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Trendspotting - Your guide to latest trends

31-03-2011 World's Most Expensive Dog

We are used to hearing stories about the world’s most expensive hotels, places to live, and holiday spots. But now, there are some new records that have captured our attention. In China, certain breeds of dogs have become highly prized status symbols for the nouveau riche. Just recently, a Red Tibetan Mastiff puppy was sold to a Chinese coal baron for the cool price of £1 million – making it the world’s most expensive dog.
The iPad 2 has barely hit stores, but already Stuart Hughes has created a super-luxurious version of the gadget, one that is made up of solid 24-carat gold, flawless diamonds, and the bones of a 65 million-year-old T-Rex. This iPad is priced at £5 million. The price of beauty has also gone up, with the world’s most expensive manicure reaching $51,000.

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Next lifestyle trends: 'Pandas and Tigers and Dogs, Oh My!',


25-03-2011 Urban Trend: Vertical Gardens

While living in the city has many pros, one major disadvantage is the lack of space for green areas and in particular gardens. Even the slickest of city slickers long for a little bit of nature to inject in their home and work environments. Aspiring gardeners will be pleased to hear about an innovative eco trend called “the vertical garden”. Vertical gardens are essentially frameworks of plants that are arranged on the side of a building or wall. Their grid layouts make vertical gardens great design features as well as the perfect way to enjoy greenery in apartments. Our Trendspotters have found a number of great specialist companies that sell ready-made living wall systems for those who want to install their garden themselves. We recommend Vertical Garden Design, Green Design and Green Scape Buildings. When placed in the home or office, vertical gardens are known for improving air quality, which in turn lifts spirits and increases productivity.


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Next eco trends: 'Plants just hanging around', 'The Magic Garden'


22-03-2011 Authenticity Trend: Imperfect Is the New Perfect

The quest for perfection was a common theme that ran along the entire Noughties decade. Art, fashion, and marketing were just some of the industries that strove for perfection in the way they presented their work. But the turn of the decade was marked by a shift in attitudes: it seems that consumers and producers alike have called it quits on the whole perfection thing! It’s exhausting, it’s pretence, and it’s just not natural. We couldn’t be happier about the newest design trend: authenticity. In the consumerscape, there has been a rise in minimalist packaging, handmade products, and one-of-a-kind ranges. Some magazines have rejected Photoshop and introduced ‘airbrush-free’ pages splashed with gap-toothed models. Alexa Lixfeld's range of perfume bottles with rough concrete caps has proved that amazingly, authenticity has even influenced the luxury sector.

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Next design trends: 'Minimalism Trend', 'Muji the Japanese IKEA'

22-03-2011 Music Trend: Dubstep

The incredibly diverse and ever-changing music scene can always be counted on to provide us with new trends. One of the best things about music is that it has no limits: it is constantly creating more and more sub-branches for every genre. While techno has been a very popular genre for a while now, ‘dub techno’ is slowly but surely making its mark. Also known as dubstep, dub techno is a response to the ‘cleanliness’ of the minimal techno trend. While minimal techno is characterised by steady pulses, dubstep is more adventurous with the way  sound elements are used to create rhythm. In dubstep arrangements, the baseline dominates and drums are used to create rhythm. If there’s no dubstep dancefloors near you, keep in mind that the exhilarating effects of dub techno are best experienced through a subwoofer and a very loud volume control.




18-03-2011 Shadows and Light

Up until now, shadows were just an unavoidable thing that artists had to consider when figuring out the placement of pieces in their exhibits. However, our latest design trend, shadow art, proves that the skill of the artist lies in their ability to create extraordinary and meaningful work with only the simplest materials. In their showrooms, shadow artists rearrange random items, rubbish, and junk into carefully thought-out piles. Amazingly, these piles of ‘junk’ cast very real images on to the walls behind them. Shadow art is very impressive, but almost needs to be seen to believed. If you are interested in seeing this trend for yourself, check out the websites of Kumi Yamashita, Fred Eerdekens, and creative duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

