Amazon House in A Box and 3D-Printed Fashion: Key Insights from Retail-Tech Events at Milan Design Week 2019
The Coresight Research team attended Milan Design Week during the weekend of April 12–14, 2019. In this report, we feature key insights from our visits to retail-tech-related events organized around the city.
- Amazon “House in a Box” displayed the company’s smart-home devices and the latest innovations from its home and furniture shopping portal, such as an augmented reality (AR) function.
- Google showcased wearable technology developed in collaboration Johns Hopkins University to measure the physical and physiological responses of wearers to the lights, smell, sounds and visual aesthetics in its exhibition space.
- Ikea introduced its new Symfonisk table lamp and bookshelf speakers, developed in collaboration with smart-speaker brand Sonos.
- We spoke to fashion designer Ganit Goldstein, who collaborates with Israeli tech company Stratasys to produce 3D-printed fashion and accessories. Goldstein envisions a not-so-distant future in which fashion items will be completely customized through the use of body scanners and 3D printers.
The Coresight Research team attended Milan Design Week 2019 during the weekend of April 12–14. Milan Design Week consists of events organized throughout the city in conjunction with the furniture trade show Salone del Mobile, which took place April 9–14 at exhibition space Fiera Milano Rho.
Technology firms and retailers including Amazon, Google and Ikea took part in Milan Design Week with installations and interactive spaces. Here, we report the key insights from our tour of events related to retail technology.
Amazon: House in a Box
At its Milan headquarters, Amazon organized House in a Box, an exhibition space composed of a reproduction of two apartments in which it exhibited its home and furniture private labels Movian and Alcove and its Alexa-powered smart-home Echo devices.
Amazon also introduced the latest innovations from its home and furniture website, such as an AR-powered feature that enables users to visualize through their smartphones how a piece of furniture would look in a room; and Amazon Discover, a new Amazon.com page layout for home and furniture that features improved customization and browsability.
Google: A Space for Being
Google displayed an interactive space that consisted of three rooms with different interiors that stimulated visitors through the principles of neuroaesthetics, a scientific discipline that studies the impact of visual aesthetics on the human brain. To measure the emotions that the different rooms generated, visitors were required to wear a wristband capable of detecting the physical and physiological responses of the wearer to the lights, smell, sounds and visual aesthetics of each of room. The wristband was developed by Google in partnership with the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University.
Feel Home with Ikea
Ikea used Design Week to introduce two Symfonisk products—a table lamp and bookshelf incorporating Wi-Fi-enabled speaker systems using technology from smart-speaker brand Sonos. The line will be available in Ikea stores from August 2019. These products were showcased alongside other connected devices such as a home theater system, LED lights and smart curtains to show how users can synchronize various home devices.
Fashion brand COS collaborated with architect Arthur Mamou-Mani for Conifera, an installation displayed in the courtyard of a 16th century palace—Palazzo Isimbardi—made of 3D-printed bioplastic blocks. The futuristic design of the installation contrasted with the classical design of the palace. COS used this to raise awareness of environmental issues and how the future of materials used in design will increasingly be biodegradable with a low impact on the environment. A 3D printer on site demonstrated how the bricks were printed.
The Impossible Story of Israel Design
At The Impossible Story of Israel Design, an exhibition space dedicated to designers from Israel, we met Shir Albag of OKA (One of A Kind Accessories), a company that designs and manufactures fashion accessories such as handbags out of used plastic billboards. Every piece is unique and the recycling of material drives the brand’s appeal among environmentally conscious consumers.
Finally, we talked to Ganit Goldstein, a fashion designer who collaborates with Israeli tech company Stratasys to produce 3D-printed apparel and accessories. Goldstein envisions a not-so-distant future in which standard sizes will be surpassed by technology that scans customers body shapes to enable brands to completely customize sizes, shapes and styles according to the data and preferences of each individual shopper and to use this information to produce customized items through 3D printing.