WEEK. 13.12.19

Gentle Monster creates Beijing mall

Beijing has a hip new shopping destination, and it’s been created by a Korean eyewear brand.

Gentle Monster is the imaginative force behind SKP South, a downtown luxury retail space that looks and feels more like some kind of futuristic museum/giant art installation.

The mall, which counts brands like Balenciaga and Moncler among its tenants, features a floor designed like a space station tunnel and a concept café serving dishes that look like body parts.

“Even though Gentle Monster is an eyewear brand, our core DNA is creative thinking,” CEO Hankook Kim told China’s Jing Daily.

Image Source: Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

Since launching in 2011, Gentle Monster has built a reputation for pushing the boundaries of retail design with immersive (and of course highly Instagrammable) spaces. Ambitious projects like SKP South, meanwhile, point to the future of large-scale retail developments, both in Asia and western cities.

Recess plots growth through collabs and influencers

Recess, everyone’s favourite Millennial CBD seltzer, isn’t taking a break.

The brand has only been around since October 2018, but is already among the most visible exponents of what the New York Times calls the “commodified wellness movement”. Now they’ve announced a collab with Opening Ceremony.

A limited-edition can, available only in New York and LA, is the result of Recess’s partnership with the fashion label known for working with the likes of Rihanna, Disney and Chloe Sevigny.

The launch seems relatively low-key, but perhaps shows us where the brand is heading. Having won praise for understanding the Millennial mood better than most and creating a tribal identity around its “Calm Cool Collected” mantra, Recess looks set to support the next phase of growth with carefully selected collaborations.

Image Source: instagram
Image Source: instagram

Savvy digital marketing will help too. Recess found a clever work-around for Instagram’s current ban on ads for CBD products – it paid individuals $3 to mention the brand on the platform from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, via mobile payment service Venmo.

Brand buses descend on Westminster

You wait all year for a bus, then a few turn up at once. The branded bus, made infamous by Vote Leave during the EU referendum, returned with a vengeance in the few days before the general election.

BrewDog, Burger King and Carlsberg all appeared to mock the notoriously inaccurate ‘£350m’ claim put forward by Boris and co back in 2016, with Burger King advertising its signature sandwich using the line “Another Whopper on the side of a bus”.

Image Source: Brewdog
Image Source: Brewdog

A big black vehicle pledging a free pint for every voter (regardless of party allegiance) was sent to Westminster by BrewDog, which added that “100% of the statements on this bus are accurate”.

Meanwhile, Carlsberg used its battle bus to promote “Better Beer for Britain”, a campaign promise it said the nation can believe, “Probably”.

Image Source: inews
Image Source: Inews

Although buses like this appear to be straightforward stunts, they also show that brands are increasingly willing to engage with politics in order to stand out. This controversial medium is yet to reach the end of the road.

Pantone is feeling blue for 2020

Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020 is Classic Blue, but not everyone agrees with the choice.

Described by the Pantone Color Institute’s Leatrice Eiseman as a “solid and dependable” shade that expresses “constancy and confidence”, the colour is expected to strongly influence design, interiors and product development at the tumultuous dawn of a new decade.

Image Source: Pantone
Image Source: Pantone

However, Michelle Ogundehin of design mag Dezeen said Pantone “missed the mark” with its pick. She suggested a shade of green (like the ‘neo mint’ put forward by trend forecasters WSGN) would better reflect the “ecological story” and wider cultural agenda of today.

Pantone may have wanted a ‘safer’ option after its 2019 selection, the peachy-orange Living Coral, drew criticism for taking cues from healthy ocean coral reefs at a time when the real thing is under threat.

Other recent colours of the year from Pantone include 2017’s Greenery and the 2018 choice Ultra Violet, a dramatic shade of purple said to conjure the “artistic brilliance” of icons like David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Prince.


WEEK has been compiled by Matt Duxbury, Fabi Burnett and Alex Theaker.

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