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Next design trends: 'Self Contained Recycled Art' , 'Car Part Art'

16-03-2011 Book Trend: Fiction at Your Fingertips

Since the late 80s, technology has infiltrated all of our lives. And these days, the good old book now has to seriously compete with its online twin, the “eBook.” Microsoft and other players launched so-called eBooks and eReaders fifteen years ago, but the trend never really took off. Now the time has come for digital reading to challenge the publishing world in a big way. The eBook revolution has been enormously accelerated by the range of tablets now on the market, including the Android, Kindle, and, of course, the omnipresent iPad. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, predicts that eBooks will surpass paperback sales sometime in the next nine to twelve months and we think he is right. We’ll keep checking the stats for you and report again in due course!

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Next lifestyle trends: 'The Devil Reads Prada', 'The Brightness of Books'

15-03-2011 Dumpster Diving: Long Live Anarchism

While the majority of people go to supermarkets to purchase food, there is a new breed of people who are choosing to forage for their food in supermarket containers under the cover of night. Our Trendspotters have seen this urban lifestyle trend frequently in the media over the past year and we think it’s worthwhile reporting on. Dumpster diving is also referred to as ‘containering’ and ‘skipping.’ In the alternative scene, ‘scavenging’ is a protest against the immorality of throwing food away in times of economic crisis and widespread hunger. It draws attention to the amount of edible food that supermarkets throw out on a daily basis. According to the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, supermarkets discard 30%-40% of edible goods every day. In many countries, dumpster diving is illegal, but authorities are struggling to control these undercover operations. The trend has also formed a new subculture, where dumpster divers from different areas meet up to exchange various food products and discuss activist projects. There is evidence of this eco trend growing in America, Europe, Australia and Japan.


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11-03-2011 Minimalism Trend: Back to Basics

We believe that minimalism is set to dominate all aspects of design and culture in 2011. Our Trendspotters first detected this trend on the catwalks in Europe late last year, where designers represented their 2011 lines by sending stunningly simple clothes down the runway. This clean, easy look was complemented by minimal makeup and simple hairstyles. The concept of ‘pared-down chic’ has also extended to interior design. Minimalism is an increasingly popular theme for new homes as well as renovations, and some features are plain walls, bare furniture and monochromatic colours. The idea behind the theme is that a clear space equals a clear mind, and that the home should be a calming place to retreat to. The ‘techno’ music genre has also launched a new minimal strand, where the music features a steady beat and few other sounds so as not to distract listeners. Let us know if you have seen this trend and we will post it on our Facebook wall!

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Related trends: 'Muji the Japanese IKEA', 'Hidden Spaces'

07-03-2011 Energy from your Balcony

Until now, apartment residents have struggled to find alternative ways to produce their own energy and ‘do their bit’ to protect the environment from unnecessary harm. While people in private homes have the option to install solar panels and wind turbines on their roofs, those living in apartments often only have a balcony to work with. Designer Jonathan Globerson has solved this problem by inventing the Greenerator, a compact solar and wind energy collector that can be easily installed on an apartment balcony. It is also known as the “Residential Green Generator.” The design resembles a high-tech wind chime, and features a vertical wind turbine and flexible solar panels. As such, the Greenerator produces clean, renewable energy without relying on external sources. The energy generated by the Greenerator can be used to power computers and other appliances in the home. The good news for the environment is that the Greenerator can save 2000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually. Residents would also be pleased to learn that according to the designer, each system can reduce an apartment’s electricity bills by 6 percent.

