four
people at the advertised price.


76% of all consumers do not believe that companies

tell the truth in their advertisements.
Source: Yankelowich Monitor
G.O.D. is a Hong Kong
store that gives away part
of its profits to charitable
organisations. It carries
products ranging from
big-name brands, through
creations by young
designers, to industrial
and handcrafted products.
Other examples are the
Stockholm Furniture
Fair or Merci in Paris.

Promotion action man for the

book by Seth Godin, famous
marketing expert, which
pokes fun at gurus by portraying himself in the figure.

The alternative

The pure cold truth

Free culture

Consumers know very well what marketing

is, they are aware of the strategies firms use
and they understand what objectives are
hidden behind these strategies. The figure
of the consumer-as-marketing-expert has
become so commonplace that numerous
advertising parodies can now be seen on
platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.

The consumer is used to a shopping philosophy that increasingly involves some kind
of bonus or additional benefit for customer
loyalty, not unlike the systems established
by large retail chains in the past. Consumers
are therefore even more exacting when making new purchases or trying new services.

The language traditionally used in advertising is no longer effective and there has
been a visible shift towards direct language
and a typically raw message. In other words,
it uses a clear, sincere language and messages with no ulterior motives.


The key is to communicate this transparency

through humour in ways that the viewer will
relate to and find amusing. Today, audiences
are constantly exposed to news from firms,
and moreover, many people follow what
happens in companies. In 2008, rumours
started to circulate about Steve Jobs poor
health; he refused to speak about it in public
since he considered his health to be a private matter. However, these rumours affected
Apples share price, which fell sharply at that
time. This situation even reached the point
where Jobs was rumoured to have died.
On 9 September 2008 Steve Jobs publicly
presented the new iPods standing before
a slide that read: The reports of my death
are greatly exaggerated. Only then was Jobs
able to draw a line under the rumours about
the state of his health.
To connect with the public, firms must be
able to use direct unflowery language that
is both amusing and dynamic. But this must

not just be a pose; rather this lifestyle philosophy must have a point of view, an opinion,
which the company must be able to get
across. Obviously not all firms and brands
will fit in with this philosophy, but it is true
that what previously was a somewhat outside the system posture is now becoming
an increasingly widespread way of thinking
and expression.
But not only language is important in connecting with this group of consumers, sceptics of traditional marketing strategies. New
tools must be created that are perceived as
useful based on the logic that both sides of
the equation will come out winning.

Social movements based on peoples generosity may offer a starting point for devising
strategies that will strike a chord with these
social groups. One example of this is Couch
Surfing (, a website
where users offer travellers a sofa for the
night. The company AirBed & Breakfast
applied this model to their business, which
provides accommodation and breakfast and
at the same time boosts local development
by helping people in an area rent free space
in their house while the firm takes care of
the paperwork.
This context encourages the creation of
products and services that provide additional benefits to their clients, who receive
certain immediate advantages related to the
companys offer. These incentives transform
the nature of the relationship between the
consumer and the company and economic
profit becomes a secondary motive in the
purchasing decision.
In New York, Smart Fortwo drivers can park
in all the Central Parking System establishments for half the price of other car drivers.
This is an example of projects and initiatives
that use strategies of generosity: giving
without expecting anything in return, but to
adapt to new consumer demands.

As platforms for the creation of social networks have emerged MySpace, Blogger,
Wordpress, Facebook, Friendster, etc. the
number of applications and widgets* that
go with them has grown dramatically. All
types of firms from a wide range of sectors
have taken advantage of this new fashion to
become suppliers of tools and services for
users. For example, Babycenter is an initiative from the Johnson & Johnson group that
offers information and help to parents, as
well as information about their own products
and is one of the most popular websites on
childcare and childhood on Internet. Since it
was set up in 1997, more than 100 million parents have visited and it has won numerous
awards. In the United States it reaches 78%
of all new mothers and now has versions in
seven different languages including Spanish.

In computing, a widget is a
small application or program
usually presented in small
files or documents. One of
its purposes is to allow ease
of access to frequently used
functions and provide visual
information. However, widgets
can do anything the imagination desires and interact
with services and information
on Internet; they can be eyecatching screen clocks, notes,
calculators, calendars, agendas, games, windows with
information about the weather
in your city, etc.

This new context has also favoured a spirit

of collaboration between different types
of firms who decide to join forces to create
projects that may interest and be useful
to the customers they have in common.
Adidas and Samsung have worked together
to create miCoach, a web-based interactive
personal training system.

Sample Lab opened its

doors in July 2007 in Tokyos
Harajuku district, as the first
tryvertising retail store. It is
only accessible to members
who pay a small annual
fee, and no money changes
hands for the products,
everything is free. Members
are regularly invited to try
out new products; they then
complete a survey and they
can take a number of samples home from each visit.

Market keys

the green model

The alternative

Tryvertising is another strategy that helps

to bring advertising closer to the experience
of the product it is promoting by locating
it in the right place at the right time. For
example, Ikea furnishes the rooms of the
hotel chain Etap, where guests also have
the option of buying the furniture. Senseo,
the Philips coffee machine, offers free coffee
to commuters in the metro stations of some
German cities.
Tryvertising is particularly successful in environments with voluntary captive audiences,
such as waiting areas, rest areas, business
centres or temporary work places. Hotels,
airports, offices or even cruises can be used
as contexts in which to apply the try-beforeyou-buy strategy. Firms must take samples
of their products to potential consumers in
the precise moment they want to try them
so they associate the experience with the
product; for example at the beginning of
a holiday when they are away from home,
they are much more likely to take up a new
consumer or user habit.

