Gyms. Sweat dripping down grey walls. Stale carpet tiles. Broken air conditioning units. Boxy TV screens showing music videos from the ‘90s. Row upon row of slippery, smelly treadmills.
Sound familiar? If your gym is still stuck in the dark ages, it’s time to move on. Research shows that more and more of us are shunning traditional high-street chains in favour of fitness and running groups, or re-considered gyms that place greater emphasis on design and style.
A perfect example of this is the gym recently opened by Adidas at the brand’s office in Herzogenaurach. Décor includes bold, colourful letters, words and numbers, which hold subtle messages and meanings. For example, the number 54 references the year Germany first won the world cup, alongside number 13 worn by prolific goal scorer Gerd Müller.
Time to get back on the (gym) horse?
Stone-cooked? Flame-grilled? Pah, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Food design studio Bompas & Parr has collaborated with a team of scientists and artists to cook meat with lava and high-voltage electrical currents.
The inspiration for the Cooking with Lava project came from a visit to Sakurajima, an active volcano in Japan. “We wanted to see if there was a way to create synthetic lava so a wider audience could experience the wonders of food cooked in this way,” the team said.
Working with Syracuse University, Bompas & Parr first used an industrial bronze furnace to melt 1.1-billion-year-old basaltic rock. They then created an artificial volcano that erupted with a stream of 2,100°F lava, before sizzling some sausages over the hot liquid to cook in a matter of seconds.
Not satisfied with one dangerous BBQ-ing experience, the team then visited a high-voltage laboratory at the University of Southampton, where they placed steaks in the path of a 200,000-volt electrical bolt to simulate cooking with lightning.
Peppercorn sauce with that, sir?
Global recipe; local taste. That’s the formula behind Pernod Ricard’s brand ‘Our/Vodka’. And it seems to be working a dream.
After launching in Berlin, Our/Vodka has just found its way to American soil, starting with Our/Detroit. The idea is simple: fund local micro-distilleries and give local entrepreneurs the freedom to make the brand their own.
The recipe for the vodka stays the same, as do the small bottles, iconic black and white labels and crown caps. But distilleries are free to use local ingredients from suppliers of their choosing, and make their own decisions about marketing.
Distilleries are planned for New York and Los Angeles next year, and Seattle in October. Could this be the future of global branding?
Bite sized is making big tasty waves across the US right now, with Oreo sending out pint-sized surprises to the fifty smallest towns across the country.
For Elsie Eiler, the only resident living in Monowi, Nebraska, the 11th of August felt a bit like Christmas. She received an unexpected petite package containing Oreo Minis as a gesture by the brand, which is celebrating all things tiny as part of its Oreo Minis campaign.
An ode to the little things, from little gestures to little places, the packages will come from Mel’s Mini Mart; the fictional Oreo Mini store first featured in the Wes Anderson/Dr Seuss mash-up ad. You only have to watch it once to see that the proof in the pudding: the best things really do come in small packages!
Valentine’s Day. A day of universal love. A time for couples of all ages to celebrate their mutual affection through a romantic meal, flowers or some chocs picked up from the 24-hour garage. Not so in Nanjing, China, where one vendor has given his peaches a cheeky twist. (Well picked, Phil.)
Deciding a simple sticker wasn’t enough to get him noticed on Chinese Valentine’s Day (or the Qixi festival, as it’s known locally), Mr Yao Xiaoyang sought the help of a local lingerie company, and together they developed mini pairs of knickers to put on his peaches.
He’s called his collection ‘When the Peaches Are Ripe’ after a saucy Chinese film, and sells each box for 520 yuan (£50, $84US, $90Aus). Which may sound a little steep, until you learn that 5-2-0 in Chinese sounds like the words for ‘I love you’, making it worth every peachy penny.
Now peach season’s over in China, Yao’s assured the world there’s more creative fruit packaging in the pipeline. Our money’s on bananas and melons.
What’s on your breakfast table? A cereal box featuring cartoon animals? A sticky, squeezy bottle of congealed honey? A crumb-coated block of melting butter?
Raising the (breakfast) bar, at least in his imagination, is student Michael Garrett’s concept for Schepps Dairy Superior Milk.
Opting for a traditional glass bottle over the generic plastic carton, Garrett’s concept also has a classy cork stopper. Half the bottle is matte black, revealing the milk at the bottom.
And with flavours like lavender and lemongrass, it’s not just the outside that’s a step above the bog-standard. Anyone fancy trying that on their Cocoa Pops?
What’s the first thing you do when your football team scores? For many fans, the answer is reach for your phone or laptop to see what everyone’s saying about it online.
Spotting an opportunity, Google has developed some super-clever technology that allows brands to correlate their digital advertising with what’s just happened on TV. (Back of the net, Damo.)
Within seconds of a goal being scored, the technology allows Nike to deliver tailored ads straight to phones, tablets and laptops across the land.
Once fans saw the ads, they were then able to panoramically span 360-degrees around a player of their choice, capture their own shot, and add their own custom message and graphics to share with others around the world.
It’s all part of Google’s ‘Art Copy & Code’ project – a series of experiments to re-imagine the future of advertising. Bye bye billboards. Hello live, real-time ads in your living room. Scary.
When you read the words ‘probiotics’ and ‘good bacteria’, you’ll probably picture a tub of yoghurt or Yakult – not necessarily cleaning products. But today’s a new day, complete with a natural new science-based health trend: Pro-microbiome.
Put simply (we’ll try), the human microbiome is the collection of bacterial genes in your body. Unbeknown to us until recently, attempts to scrub it away with antibacterial soaps, antibiotics and harsh household cleansers have the potential to leave us worse than before. It may even help explain the rise in conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma and allergies.
As awareness increases, the time is ripe for brands to be swapping nasty chemicals for ‘good’ bacteria, getting back to a more natural, human state. To reflect this Natural House have created a range of playful, personality-led product names such as Dishy, Flushy and Sinky.
So stop sanitising for a second and start ‘seeding with probiotics to continuously weed out the bad micro-organisms’? Time to get Trashy, naturally, we thinks…
Holidays. The perfect time to get away from it all. Forget about the stress and strains modern life. Treat yourself to a couple of weeks relaxing in the middle of nowhere. Well now it seems a couple of French entrepreneurs have taken the idea of ‘spending some time in your own bubble’ quite literally.
Casabubble was set up by designers Frédéric Richard and Pierre-Stéphane Dumas to give happy campers a unique experience through a range of inflatable bubble rooms, bridging the gap between the indoors and the outdoors.
The aim is to maximise the experience of getting back to nature, whilst minimising the impact on the environment. Gone are the comedic days of your tent collapsing in the middle of the night – you just need to listen out for a constant hissing noise. And maybe remember to pack some sellotape.
Butch and Sundance. Riggs and Murtaugh. Buzz and Woody. Jake and Elwood, Garth and Wayne (schwing). Hollywood’s seen some pretty epic teamwork over the years, but none are more innovative than Grolsch’s latest partnership with the film business.
They’ve recently launched a bottle that uses Bluetooth technology to sync with your computer/ tablet/ smartphone and download a free film when you crack open a bottle. Flip the lid, chink your device, have a swig, watch the movie. The only thing you need to watch out for is spilling your beer over your brand new MacBook Air.
It’s currently only available in Russia via movieunlocker.com, but we’re sure it won’t be long before similar trials are rolling out across the rest of the world. Rocket science? Not really. Genius? Absolutely.