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business Editor's pick product Retail technology

Why Nike is betting on an Amazon-free future

Last month, Nike announced it would be pulling all of its products from Amazon in a bid to refocus its distribution strategy and “elevate consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships”. 

Leaving one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms after a two-year pilot is a bold move. So what does the divorce mean for the sportswear giant?

In leaving Amazon, the company is joining a roster of others, from IKEA to Birkenstock, who have tried and failed to make it work on the platform. Amazon has developed a poor reputation when it comes to how it treats its sellers – and it’s doing very little to change it. But as retailers depart the platform to deliver a more personal customer experience – while keeping a tight leash on their product offerings – the e-commerce giant needs to start thinking damage control.

Selling on Amazon comes with an ever-changing set of challenges. While it has been busy expanding its fashion offering, the website is still designed for the convenience shopper, and not the one looking to be wowed or to discover a new favorite brand. Search ranking results can be confusing – for example, searching for sports shoes will not necessarily bring up the Nike sneakers immediately at the top of the page, even though it is a market leader. It is also often hard to find out whether you are buying the item directly from the brand, or a third-party seller.

Then there is the big elephant in the room: counterfeiting. Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the website “increasingly resembles an unruly online flea market.” For the US site, it is now attracting Chinese sellers to post their goods directly to consumers, rather than through North American middlemen. This means a proliferation of sold goods that are deemed either counterfeit, or banned or unsafe for consumption, which are virtually impossible to keep track of.

But Nike’s exit is coming from a privileged position. It has built a community outside the retailer’s website, and will exist just fine without it. For brands of its caliber, this is a good chance to take a leaf out of the direct-to-consumer rulebook and create a distribution approach that not only gives it more say, but enables more direct conversations. 

Nike is now working on strengthening its relationship with other smaller retailers. At Foot Locker’s new NYC flagship, for example, NikePlus app users can reserve shoes in advance and pick them up from dedicated lockers.

On a direct-to-consumer level, it is launching services like the Nike Adventure Club, a sneaker subscription for kids aged 2-10 where for a monthly fee, they receive a certain number of sneakers a year. The brand is targeting time-strapped parents who live in areas that perhaps don’t have a shoe store nearby. Instead of restoring to the convenience of Amazon when their child has moved up a shoe size, Nike is hoping these parents will choose a box service with a trusted brand instead.

This is also a chance for the brand to test out the subscription model, and potentially apply it to other consumer groups in the future, says David Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club.  “We’re starting to think about what other athletes have problems that could be very easily solved by a subscription,” he said. “This is the beginning of something pretty exciting for Nike.”

For all of the sales volume that Nike will be losing by exiting Amazon, the sports brand is hard at work building a tight strategy where convenience meets personalization, which will likely pay off in the near future. 

This is perhaps where Amazon continues to falter – both in the eyes of its vendors and consumers. Next day delivery and low prices come at the price of the user experience, which still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to discoverability and bringing up (relevant) recommendations. 

Consumers may currently be fully onboard with the endless hamster wheel of speed and low value, but only time will tell if that will be enough to fulfill their more nuanced needs, such as creating emotional connections. Nike is betting on the latter.

How are you thinking about experience? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Farfetch’s IPO, everything to know about CGI influencers, Bitcoin hairspray

Farfetch IPO
Farfetch IPO

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Farfetch files for IPO, testing investors’ appetite for luxury [BoF]
  • The numerous questions around the rise of CGI models and influencers [Vogue]
  • You can buy hairspray with Bitcoin now [TheCut]
  • Yuval Noah Harari on what the year 2050 has in store for humankind [Wired]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon is losing its smart speaker dominance [AdWeek]
  • Microsoft’s HoloLens mall demos bring early AR glasses to the masses [VentureBeat]
  • Los Angeles subway to become first in the US to use body scanners [DigitalTrends]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fur: A reality check [BoF]
  • Is clothing rental the secret to making fashion sustainable? [Independent]
  • Fashion for Good launches toolkit on how to develop Cradle to Cradle denim [FashionUnited]
  • Why Instagram’s ‘outfit of the day’ hashtag is bad for fashion – and bad for the soul [TheGuardian]
  • German outdoor brand Vaude starts upcycling community [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • McDonald’s unveils new Apple store-like Chicago flagship location [HypeBeast]
  • Superga, Cos, Rains and Fred Perry join Coal Drops Yard lineup [Retail Gazette]
  • 5 reasons why LA is the place to be for retailers [FootwearNews]
  • Consumers opt for marketplaces, fast retail, personalization [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Neutrogena, Sonos beta test use of video in Amazon search campaigns [MobileMarketer]
  • Alibaba’s to host first fashion show in China [JingDaily]
  • Rebecca Minkoff to present new brand identity during NYFW [WWD]
  • It’s never been easier to buy a pair of Yeezys [GQ]
  • Counterfeiting make-up is a new trend in Chinese how-to videos [JingDaily]
PRODUCT
  • Everlane is launching ‘clean silk’ in a move toward greater sustainability [Fashionista]
  • This digitally-knitted sportswear is like 3D-printed clothing [Wired]
  • River Island launches homeware [Drapers]
BUSINESS
  • Why the gender discrimination lawsuit against Nike is so significant [Vox]
  • Mulberry hit by House of Fraser collapse [FT]
  • $500 million in counterfeit Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel Goods seized in one of the largest busts to date [TheFashionLaw]
  • Bringing affordable fast fashion to Africa [WWD]
CULTURE
  • How make-up swatches became a political battleground [Dazed]
  • In hype beast homes, Supreme accessories are the hot decor [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Macy’s buys Story, Gucci’s new flagship, AI and the future of fashion