Marketing has even gone to the extreme of

giving things away for nothing or practically zero cost (freebies). An example is free
daily newspapers, now present in practically
all European countries in the last 10 years,
and in the US, Canada, Australia, etc. In
countries such as Spain or Portugal more
newspapers are distributed free than are
sold on weekdays and the sector leader, The
Metro, is read by 70 million people across
the world every day. This example shows
that consumers do not mind advertisements
when they get something in return. In this
particular case they are not charged for the
newspaper, which is financed entirely by
The freebie phenomenon has become so extensive that thousands of Internet websites
inform users which brands are giving away
free samples. It has spread to all types of
businesses and sectors, from phone calls
thanks to Skype, to completely free flights.



More information
Rise of the neo-hagglers:
Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business:

It is about both ecology and

economy we are increasingly
finding them both playing off each
other in powerful ways

We are at the early stages of the biggest business movement in the

history of the world and advertising is playing a larger role than any
other time in history. Messaging has to be part of the solution. You need
to find ways to use the skills you have in abundance to communicate the
Al Gore, former

David Douglas,
Vice President of Eco
Responsibility at Sun

US Vice-President.

The Toyota Prius has become a reference for sustainability in the automobile sector as a hybrid vehicle
that optimises energy consumption
and introduces an alternative energy
to fossil fuels. Numerous examples
of design oriented to sustainable
products in the car sector include
the electric sports car Tesla Roadster, the NmG (No More Gas) from
Myers Motors or the Nissan Pivo2.

The other way of consuming

the green model


The French philosopher and sociologist

Gilles Lipovetsky estimates that between 15
and 20% of consumers identify themselves
as alternative consumers*: they prefer ethical products, are interested in the conditions
in which the product has been manufactured
on the other side of the world, they limit
their use of packaging, seek out unconventional channels, substitute manufactured
products for handmade ones and so on.
The response from companies has not been
slow, although two contrasting tactics can
be distinguished: on the one hand, the use
of ecology in marketing messages for purely
commercial purposes, and on the other
the emergence of honest green marketing.
In the former, responsible arguments are
exploited as an accessory to marketing campaigns, but firms make no credible changes.
In the last two years advertisements for
all types of supposedly ecological products
have proliferated. However this type of
empty message has a negative effect on
sustainable marketing, which consumers
perceive as a fashion or a slogan with no
consistent attitude on the part of firms,
thus heightening feelings of mistrust and
scepticism. In this context, messages lose
strength and need to be renewed.

Beauty Engineered
Forever is a range of
sustainable cleaning
products whose
packaging bears no
resemblance to the
clichs normally
associated with sustainable products.

Ethical markets
The growing concern for environmental
issues across society has also led to a
change in working and business practices
towards greater honesty and environmental
and socially responsible behaviours. Social
marketing is helping to guide these new
strategies, based on ethical behaviour in
different markets.
Data suggest that there has been a significant change in consumers values: most
people want their behaviour to be perceived
as more ethical, responsible and sustainable. A recent international report, Havas
Media concluded that 81% of those polled
believed that a change in present lifestyles
was necessary. The growing activism in society over these issues is forcing businesses
to change their behaviour, which is reflected
through initiatives such as that of Wal-Mart
to reduce their waste emissions to zero or
their sustainable packaging programme.

New business practices and models are

constructed on both economic principles
and ethical practices. A new generation
of business people and entrepreneurs has
created new successful firms based on
these sustainable principles. The marketing
industry is precisely one of those at the head
of this new emerging advertising model.
This model must provide relevant, proven
facts, social and educational benefits, etc.
and its core elements must be collaborative,
active, transparent and committed. Various
campaigns now exist in this line, such as the
Global Cooling programme from Absolut,
through which the firm donates half a million
dollars to projects against global warming.
Another example is Nokias collaboration
with the Pangea Day film festival: this event
is held at the same time in different parts of
the world and aims to promote understanding and tolerance. On this day, Nokia gives
out mobile devices in schools and refugee
camps so that young people can make their
own films for the festival.
The challenge in developing this type of social marketing is to question existing models
and come up with new roles, practices and
standards within the advertising industry.
The solution lies in innovation and the

Nissan Pivo2.

creation of new bonds with consumers and

alternative forms of communication, as well
as renewing language in order to transmit a
message that turns its back on conventional
sustainability formats that have been repeated ad nauseam.
We have recently seen much visual reflection on the meaning of sustainable, and it
has also become a generalised stance for
firms and consumers alike, such that adverts
with an ecological message abound in the
mass media. The key lies in finding a green
message, but one that is different from the
rest, that shuns the conventional formats
which have been over exploited in commercial communication on a world scale. To do
this, the environmental clichs that consumers are gradually becoming tired of have to

values are inherent to the firms values, and

are recognised as such by consumers. One
example is Paper Mate, which has launched
a biodegradable ballpoint pen with recyclable packaging. This environmental philosophy links in with its blog (in Spanish) www. where
consumers are encouraged to participate in
creating the brands own Green Book.

The excessive use of visual language to

portray the environment is turning the
symbols of environmentalism into stereotypes, and thereby eroding their significance
to the point that they are no longer capable
of arousing any reaction in the viewer of the
There are, however, companies that manage
to get beyond consumer scepticism and
achieve enough credibility to set ethical
benchmarks in the market. In these cases,
the firm not only refers to the environment
or social responsibility in its message, but
also transmits the idea that some of these

Alternative consumer:
an individual who consciously
adopts consumer habits designed to reduce the pressures
of the consumer society;
consumers with a conscience
where the individual benefits of
consuming are contrasted with
the social effects of consuming


Corland Solar Powered

Bag incorporates a
flexible solar panel
that can charge electrical devices.

