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In the year where we celebrate our 60th anniversary we launch this fifth issue of our TCHI Magazine, an edition with a theme applicable to the mindset of present times. The world has had to face, and deal with, a big reset. Since then, a lingering common thought is: “What now?”
Although it has been a challenging period, it also got us all back to the drawing board to reinvent our daily lives. We are looking back, learning from our past and letting go of what we don’t need, in order to grow towards the future. Therefore, in this TCHI #5 edition, we address the overarching themes of previous magazines. Looking back at how these have developed through time we found that they are even more relevant today than ever…
We have brought in a panel of 22 people from various backgrounds and asked them their perspectives on the themes of: Retail, Green, Brands and Connection (page 29). Besides that, we also delved further into these topics.
We’ve all come to realize that we live in a time with uncertainties. How does this affect us as humans who are used to planning way ahead (page 23)? How likely is it that we are going to (re)invent things that were once out of the question (page 13 and page 15)? Plus… brands that collaborate I find even more inspiring today than ever, as they manage to build on each other’s strengths and create a unique and positive impact in challenging times (page 45).
Alongside this, in business, I also noticed a shift in my personal reinventions. Where can I become really at one with nature, take a breather, recalibrate my balance? I discovered Cabin ANNA had an answer (page 21). Its design opened my eyes to our precious world even more. We must make sustainability a vast condition of our businesses and lifestyle (page 55).
We, at Tchai, create the physical and go to market in an engaging manner. However, we love to do it sustainably, to focus on the durability of our planet Earth (page 39). We have chosen to make this magazine “green”, using paper from durable solutions, such as: tissue derived from hops, malt and yeast.
The cherry on the top? Experience the festive cover, celebrating Tchai’s anniversary.
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In today’s world, human communication can be increasingly challenging – from digital meet ups to botox-enhanced conversational partners – the further removed we become from each other, the more we realise how vital it is to restore our connections and accurately identify emotion when opportunity allows. While we know that it’s not just our words but also our faces that can tell a story, most of us are not so quick to spot the most revealing facial indicators of all.
Facial expression, micro expression – what’s the difference? We asked psychologist and micro expression expert Job Boersma to explain: “Facial expressions are crucial in conveying our emotions. What can make this problematic is our ability to manipulate the facial muscles and thereby what the other person sees. A micro expression, however, is something beyond our control. Lasting only around a quarter of a second, it happens before we can even think about what our face is doing and reveals one of seven universal emotional states, namely anger, contempt, disgust, enjoyment, fear, sadness, or surprise.”
How can learning to read micro expressions help us make better connections? Micro expressions are so fleeting that we often miss them. And if we do perceive them, it is usually only on a subconscious level. Learning to detect micro expressions is about doing so with awareness. “Because the next step in the process is interpreting their meaning within the context of the situation,” Job tells us. “For example, an expression of fear – characterised by raised eyebrows, tensed lower eyelids and stretched, open lips – shows us that a person wants to avoid something, while a look of contempt most likely has to do with someone feeling superior to us in some way. Understanding what is at the core of the communication is where the chances lie; once you know what you’re dealing with, you are then able to address it and respond accordingly.”
So, how to become a micro expression master? To interpret a micro expression, you first have to know what to look for. The ‘dictionary’ for this is known as the Emotional Facial Action Coding System, which supplies an emotion-specific label for different sets of muscle movement. Recognising these sets requires training, which can be followed online at your own pace. Then you’ll be ready to put learning into practice during most daily interactions.
Want to test your skills right now? Find below stuff to train your emotional intelligence:
Emotion Connection app The Emotion Connection app is designed to help you grow your ability to read other’s emotions and improve your connections with friends, family, and coworkers. The multi-platform app makes emotional connection accessible: practice while waiting for a meeting, on the treadmill, or during your lunch break. Opportunities to develop your emotional intelligence start here!
The Facial Expressions of Emotion The Facial Expressions of Emotion – Stimuli and Tests (FEEST) is a 2002 computer test that measures the recognition of emotional facial expressions. One of the studies by Paul Ekman. Ekman (Washington D.C., February 15, 1934) is a psychologist and pioneer in research on emotions and facial expressions. Discover at an image taken from the study the slighty differences in the expression related emotions.
Surprise: raised eyebrows, eyes wide open, loose jaws, open mouth.