Futuristic fashion by Tim Walker
Futuristic fashion by Tim Walker

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Macy’s buys Story concept [RetailDive]
  • Gucci plants its flag in Soho [BoF]
  • How artificial intelligence will impact the future of fashion [Vogue]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Can AI and AR turn your prospects into customers? [Inc]
  • How beauty brands like Coty and Shiseido are using voice assistants [Glossy]
  • Ticketmaster to trial facial recognition technology at live venues [Venture]
  • Verisart brings blockchain certification to the global art auction market [TechCrunch]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Fast fashion goes green with mushrooms, lumber scraps, and algae [Bloomberg]
  • Applied DNA Sciences confirms traceability of leather [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Walmart.com redesigns as the anti-Amazon [Co.Design]
  • Farfetch partners with Stadium Goods on sneaker hub [WWD]
  • Brandless’ pop-up is focused on community engagement rather than selling products [AdWeek]
  • China’s live-streaming fashion boom changing the way Gen Z shops [SCMP]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside the bitter war to bring Tupac and Michael Jackson back to life [Wired]
  • Diet Prada unmasked [BoF]
  • Instagram quietly launches payments for commerce [TechCrunch]
PRODUCT
  • Amsterdam is solving its gum litter problem by making shoes out of recycled gum [AdWeek]
  • ElektroCouture: Inside the fashion house behind Swarovski’s $60,000 light-up dress [Forbes]
BUSINESS
  • Over 400 startups are trying to become the next Warby Parker. Inside the wild race to overthrow every consumer category [Inc]
  • Prada: Making the most of its moment [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s anti-counterfeit group now has 105 brand members, including L’Oréal and Bose [TheDrum]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail technology

ICYMI: The resale market grows, reporting gender pay gaps, augmented reality at retail

Thredup - resale
Thredup

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Resale is expected to be bigger than fast fashion within 10 years [Fashionista]
  • Major fashion names among worst offenders in Britain gender pay gap [NYTimes]
  • 10 retailers leading the way in augmented reality [RetailDive]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers race against Amazon to automate stores [NYTimes]
  • Will brands start selling digital apparel in video games? [LSN Global]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Tencent shows off their vision for the future of retail [JingDaily]
  • Why Sephora merged its digital and physical retail teams into one department [Digiday]
  • How Men’s Wearhouse became a bright spot in the declining retail space [AdWeek]
  • Could entering a lottery be the future of shopping? End Clothing thinks so [Vogue]
  • These 25 companies are revolutionizing retail [Business Insider]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ssense shuts down Polyvore, sparking outrage among fans [BoF]
  • Tommy Hilfiger’s new campaign features models with disabilities [Teen Vogue]
  • The day Warby Parker lost its cool [FastCompany]
PRODUCT
  • Counterfeiting makeup is a new trend in Chinese how-to videos [JingDaily]
  • Louis Vuitton now sells a pricey tracker for your designer luggage [Engadget]
BUSINESS
  • Why Virgil at Vuitton only begins to combat industry racism [HypeBeast]
  • Comme des Garçons is launching a direct-to-consumer brand [GQ]
  • How Zegna caters to today’s novelty-obsessed Chinese consumers [JingDaily]
Categories
Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Burberry and Farfetch, Natalie Massenet on exiting BFC, Alibaba’s retail strategy

Cara Delevingne in Burberry latest collection
Cara Delevingne in Burberry’s latest collection