Socio-cultural keys

The value
of emotions

Ethical consumer icons

the green model


The design of sustainable products has

shifted from having little aesthetic value,
to levels of design similar to their higher
energy consuming counterparts. We are
gradually seeing how the value of design is
being incorporated into sustainable products, how the all too familiar clichs are
being left behind, and how new icons are
being created to adapt to todays society.
The essential step of acknowledging the
consumer can grant a product icon status
or make it a symbol of an alternative form
of consumption. In this way products can
represent emerging social values. As an icon
of sustainability the object represents an
idealisation, a manifestation of a collective
desire. In todays culture objects have become the icons of our aspirations (Jonathan
Ford, designer and co-founder of the design
consultancy Pearlfisher. StepInsideDesign).
This way of working is seen in firms like
Green & Blacks, producers of organic chocolate with a mission to create great tasting
quality chocolate. Sustainability is a vital
and integral part of the brand. The brands
environmental and fair trade attributes act
as proof of and support for its commitment.
Not only products can become icons of alternative consumption. Service and distribution
companies are also reorganising their business models around just causes. The most
outstanding example of this is in commercial banks; in recent years the concept of
the ethical and sustainable bank has grown
with the development of socially respon-

sible investment programmes. Examples

include Triodos Bank and the Banca tica de

More information
Producto sostenible:
Who Wants to Be Iconic? Designing Futures for Iconic
Brands StepInsideDesign:
Pangea Day:
Triodos Bank:
Banca tica de Badajoz:


What is really important is not

the product itself, but the way it is
perceived, conceived and used by the
person who buys it.
Ismael Quintanilla,
social psychologist.

The value
of emotions


The personal expression of


The illusion of rationality

In the consumer society, individuals need

to express themselves through the possession or use of products and services. The
intangible values embedded in products
and services have gained such importance
in the consumer society that any reversal
would be extremely difficult. In the words
of Ismael Quintanilla, although the recession has toned down its effect, the value
of the intangible and the importance of
personal expression through emotions are
still present in the society we have constructed: as individuals we do not only consume
products, but also their symbolic meaning,
the value of which is directly associated to
the capacity of a product (or a brand) to be
distinguished in the collective imagination.

Social psychology refers to the illusion of

rationality. Consumers consider themselves
to be responsible and extol the virtues of individual responsibility, ethical behaviour, spirituality, the inner quest, the cult of health
and quality of life. Information, together
with responsible, ethical, fair and beneficial
consumption are real intentions with which
to approach competent consuming.

The importance of emotional aspects to the

economy has been broached in the main
scientific contributions in recent years: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, has
become a bestseller since its publication in
1995, with over 5 million copies sold worldwide; in 1999 Pine and Gilmore published The
Experience Economy, in which they argue
that staging experiences is the key to a new
economics that would supersede the service
economy; in 2002 the psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman received the Nobel
Prize in economics for his work on decision
making under uncertainty that allows nonrational economic behaviour to be modelled.

However, reality is not always consistent

with these approaches and situations arise
in which compulsive purchases are made
and households accumulate debts that
they cannot pay back. The prosperity of the
economic cycle together with individualism
have consolidated hedonistic consumer
behaviours aimed at satisfying desires even
at the cost of future stability: 40 year mortgages despite hyperinflation in the property
markets, technological obsolescence in video
game consoles, mobile telephones, digital
technology, televisions, etc., exotic holidays,
easy access to credit, debt consolidation in a
single monthly payment with interest rates
of over 20% And on top of this, it must
not be forgotten that globalisation has also
accelerated the need to find arguments that
go beyond the tangible product to give the
consumer industry competitive advantages
in developed countries.

The efficiency of emotions

Before the recession, there was a clear trend
to replace the rationality of the necessary
with the emotionality of desire. The adverse
economic conditions have brought about a
shift in shopping patterns away from impulse
buying to more reasoned conducts, but this
does not mean that the emotional component
has disappeared. Our society is still first and
foremost a consumer society. At the present
moment there is a growing need to shop
more reasonably (bargain hunting, comparing
options, taking more time to decide, etc.),
but at the same time it is still emotional (it is
entertaining, it gives added value to shopping
as a leisure activity and gives the shopper a
unique experience, it defines the consumer in
the eyes of others, etc.).
The emotional component is now approached
from the point of view of efficient use of
resources: by companies in how they present
their products and by consumers in making
their budgets go as far as possible. Because
it takes years to create a brand personality
that transmits emotions to consumers, firms
that have committed to a focus on emotions
(senses, experiences, symbols ) continue to
follow the same strategy, although now more
efficiently (cost controls, tightening the valuefor-money ratio, etc.). Likewise, individuals,
in as far as they can, continue in their quest
for shopping sensations (although these are
now treats, exceptions to the general rational
consumer behaviour, or they take advantage
of moments of increased confidence ).

This desire for emotions is
directly related to the search
for authenticity. In the case of
photography, analogue cameras are re-gaining popularity
because of the effects they
can achieve which digital cameras cannot easily reproduce.

Lomography, a term taken

from the camera LOMO LC-A,
emphasises over-saturated colours, off-kilter exposure, etc.,
as personal, artistic features.

Camera model LOMO

Diana F+ CMYK

Socio-cultural keys

The frugal

The value
of emotions
Emotional intelligence
From a scientific perspective, the publication
of Daniel Golemans Emotional Intelligence in the 90s placed the biological basis of
emotions and their relationship with reason
and human behaviour firmly at the centre of
debate. Through this stream of debate, the
idea of a rational use of emotions has spread
and has since been associated with social
adaptation, health and professional and
educational success.

with the emotional issues that are part of all

aspects of life, including that of consuming
products. Therefore, although the motivations for buying are emotional, behaviour
may be rational because people think about
their choices and weigh up the pros and cons
of each specific decision.