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 Related trends: 'Hightech Gadgets + Handbags = Happiness', 'Save Energy While You Search the Web'

07-03-2011 The Bike of the Future

In 2010, the Seoul Cycle Design Competition offered designers to showcase their ideas and proposals about the future of biking. Danish designer Nils Sveje emerged as the winner, his design, which has been dubbed ‘Bike 2.0’, is a contemporary remake on this age-old form of transportation. The design is aesthetically simple, but deceivingly so when one discovers the amount of technology in the bike. Instead of a chain, the bike has a pedal-powered internal generation that is wired directly to the rear motor. Instead of shifters, it has two wireless rings on the handlebar, which make turning, gearing, and controlling the bike much easier. In addition, it features a stepless gearbox and a regenerative coaster brake. The Intelligent Cadence Levelling Feature keeps the rider pedalling at a consistent speed and intensity (which can be adjusted via the handlebars), thus imitating the purpose of exercise bikes. Bike 2.0 has the added bonus of being ecological, as seen with its intelligent energy usage mechanism, which, among other things, controls the rate at which riders charge the bike’s batteries. The bike’s lack of external features allows riders to personalise their bike with parts such as front forks and rims. Its aluminium frame has built-in lighting, and can be adjusted to fit riders of all sizes comfortably. The bike’s technology, aesthetics, and concepts prove that Bike 2.0 is only a glimpse into the future of bicycle design.

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Related trends: 'Bucket Bike', 'Animal Bike Seat Covers for the Derriere', 'Get a Head in the Latest Helmets'

02-03-2011 Power to the People

For the past few weeks, the political uprising in Egypt has been splashed over television screens and newspapers, thereby highlighting a new trend in politics: democracy.

The ‘government of the people’ in most cases comes about because of successful people’s movements and protests. The trend towards democracy has been in motion for the past few years, there have been elected democratic governments in Latin America (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador) as well as in several former Soviet Union countries. While the shift to democracy occurred over several years, for countries that have lived oppressively for as long as they can remember, it is a well-deserved achievement. Of course, the trend towards democracy can be observed through the current movements happening in the world. Egypt’s radical shift to democracy changed the political system to such an extent that it has been called the “January 25 revolution.” It has also brought awareness to the democratic cause in other African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The Egyptian revolution has encouraged Tunisia, Algeria, and China to boost their democratic movements. The Global Times confirmed the trend, saying, “the worldwide shift towards democracy is unstoppable.”

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01-03-2011 'Deprivation' Holidays

When most people think of their ideal holiday, they visualise sandy-white beaches, palm trees, amazing food, and total relaxation. However, many are now shunning traditional holidays in favour for the latest trend in vacationing: ‘deprivation holidays.’ For those who are unfamiliar with this trend, ‘deprivation holidays’ are boot camp-style getaways. They are designed to improve travellers’ lifestyle choices, health, and fitness. They involve extreme sport and exercise, detoxing, body image counselling, and nutrition advice. For most people, ‘deprivation holidays’ will yield quick and visible results, such as weight loss, toning, inner calm, and a much-needed lifestyle check.

Some locations adopt a more mind-body-soul method involving spas, saunas, meditation and yoga. While this may seem like the less strenuous option, guests are still expected to detox and push themselves physically, spiritually, and mentally. The World Travel Market’s 2011 annual trend report confirmed that “luxury is out, austerity is in,” and that these types of holidays are taking off in North America, Australia and New Zealand.


01-03-2011 Hotel Trend: iPads in Top Hotels

Upmarket hotels are always looking for ways to maintain their five-star rating, and many are becoming increasingly tech-savvy by providing iPads for their guests. In fact, the iPad is set to be a feature of all top hotels in 2011. Earlier this year, The Corporate Traveller named the iPad as the top emerging trend for the hotel sector. Some luxury hotels are putting tablets in rooms, and others such as the Sofitel, are offering guests the chance to use the iPad at check-in and in the hotel’s lounge areas. The Australian Business Traveller also released a report on this trend, saying that iPads are being used in select hotels in Australia, America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and that the number will only increase.

So far, the response to the trend of iPads in hotel rooms has been overwhelmingly positive. The iPad’s appeal lies in its big display, sleek look, novelty, amazing range of applications, and online services. Its plethora of uses benefits hotels by attracting guests and travellers by making their stay a little easier and enjoyable. A poll conducted by USA Today in late 2010 confirmed the demand for this trend, with 61% of hotel guests wanting hotels to make the iPad available to rent or use for free.

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Related trends: 'Floating Hotels', 'Light as a Feather'