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Burberry to expand online reach with Farfetch tie-up [Telegraph]
  • For Natalie Massenet, change brings opportunity [BoF]
  • Alibaba invests another $1.3 billion into its offline retail strategy [TechCrunch]
  • Can Marchesa survive in a post-Weinstein world? [Refinery29]
  • NYFW roundup: #MeToo conversations, immersive runways and supersized robots [TCDaily]
TECHNOLOGY
  • In-depth: H&M puts tech at the heart of action plan to turn the brand around [TCDaily]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • When it comes to millennials’ fashion buys, price and convenience trump sustainability [WWD]
  • If you care about ethical fashion, it’s time to stop sleeping on G-Star Raw [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Selfridges opens in-store boxing gym in “world first” [RetailGazette]
  • WeWork moves into retail with new partnership with J.Crew [Glossy]
  • Mulberry takes over Spencer House for London Fashion Week 2018 [Campaign]
  • Fewer happy returns in retail land as companies tighten generous return policies [Fung Global Retail Tech]
  • Target will roll out same day delivery in Twin Cities next month as it faces off with Amazon [StarTribune]
  • Google wants to change the way we shop online, beginning with beauty brands [Campaign]
MARKETING
  • How Nike’s “Nothing Beats a Londoner” advert taps into real London culture [HypeBeast]
  • PORTER becomes editorial voice across Net-A-Porter as it goes digital with daily updates [TheIndustry]
SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside Vans’ social media strategy [Digiday]
  • Pinterest now lets you archive boards, rearrange pins and more [AdWeek]
PRODUCT
  • This blouse comes with free performance coaching sessions [FastCompany]
  • Macy’s is making history with its new hijab-friendly clothing line [Brit+Co]
  • Customization in beauty is on the rise, but its scalability is uncertain [Glossy]
BUSINESS
  • Blockbuster Gucci continues to boost Kering [BoF]
  • Fashion unicorn Farfetch will soon interview bankers for its New York IPO [CNBC]
  • Richemont uncovers counterfeiters abusing customer service line to copy designs [WWD]
  • The future of luxury: 7 trends reshaping the luxury industry [CBInsights]
Categories
Campaigns Editor's pick Retail

Diesel pop-up sells limited edition “fakes” as part of SS18 campaign

Deisel pop up from Diesel
The “Deisel” pop-up from Diesel

Diesel is looking to reinforce its authentic roots with a “fake” pop-up store during New York Fashion Week. As part of its latest campaign celebrating imperfection, the brand opened “Deisel” in NYC’s Chinatown – a neighbourhood known for touting knockoffs – selling seemingly fake goods.

The stunt was eventually revealed on social media, as Diesel shared a video depicting footage of the store. Inside, the pop-up space was set up to look improvised and blend in with its Canal Street neighbors, while shop assistants tried to convince confused passersby that the goods were real.

Once the secret was out, Diesel fans began to form long queues outside the store, trying to get their hands on the limited edition goods, which were also available for purchase in Europe online.

Speaking to reporters, Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel and president of its parent company OTB Group, said the aim of the campaign is to play on the irony and sense of humor he believes the brand has always relied on, which has been lost over the past few years.

“Diesel is back,” he said. ”Diesel is modern. Diesel is a unique brand. Diesel is still alive with the real irony and with the real DNA that it used to have before.”

Andy Bird, chief creative officer at Diesel’s recently appointed agency Publicis, told Adweek: “I think a brand like Diesel has the balls and the right to talk like this. There aren’t many brands that would take a calculated risk like this, but because they kind of know that they already have the cachet with the past history of advertising, they’ve always been a bit more adventurous and it fits perfectly with their outlook.”

Moving forward, the brand believes social media and campaign stunts are becoming a major focus for engagement. According to Rosso, the next soon-to-be-released stunt will see an individual jump from atop St Marcus tower in Venice, Italy.

In our recent episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast, Stefano Rosso, Diesel’s CEO of North America, talked in-depth about the brand’s approach to challenging conformity.

Categories
business e-commerce Editor's pick

Will Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting deal with Kering stall luxury counterfeits?

Gucci - Kering anti-counterfeiting
Gucci

French luxury conglomerate Kering Group and China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reached an agreement August 3 to jointly fight against the counterfeits on Alibaba’s online marketplaces to protect brands’ intellectual property rights.

As part of the agreement, the details of which were made public in a press release co-issued by the two parties, Kering has also decided to withdraw a lawsuit that it filed against Alibaba in 2015 in New York district court accusing the e-commerce site of being involved in the sales of fake handbags, watches and other items under the names of brands owned by Kering. The cooperation marks an official end to the legal dispute between the two companies.