The concept of emotional intelligence refers

to the ability to recognise ones own and
other peoples emotions, and also to the skill
in managing them. In todays new context,
people are managing their emotions by
recognising them and are thus able to deal

Camera model


More information
Daniel Goleman. Emotional intelligence. Bantam books.
Joseph B. Pine and James H. Gilmore. The Experience
Economy. Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage.
Harvard Business School Press. 1999.
J. A. Marina Torres.
El laberinto sentimental. Anagrama, 1998


Only 30% of luxury consumers display highly visible

consumer behaviours, but this will be the most
affected group and their spending will become more
Richard Baker, CEO of Premium Knowledge Group.

The frugal

Controlling consumption

Avoiding ostentation

The tradition of controlling conspicuous

consumption or the consumption of luxury
goods through legislation has existed since
the Roman Empire, as it is considered
harmful to society. However, these legislative practices were abandoned at the end
of the 18th century. Paradoxically, as classic
economists lost interest in investigating
conspicuous consumption, the motives
driving citizens toward status and prestige

In the midst of the present global sea change, luxury consumers are starting to show
a certain timidity in the choices they make.
They are beginning to shop more discreetly,
in response to the need to reduce ostentation and be more moderate. According to
the designer Marcel Wanders, Luxury is
now more hidden, disguised under a blanket
of innovation, intention and meaning. Before
it was just about spending money now its
about content, meaning and excitement.
The economic recession, affecting broad
sectors of society on a global scale, means
displays of ostentation are now socially
reprehensible, chastised and disapproved
of by others; consequently, we need to reexamine the culture of abundance we have
become used to in the recent boom years.

The recent economic recession has brought

this type of consumption into question and
has led to debates on differences in salaries
in free-market societies. In the international
context, we are beginning to see incipient
political proposals to reduce these disproportionate economic differences. In 2009
the US president announced cuts in the
bonuses paid to the directors of banks that
were receiving state aid, branding them as


Hillary Vallieres, a spokesperson for Harvey

Nichols, explains that products with the
highest sales today fall into a category
of discreet luxury. A lot of customers are
considering having less ostentatious labels,
especially given the current recession.
However, despite the present economic
climate, there are still some people who can
be considered affluent, with high purchasing
power, who attempt to hide their wealth
from the public gaze. According to Richard
Baker, CEO of Premium Knowledge Group,
there is going to be a trend of hiding behind

Luxury goes hand-in-hand with hidden,

private consumption, which abandons the
public sphere for intimate spaces, avoiding
the ostentation of wealth. This is not just a
question of appearances, but also a response to a change of attitude in society, as the
importance of values associated with impulsiveness, hedonism, self-expression and
the search for new emotions is declining
(Ismael Quintanilla, social psychologist).
Luxury frugality shows that the values
associated with buying top of the range
brands are no longer based so much on
ostentation as on the quality of the product.
The emphasis does not lie so much on the
brand as on the real quality of the product;
the purchase is justified by the uniqueness,
origin, authenticity or innovation of the product. According to B. Joseph Pine, co-author
of The Experience Economy, one of the keys
to this experience will be the very idea of
authenticity and a move away from the false
and fake to the real and genuine. Brands will
have to lend meaning to our lives; they will
have to impact the world in positive ways.

The Brick House,
London. Designed by
Caruso St. John. The
move towards a more
austere style is easily
recognised in architecture and interior design.

Socio-cultural keys

The multitasking

The evolution of luxury markets

The frugal

A series of psychological mechanisms

comes into play in consumers minds, even
when they are convinced of the rationality
of their decision. Although impulse buying
is on the decline, it is still present and as far
as possible, leads to shopping behaviour in
which the impulse is justified, characterised
by high sensitivity to the arguments related
to inherent values and beliefs (Ismael Quintanilla, social psychologist). In this case, the
set of values and beliefs may be sustainability, the origin of the materials, where the
product is made, the quality of the product
or service, etc.
Despite what now seems to be a catastrophic situation, it is reasonable to think that
the effects of the crisis will fade with time.
As the economy picks up and the situation
changes, this phenomenon is likely to dissipate since consumers of luxury products will
tire of a situation in which their consumer
behaviours are constantly controlled by the
fear of social recrimination. However, as the
phenomenon becomes popularised, it may
trigger a new way of considering the quality
of luxury products, a more sophisticated
market, in which the key will lie more in the
experience than in the prestige of the brand.

The economic situation will undoubtedly

have a significant effect on consumer patterns, but it will be concentrated in the short
and medium term, rather than the longterm, where the effect will be much lower
than expected (Source: Trendwatching,
Trend Report 2009). The marketing literature, particularly the extensive literature on
the recession in the final months of 2009,
reports that financial crises have followed
the same pattern for centuries. Once the
recession is over a new boom period begins,
which is then followed by a new crisis triggered by similar causes to the previous one,
from the burst of the Dutch tulip bubble in
the 17th century through the dotcom crash a
few years ago to todays construction industry and sub-prime mortgage crisis.



More information
NY Times:
Tras de Bes, F. (2009) El hombre que cambi su casa por
un tulipn. Temas de Hoy.

Wikitude Drive gives the

user directions to follow on
a real image captured by the
camera on a mobile phone by
augmented reality applications
that also allow the user to take
a photograph of an object and
send it to a localisation service
to find out what product it is
and where it is sold, and if it is
available, even buy it directly

The culture of immediacy

The multitasking

A new consumer is emerging with increasingly exacting expectations and behaviours.