Alibaba and Kering have established a “joint task force” to collaborate on the anti-counterfeiting actions, the public statement said. The two companies will exchange useful information and work closely with law enforcement bodies. Kering will also benefit from Alibaba’s advanced technology capabilities in identifying counterfeiters on its platforms.


Will this move by Alibaba really assure luxury brands?

Owning elite luxury labels including Saint Laurent, Gucci and Balenciaga, Kering’s endorsement represents a milestone for Alibaba’s ongoing efforts to combat the counterfeit issues on its platforms in order to attract more luxury brands to work with.

However, it is interesting that Saint Laurent has just decided to work with Alibaba’s major rival JD.com earlier this week. Moreover, one major reason for that cooperation, according to the brand’s CEO Francesca Bellettini, is that the presence of Farfetch (of which JD.com acquired a nearly $400 million stake in June) has helped mitigate their worries over the counterfeiting issue.

There is little doubt that Alibaba has been working hard on this area in recent years. The group set up the “Alibaba Big Data Anti-counterfeiting Alliance” in mid-2016, which aims to use modern technology to identify counterfeiters. A number of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Shiseido, and Swarovski are all members of the Alliance.

On many public occasions, Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, has been quite outspoken about the counterfeiting problems in China and has publicly called for the government to devote more legal efforts to it.

A recent article published by Luxury Daily, nonetheless, views the company’s current coalition as a failure to achieve what it has promised, namely, to curb the sale of counterfeit luxury goods on the Chinese e-commerce site. According to the publication, Alibaba is still “lax about counterfeiting,” while counterfeiters have become much more sophisticated than ever and consumers have better access to fake goods due to the flourishing of social media and modern technologies.

Chinese markets have become a pillar of Kering’s various businesses as per recent earnings reports. The conglomerate’s core brand, Gucci, has just tapped into the country’s online market through establishing its own e-commerce site. It is thus not so surprising to see Kering ceasing fire on the dominant market player over the counterfeiting issue. But the partnership, for either side, is possibly far from being worthy of celebration.

By Yiling Pan @SiennaPan

This article was originally published on Jing Daily, a Fashion & Mash content partner.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film social media sustainability technology

What you missed: Amazon didn’t kill Macy’s, Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting bid, LVMH on sustainability

Macy's Amazon
Who really killed Macy’s?

So is Amazon the big threat to retail, or do retailers really have themselves to blame? There’s a great piece from Recode exploring the longer-term demise of Macy’s. No surprise to also see Neiman Marcus’ IPO has been stalled given current market conditions. The Limited is another US store announcing its closure over the past week.

Meanwhile, other big news to know about include a bid to fight counterfeit goods on Alibaba, PETA aiming to disrupt LVMH from the inside (as well as a separate piece on how LVMH is making luxury more sustainable), and yet more advertising updates on both Instagram and Snapchat. If you haven’t seen it, don’t forget to also check out our list of the 8 top tech trends for fashion and luxury retail in 2017.


TOP STORIES
  • Amazon didn’t kill Macy’s. Macy’s did [Recode]
  • Alibaba forms anti-counterfeiting alliance with Louis Vuitton, Swarovski and others [WWD]
  • Bernard Arnault meets with President-Elect Donald Trump [WWD]
  • What happens when beauty, health and wellness products move from standardised to personalised? [Loose Threads]
  • These stores smell money inside your brain [Bloomberg]

BUSINESS
  • Neiman Marcus IPO will stay on the shelf [Bloomberg]
  • PETA is now a Louis Vuitton shareholder [Fashionista]
  • An inside view of how LVMH makes luxury more sustainable [HBR]
  • Diane von Furstenberg debuts hip new logo, website ahead of fashion month [Fashionista]
  • Expect experimental evolution, not revolution, at Valentino [BoF]
  • Jimmy Choo co-founder goes stiletto-first into the digital future [Fast Company]
  • Lessons learned from Neil Blumenthal, the co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker [AlleyWatch]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Asos, Nike and Airbnb first to use Instagram Stories’ new ad formats [The Drum]
  • Snapchat is about to get a major redesign – including search bar [Mashable]
  • L’Oréal Paris brought Snapchat Spectacles to the red carpet for the Golden Globes [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Sephora is ramping up its mission to empower women in 2017 via sustainability and technology [Fashionista]
  • Nike Women got FKA Twigs to creative direct this mesmerising new ad [AdWeek]
  • Film student’s emotional Adidas ad goes viral as viewers urge the brand to take notice [The Drum]
  • Chopard explains etiquette for 21st-century man in whimsical vignettes [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL
  • The Limited officially closes all stores, moves online [Retail Dive]
  • Matches CEO: Customers want speed and convenience [CNBC]
  • Lush evolves digital offerings to better connect with consumers [Glossy]
  • Kohl’s continued digital innovation drives loyalty [RIS News]