The pursuit of immediate satisfaction is on
the rise: everything and now, both in the
search for and retrieval of information and
in everyday consumer practices. All of this
is led by what is known as the Multitasking
Generation*. One aspect of this M Generation to bear in mind is that most of them are
immune to traditional marketing strategies
because, according to the analysts, they pay
more attention to recommendations from
their friends and spend more time reading
blogs or watching videos on YouTube than
watching the television or reading the news
in the papers.
The Multitasking Generation is characterised by mobile and ubiquitous leisure. These
people are used to on-line services 24/7 and
fast easy access to information (3000 million
applications downloaded from the Apple
online store, according to company data). If
this access is not available, they frequently


Synthetic thinking
become frustrated and unsatisfied. They
have access to information wherever they
are through devices connected to Internet
round the clock (30% of Spanish young
people access the Internet from a mobile, according to the latest study from the
Nokia Trends Observatory ). An EIAA study
shows that 2.3 million Spanish people surf
the Internet on mobile devices, spending
an average of 5.5 hours per week to check
their e-mails (85%), to search for information
(82%) or to connect to social networks (74%).
Internet allows users to communicate in real
time across the globe and access all other
users and information stored practically
anywhere in the world, configuring what has
become known as the global village. Outdated information is no longer useful; what
matters is the instant in which it becomes

The 5 most popular on-line activities through mobile devices



Instant messaging

76 %

16 %


66 %

41 %

Sending/receiving e-mails

29 %

38 %

Website access

24 %

48 %


16 %

18 %

Source: Mediascope Europa. EIAA (European Interactive Advertising Association).

It is this access to information, and the

complexity involved in processing a large amount of data, that obliges users to
reduce information in order to minimise the
processing time and simplify it in order to
encourage synthetic thinking. According to
the social psychologist Ismael Quintanilla,
the abundance of information that we cannot process forces us to simplify reality to
one of its parts so we can understand it and
assume it more easily. One way of reducing
the complexity is by simplifying it through
synthetic thinking, which leads to transparent, direct ways of thinking with a broad
meaning. This way of processing information, synthetic thinking, enables us to adapt
to changes (because the information lacks
depth). This scant interest in thinking deeply
about issues causes the consumers mind
to act rapidly and with urgency; there is an
increasingly obvious need for permanently
available technology that allows objects
to be used quickly and intuitively with no
instruction manual.

munication media at the same time. This is

reflected by the fact that in Spain one in five
Internet users watches the television while
they are surfing. However, this does not
mean that their attention is equally divided
between the two; Internet captures greater
attention because it demands a more active

The Multitasking
The M Generation is the generation of digital natives who
were born into a digitised world
and interact with the new media such as Internet and video
games. These consumers are
known as multitaskers because
of their capacity to interact
with a range of different media
at the same time and carry
out different activities such
as chatting or watching a film
on-line simultaneously. Digital
natives bear the stamp of the
digital culture.

The craving for information and the readiness to take an active role enable individuals
to interact with a range of different com-


Adidas Micoach is a personal

training system. Users can
design a plan tailored to their
needs, and while exercising,
can receive real-time audible
coaching or listen to music.
The system measures and
records speed, heart rate,
distances, routes, etc., during
the activity.

Socio-cultural keys

Digital natives

The multitasking

Personalised service
These multitasking consumers not only demand direct and fast access to information,
but it must be customised, tailored to their
needs. These consumers have high standards and are fully conversant with the new
technologies. ITC-based tools are therefore
the most appropriate way of establishing
links with these users.

In this context, technological advances in

data visualisation offer a new way of relating
to users by presenting information in such a
way that it is closer to individual; one example is augmented reality which allows data
to be superimposed onto real-time images.
Different applications allow information to
be personalised so that practically every
application seems to have been created
expressly for the individual user.



More information
The Multitasking Generation:,9171,1174696,00.html

The PatientsLikeMe
website offers patients the
opportunity to manage their
own care and share information: patients can make
contact with other users
who have been through or
are in a similar situation
to share experiences and
advice. This platform allows
patients, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, medical
supply companies, research
institutions and NGOs to

The network society

Digital natives

In a society where individualism is an

increasingly important value, Internet has
opened the door to unexpected ways for
people to participate and collaborate. This is
particularly true for younger generations (20
to 30-year-olds) and will be even more so for
other digital natives*, the generations born
into an Internet world and for whom Web
2.0 has triggered a wave of social participation unseen in previous decades. The role of
Internet and digital technology is decisive in
social changes, and influences consumer lifestyles at all levels (personal relationships,
work, leisure, etc.).
Sociologist Manuel Castells coined the term
network society to refer to the social model
evolving today, mainly characterised by immediacy and acceleration, constant change
and living together in a globalised world with

collaborate. It is funded with

contributions from various
health companies that can
use non-personal data from
the patient community to
develop new treatments
and healthcare products and

Collective intelligence
its myriad realities. One of the consequences of advances in computing and the digital
era, which continues and appears to be a
long way from reaching any technological
ceiling, is that social and economic possibilities remain open and are expanding. The
concentration of the mass media (market
concentration, but also the concentration of
media channels in just a few hands) does
not stop it from having a very limited reach
due to fragmentation of interests, and it is
seen as a paradigm of an increasingly global
yet at the same time fragmented world.

In contrast to mass society (based on mass

production and consumption), the social revolution at the beginning of the 21st century
is leading to a relational society in which the
basic raw material is knowledge converted
into information and then communicated.
Knowledge is being redefined as increasingly less rigid and regulated and becoming
more intuitive, instantaneous and based
on personal experience. Plasticity is also
emerging as a new value since knowledge
is understood to be flexible and malleable
in that it depends on contributions from
people and their ability to extend knowledge
with further knowledge, thereby making it
somewhat unstable, mouldable and fragile.


But the final value of knowledge is its potential to be shared with others; it no longer
stagnates in libraries and manuals but
circulates among people. Collaboration is
gaining importance and if something cannot
be shared with others it loses meaning. It
is in this area that the Internet makes this
social revolution possible: the importance of
collaborative websites to construct knowledge and the appearance of alternatives to
the principal of private property such as
creative commons are shaping the rules of
the social game. The value of collaboration
is also based on the premises of democratic values: all contributions are important
to obtain a common construction, built
by everyone, such that any contribution is
welcome so long as it does not attack the
objective of the construction. Joint, democratic construction of knowledge (along the
lines of Wikipedia, Word Reference, etc.) is
spreading to other fields where proposals
are being made that affect products (furniture, decorative objects) as in the case of the website.

Digital natives:
these are people born into the
new techno-social environment
characterised by widespread
Internet use. In contrast to the
digital natives, a new class of
digital immigrants is coming
into Internet by means such as
the successive waves of digital
literacy. There is a certain
confrontation between digital
natives and digital immigrants
or foreigners, in the different
ways they perceive and use


A Second Life resident using

an ATM in the virtual world

The Vanity Ring displays

the number of times a
persons name appears on

Socio-cultural keys

The need
for rationality

The individual as a brand

Digital natives

The participatory society shows up todays

great paradox: collective individuality or, put
another way, the individuals dependence on
the collective to create his or her own identity. The participatory web, where people
have numerous contacts through social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), generates
its own forms of recognition.
Wired Celebrity Meter (http://howto.wired.
com/wiki/Celebrity_Meter), which allows
people to check how famous they are in
cyberspace, is a collaborative ongoing project that reports how many links a persons
name has on the web by analysing available
information in cyberspace (on social networks like Twitter or MySpace, by trawling other
peoples photographs linked to the name in
question, etc.).


In this way, personal knowledge, information and communication possibilities come

together to shape opportunities for economic development today. The key to this is to
make information valuable for people and to
use it to create consumer opportunities. Its
impact is obvious in, for example, the leisure
industries (the music business, digital photography, book publishing, etc.), where the
values of knowledge participation, collaboration and democracy are transforming late
20th century business models.
The social revolution is thus accompanied
by an economic revolution since the added
value of objects is being reinvented; it

no longer comes from those making the

offer, but from citizen-consumers themselves. The initiative is personal and is
generated by people, not institutions or
companies, to the point where individual
lifestyle can become a business in itself.
Examples include Everyday Models (individuals who rent moments in their life
to advertise products: on their clothes,
houses, cars) or DOmedia (creation of
communication channels using lifestyles to
advertise objects anywhere from yacht sails
and golf buggies to students notebooks).
Other initiatives based on the principle of
the consumer as business creator are Its
my scar (which makes customised pieces of
jewellery in the shape of a personal scar),
Hotel X (decorated by the guests themselves) or Ponuko (selling goods people
design or make themselves). In all of these
examples, individuals exploit their facet of
consumer-as-producer or even consumer-asmessage.


More information
Fumero, A. y Roca, G. (2007). Web 2.0. Fundacin Orange.
Castells, Manuel (2001). The Internet Galaxy. Reflections
on the Internet, Business and Society. Oxford University
Pascual, Mayte (2006). En qu mundo vivimos. Conversaciones con Manuel Castells. Alianza Editorial.

Practices like sharing or

exchanging are gaining ground
in society as alternative
means that help to rationalise consumption. Using
social networks or creating
groups on websites like, enables
people to use their vehicles more rationally. Some
websites compile events,
information and experiences
to help people share.www.

The consumer crisis

The need
for rationality

Todays economic situation is influencing

shopping behaviour patterns to the extent
that the values on which consumer patterns were grounded in recent years, typical
of post-modern consumption, have been
sidelined to make way for other values like
rationality or responsibility.
Consumers tend to readjust their spending in circumstances of changing income,
whether positive or negative. According
to social psychologist Ismael Quintanilla,
economic uncertainty and the fear that the
lifestyle enjoyed in recent years may not be
sustainable lead to adaptation or adjustment
conducts (in other words, by increasing
income to modify the influence of environmental conditions, or reducing spending by
changing consumer habits).
One of the effects of the economic situation
is that excesses are sidelined. Consumers
are more prudent in their spending and aim
to satisfy their most basic immediate needs,
putting on hold those they consider to be
luxuries or superfluous.


Most people consider renouncing a desire

(valuable, substantial or prestigious) as a
repression of emotions and a restriction of
freedom. This attitude can easily be identi-

Making fewer, smaller purchases, but over the

month they actually add up to more. Obviously
this mostly applies to mass consumption goods,
such as food, but also to products that could be
controlled in such a way that the perception of
spending is lower.
Andrs, 2009: 46

Efficient decisions
fied by what is known as the tunnel effect*.
Sometimes we give in to our whims, to
save money by buying a low price bargain
and occasionally to give ourselves a luxury
that we can afford. This is what is known
as bipolarisation in consumption: relaxation
versus extreme experiences, frequent mass
consumption versus the search for individuality. By seeking well-being without excesses,
the consumer attempts to rationalise consumption, although this rationalisation may
be no other than a rationality forced upon us
by the compensatory effect of the recession:
we adapt consumption to ameliorate the
effects of a drop in available income.
Another effect of the present economic situation is the increase in shopping frequency: zero stock shopping, more visits to the
shops, but buying less, in smaller quantities
or spending less. Consumers are all too
clearly aware of prices and offers and the
search for cheaper solutions, and take decisions that attempt to make the shopping
process more rational and objective.

The wastefulness of post-modern consumption that has led to mounting debts in

pursuit of a standard of living that brings the
consumer acceptance and admiration in the
community has given way to more rational
consumer patterns. Post-modernity may be
left behind, leaving out the hyper reality that
surrounded objects, to move on to a consumption focusing on the intrinsic functional value of the product. The return to the
essence of functionality is also spreading to
the emotional domain.

Consumers try to manage their resources

rationally. This is also noted in Internet, with
the proliferation of websites and blogs like, offering advice on how to on maximise
consumption rationally both in the shopping
basket and in the everyday use of objects.
It is not only consumers that are taking
rational consumption on board; aware of
the need to optimise resources, brands are
also using this argument in their marketing
through media such as Internet.