TECHNOLOGY
  • From gimmick to game-changer: How virtual reality will alter the fashion industry [Glossy]
  • Tanvas’ haptic feedback system lets you feel texture on a touchscreen [The Verge]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: YNAP’s 2020 growth plans, synthetic spider silk, LVMH’s start-ups

Digital snippets - YNAP
Yoox Net-a-Porter Group

We’re back with another round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion, digital comms and technology news over the past week or so. Top of the agenda is an in-depth insight from Yoox Net-a-Porter Group on how it plans to outpace the online luxury market through 2020, while there’s also highlights from LVMH’s start-up showcase in Paris, the role synthetic spider silk might play in the future, not to mention various views from the latest Snapchat campaigns…


  • How Yoox Net-a-Porter Group plans to outpace the online luxury market through 2020 [Fashionista]

  • Synthetic spider silk could be the biggest technological advance in clothing since nylon [QZ]

  • LVMH is looking for start-ups to bring personalisation to its brands [Glossy]

  • Snapchat takes turn at couture [WWD]

  • Early reads on Snapchat lenses show success for Urban Decay and Benefit [WWD]

  • Kate Moss leads line-up of stars in new Calvin Klein campaign [The Industry]

  • Shiseido ups digital game with ‘Rouge Rouge Kiss Me’ [WWD]

  • Meet MikMak, the mobile shopping network that sells via video [WSJ]

  • Beauty and the bot: Artificial intelligence is the key to personalising aesthetic products [The Globe and Mail]

  • How software is reshaping fashion’s back end [BoF]

  • Pinterest for fashion brands: ‘It’s not there yet’ [Glossy]

  • Can new technologies thwart counterfeiters? [BoF]

  • Blippar sets ‘early 2017’ date to hit mass awareness as it tunes ad business for visual search [The Drum]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product social media technology

Digital snippets: Mid-tier blogger power, the robotics opportunity, Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting feud

midtierbloggers

After a week refreshing the mind and the soul at Futuro in Ibiza (an awe-inspiring experience), we’re back with a round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion and technology news (and beyond) over the past fortnight or so. Read on for highlights from mid-tier bloggers and robots to Alibaba, Victoria’s Secret, Levi’s, WeChat and more…


  • The power of the mid-tier blogger [Racked]

  • How robots can help fashion companies drive business efficiencies [BoF]

  • Inside Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting feud [Associated Press]

  • Why Victoria’s Secret won’t be mailing out any more catalogues [AdWeek]

  • Aerie refused to Photoshop its ads for two years and sales spiked [Mashable]

  • Project Jacquard: Google and Levi’s launch the first ‘smart’ jean jacket for urban cyclists [Forbes]

  • Fashion shake-ups go beyond designers to the C-suite [NY Times]

  • Fashion industry faces disruption from outside — and from within [FT]

  • Why lux brands love Line [Glossy]

  • With 92% of luxury brands on WeChat, here’s how they can step up their game [Jing Daily]

  • How four creative directors are using Snapchat [Glossy]

  • How Instagram’s new feed will impact brands and influencers [BoF]

  • With subscription beauty boxes, rules of e-commerce don’t apply [WSJ]

  • Why buy buttons on Pinterest and Instagram haven’t taken off for retailers [Digiday]

  • Brands want to predict your behaviour by mining your face from YouTube videos [Motherboard]

  • Chatbots won’t solve everything [BoF]

  • For the first time, Google is bringing retail ads to image search [AdWeek]

  • Shoptalk: Pondering the store’s future in an age of web buying [Associated Press]

  • Keep calm and keep shopping – how elections impact retail sales [The Conversation]

  • Why dynamic pricing just doesn’t work for fashion retailers [LinkedIn]

  • I tested Rent The Runway’s new Unlimited service. My satisfaction was… limited [Pando]

  • What does ‘innovation’ in retail look like? 8 leaders weigh in [Retail Dive]

  • Online retailers should care more about the post-purchase experience [HBR]

  • Does Kendall and Kylie’s game actually sell clothes? [Racked]

  • EasyJet’s new smart shoes guide travellers as they wander through new cities [JWT Intelligence]

  • MIT researchers create 3D-printed fur, opening up “a new design space” [Dezeen]