A study by the Omnicom Media Group

reveals the existence of the smart shopper,
a consumer who wants to continue buying
his or her favourite brands but not at any
price. This study shows that 70% of Spanish
shoppers will search for the best price before buying their usual brand. Other studies
carried out in the last year have detected an
increase in the purchase of own label goods
(50% of Spanish consumers, twice the European average, claim to buy more own label
goods than before).

The tunnel effect:

In any crisis, we initially tend
to deny the situation because
we do not want to accept it;
next comes a phase in which
we focus our attention entirely
on the crisis and are unable to
see beyond its possible consequences. This is generally accompanied by a feeling of loss
of control, tension, fear and
stress. In this context decisions
are made on a short-term basis
(the tunnel effect). Conflict
appears in how they may
be solved, accompanied by
euphoria (its been resolved) or
depression (itll never be resolved). Economic behaviours are
expressed through transactions
between people and their environment. The economic conditions, together with individual
and social differences, give rise
to different perceptions and
psychological processes in the
face of the crisis.


More information
Superando la crisis:
Omnicom Group:

Socio-cultural keys




Internet has provided a platform

for numerous groups addressing
the need for consumerism to
take more of a back seat in
peoples lives. While for decades
anti-consumerism focused on
environmentalism, now it takes
numerous forms as can be seen
in proposals like Makea tu vida.
The photographs show the case
of Makea, a brand that does not
sell anything, but champions
collective intelligence and
creativity and attempts to make
useful objects out of what the
consumer society has rejected.
It breaths new life into the
slogan do it yourself, extends
the useful life of products, goes
back to know-how and breaks
with wasteful and empty

REHOGAR exhibition organised by Makea Tu Vida

and Galera Magatzems
Wall & Video.

Anti-consumerism consumption


The financial and economic crisis has

provoked different reactions to the present
economic system. The crisis has led to a
general fall in sales, whether due to reductions in household income or because some
sectors of society have decided to save more
as a preventative measure.
Consumption is saturated with motives
that go beyond the functional or emotional
values of products and services, reaching
a meta-preferential level where consumer
decisions are based on social and human
values. Thus, what is sought is a type of
consumption that is consistent with the
personal value system.
One phenomenon that is growing with the
recession is the conscious and contrary
behaviour of the market system. Weariness
with consumer fever has led to personal
behaviours oriented to greater frugality and
less ostentation. What is initially motivated
by need in the context of high debt levels
and loss of job security eventually spreads
through a kind of copy-cat process. Behind
these positions lies the need for greater personal satisfaction, aside from the happiness
supposedly conferred by objects and the act
of consuming.


Drum & Wash.

Illuminated caster
stool made from
washing machine


The relaunching of consuming

While recent years have seen a rise in the
percentage of impulse buys and purchases
based on the emotional characteristics of
the product, since the turning point of the
recession, consumer decisions are now
more rational. This trend will continue in
the medium term at least. There are various
reasons for this behaviour; firstly it provides
security based on saving, but there is also
a feeling of rejection of traditional ways of
The social psychologist Ismael Quintanilla puts this very clearly: some groups of
consumers, particularly those under 30 years
old and many others that are dissatisfied
with the predominant lifestyle, and feel a
certain ennui and discontent, are looking
for new alternatives based on the maxim of
consuming less by adapting their shopping
to a new more equitable and responsible
sense of need; and they are not doing this
out of economic necessity but from a new
sense of personal interest or social conscience.

This feeling is growing, although anti-consumer fervour is not always due to lack of
economic means: Why accept the intrusion
of advertising in ones private life? Why
allow oneself to be manipulated on issues of
when and where to shop? Why follow fashions? Unable to escape consumerism, the
alternative consumers look for alternatives
within the market itself.
These alternatives are expanding: fair trade
consumption, responsible consumption, sustainable consumption, social consumption,
ethical consumption, critical consumption,
ecological consumption all of these start
with an attitude that permeates consumer
decisions; decisions based on an evaluation
of the way manufacturing companies behave and the processes used in the production
and distribution of the products.
Within these behaviours we find values
associated with a reasoned change in how
people consume. Users are looking for
products that are sustainable, that encourage local development, that are produced by
firms with ethical and committed behaviours
offering quality products with a low environmental impact and that resolve problems in
the best possible way. In summary, consume less but better.

Changing attitudes
Moreover, the reduction in average income
has led to greater price sensitivity, leading
shoppers to look for cheaper alternatives in
their shopping basket, and buy fewer products more frequently (Ismael Quintanilla).
They look for alternative ways of consuming
based on new business models in which
consumers play a part in an attempt to
reduce costs, but also to create a system
that listens to their opinions and provides a
better response to their own needs.

Coat pegs made
from old irons.

These fundamental changes are not limited

only to consumption, however. In general,
a trend can be seen in changing attitudes towards work, pleasure and free time.
Linked to a growing interest in quality of life,
attitudes to work have also changed; work
is no longer central to peoples existence as
they now seek non-economic recompense,
such as prestige or free time. Interest has
grown in sports and recreational activities,
in physical well-being and health (Ismael
Quintanilla). We are therefore witnessing
a moment of change in certain institutions
and ways of life, in which users now feel
strong enough to have an influence. This
feeling of legitimacy to change ways of
working, of consuming, of leisure, etc., are
grounded on the power that ICT tools have
given people. These new accessible and
participatory communication media have
granted anonymous individuals the opportunity to influence public opinion and to
transmit their message beyond the formal
structures of citizen participation, by multiplying the moments for and the quality of
that participation.


Never Stant.
Shelving created from the
inside of a fridge door.

Lamp made from a
hairdryer and a tree branch.

Socio-cultural keys



There are moments when people are unable to adapt to a new situation, for different
contextual or personal reasons. When this
happens, the system reacts by generating
tension, impotence, defencelessness, lack
of esteem, frustration and fear. (Ismael
Undoubtedly, in todays social climate, the
fear, stress and defencelessness brought
about by the economic situation is casting
a shadow over many sectors. This environment has given rise to various highly critical
stances on the economic system which
many people regard as unsustainable. The
relaunching of capitalism has led different
social groups to seriously question whether
the ways we consume are the right ones.
Some initiatives in response to this include
exchange or bartering, not based on profit
for the seller but on the advantages for both
parties involved. For the consumer, the aim
is to participate in a win-win model for both
parties, company and consumer.


Consumer behaviours have changed as a

result of this new economic context and particularly in the United States, a new type of
bargaining, neo-haggling, is gaining ground,
even in large stores. The practice has become so widespread that a few months ago
Macys department store issued a statement
informing its customers that haggling over
prices would not be allowed in their stores.

More information
Freecycle Network, object exchange:
Vicente Verd (2009). El capitalismo funeral. La crisis o la
Tercera Guerra Mundial. Anagrama.


Environmentalism is by now deeply rooted in

the consumer mindset and public policy arena,
although consumers and politicians express widely
varying degrees of engagement.

Hammarby Sjstad (Stockholm) is a model example

of sustainable urban development. The old industrial
and harbour district has been
converted into a residential
neighbourhood based on
criteria of sustainability:
energy self-sufficiency from
combustible waste and
the management of waste
water, rain harvesting, a
vehicle sharing network,
urban transport fuelled with
biogas, etc. The project began in 1993 and is forecast to
finish in 2016 with 25,000 inhabitants. An environmental
information centre has been
built for the neighbourhoods
Photo: Victoria Henriksson

Paul Flatters, former

head of analysis and
research at BBC News
and Michael Willmott,
former deputy chairman
of the Henley Centre for
Forecasting. Harvard
Business Review.



Rethinking society

Environmental behaviour

From the 3 Rs to design from the roots

Economic development and the expansion

of the market system alters social values
to the point that consumerism is the term
used to define the prevailing social system. However, as a reaction to the market
economy and in particular to the defects,
exaggerations and inequalities that it
creates, counter values have appeared that
urge citizens to be more rational in their
decision making. The international financial
and economic crisis has shaken consciences
and is regarded by some social agents as an
opportunity to redress excesses and return to
a less ostentatious, more satisfying lifestyle. Ismael Quintanilla, social psychologist
at the University of Valencia, highlights one
of the effects of the financial and economic
crisis on society: a shift in the value system
towards greater rationality and collective
consciousness, the slow but active appearance of a search for a fairer, more ethical
and responsible behaviour. The recession
is accompanied by a greater concern for
those values that affect society as a whole:
concern for the environment, well-being,
anti-manipulation and a greater capacity
for empathy for the problems of others.
These types of concerns are reflected in the
emergence of consumer behaviours with
social causes (for example fair trade) and
their counterpart in the need for companies
to develop corporate social responsibility

Of the emerging social values, sustainability

and everything connected with it, the evolution of the environmental movement born a
few decades ago, has grown in importance.
Now environmental awareness has become more generalised, the need to promote
coherent environmental behaviours is the
order of the day. Concern for the environment
is gradually giving way to daily environmental
practices: sorting out waste for recycling at
home, less use of plastic bags, creation of
urban vegetable plots on balconies and terraces, the use of public transport or non-motorised vehicles in the city, etc. In the same
way that differences exist between environmental awareness and behaviour, different
degrees of citizen involvement can also be
seen. Beyond purely legal requirements, environmental conducts are gradually becoming
a social imperative, although always at the
discretion of the individual.

Sustainable goods are no longer expensive,

and moreover, environmentally respectful
methods of production can bring savings for
companies, as well as contributing an added
value for the environment. In Cradle to
cradle. Remaking the way we make things
(North Point Press, 2002), Michael Braungart and William and McDonough propose a
new way of producing and designing objects
that goes beyond the traditional environmentalist slogan of the three Rs: reduce,
reuse and recycle. These authors argue
that todays environmental behaviours are
not geared to implementing improvement
mechanisms, and as a result only slow down
environmental deterioration. Against this
background, they propose attacking the
problem at the roots, in other words, instead
of reducing energy consumption, the design
and conception of any product, strategy or
policy should endeavour to take into account
all the processes that have an environmental
impact (extraction, processing, use, reuse,

Although sustainable consumption is

showing an incipient maturity, the economic
recession has brought about a change in the
way society tackles the problem of sustainability. Consumers are looking for cheap,
discreet ways of reducing energy spending
and have crossed over from sustainable but
expensive products to the sustainable but
reasonably priced goods that are appearing in
the markets. Examples include adverts from
the retailers Payless Shoesource for their upcoming launch of an environmentally friendly
shoe for less than 30 dollars. Similarly, the
supermarket chain Wal-Mart now stock Love,
Earth, an affordable and sustainable range of

More information
Understanding the Post-Recession Consumer, Paul
Flatters and Michael Willmott. Harvard Business Review,
July-August 2009.
Rovira, A. (2009) La buena crisis. Reinventarse a uno
mismo: la revolucin de la conciencia. Aguilar.
Pigem, J. (2009) Buena crisis. Hacia un mundo postmaterialista. Kairs.
Hammarby Sjstad.
Braungart , M., McDonough W., Cradle to cradle. Remaking the way we make things (North Point Press, 2002)

A tethered balloon floats

above the streets of Paris,
providing information on air
pollution. The AERO30NG
Arophile 5500, as the
balloon is known, contains

6,000 cubic metres of helium

and is anchored in the Parc
Andr Citron. It changes colour (green for clean, orange
for moderately polluted and
red for very polluted) accor-

ding to air pollution levels.

The condition of the air is
measured by sensors that
the company has installed
across the city.