Collaborations seem an indicator of success in brand-land. But to claim the fame of an X sandwiched between your brand names takes more than simply working together. Here’s how the X-pro’s created real buzz.
uber x spotify—easy joy The collaboration that felt like it existed before it did – that’s how much sense it made. This collaboration highlighted how perfectly each brand understood their customer and simultaneously met their brand’s specific needs. Uber wanted to offer travellers a highly involved in-car experience, and Spotify looked for new ways —or better said; ‘moments’— to be enjoyed by their users. The kind of collaboration that just makes your brand that much more enjoyable, and twice as much a personalised experience. A stroller with a built-in phone holder and charging dock? A coffee bar with a postal service? We’re here to brainstorm!
gucci x balenciaga—glory takes guts The keep-your-friends-close-butyour-enemies-closer collaboration between Gucci and Balenciaga set the fashion world ablaze. During their runway show Aria, Gucci hacked Balenciaga by stealing their iconic staples, from typical silhouettes to eventually slapping both brand names all over a garment. Later Balenciaga hacked back by stealing the classic Gucci bag and replacing the signature GG monogram with reprinted BB’s as part of the accessories line titled ‘This Is Not A Gucci Bag’. This blurring of the lines between real and fake, stealing and inspiration, allowed both brands to strengthen their narrative as they told it together. It takes guts, but if done well, the glory is boundless.
kith x lucky charms—hyped nostalgia General Mills blasted out of a cereal rut by collaborating with Kith Treats, a Gen-Z favourite, for their holiday season campaign: Lucky Kithmas. Genius: mixing 90’s nostalgia with Kith’s pure hype. Kith is a streetwear label and store, selling the hottest kicks, clothing and, oh yea, snacks in their in-store Kith Treats bars. This X-mas collaboration brought a collection of unisex apparel and accessories adorned with the famous cereal brand’s mark through the Kith lens. Naturally, all Kith Treats fl agships turned into Lucky Kithmas bars, featuring ice-cream treats decorated with cereal of the Lucky Charms family. The cereal box plus the leprechaun mascot on it were dressed in custom, limited edition Kith design. Looking to draw some serious attention next Christmas? We suggest you follow this playbook and mix hype and nostalgia in a flurry of that Gen-Z celebration.
This is a pre-release item from the new TCHI Magazine: Number Five. Do you want to pre-request this new issue which is coming out soon? E-mail us your request, your name, address and postal code to: email@example.com to receive a brand new hardcopy of TCHI #5.
Some people want to live a different life, others create ways to make that happen.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of a present-day 24-hour existence, it isn’t strange to desire a life completely o the grid. For some it may sound a bit extreme but opting for such a lifestyle —and being surrounded by nature only— can result in finding freedom and tranquillity as well as adventure. For those vowing to get out and experience nature —but who can only imagine a quirky cabin or glamping space— let Cabin ANNA and the view of trees and open skies leave you breathless.
The concept sprang from a vision of designer and architect Caspar Schols, and his deep passion for basic living spaces —work or recreational— in the beautiful outdoors. By developing a cabin that makes dwelling between birches and oaks as comfortable as nestling at home, he planted the seed of experiencing the freedom of the open air whilst inside. ANNA has rocketed as a lifestyle brand because of its amazing biophilic design that seamlessly invites in an epic dose of natural surroundings.
This is shown by its adjustability for the outdoor experience. ‘Simply’ by sliding the metal roof and the outer wooden walls (set on runners) apart from the framework, it allows for a great open-air experience. When the walls and roof are slid ‘out’ the inner beam-and-glass layer is visible, allowing people inside complete immersion in the outdoor setting. The layers of the house can be played with as the base and the elements are all dynamic. “Just like the way you dress yourself to suit di erent weather conditions, occasions and moods”, Schols would say.
Cabin ANNA can be used as a lodging, an o ce and is even suitable for meetings. Whether these are gatherings with friends, work-related brainstorming or yoga classes, the open ambience of the cabin is an ultimate spot to host people and uneash creativity. ANNA plans to reach beautiful locations around the world, but you can already find their cabins in the picturesque scenery of Dutch nature reserves.
Out of over 5000 contestants worldwide, award winning Cabin ANNA has been named Project of the Year 2021 by A+Architizer.
Interested in going completely o grid? You can buy or rent a Cabin Anna here, and you can also discover their mind-blowing Instagram page: @cabin_anna
Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but could it be that too many innovative ideas are met with everyday skepticism?
Take blockchain, for example: a system for recording blocks of information that are digitally initialed – like a unique fingerprint – making it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system.
Despite considerable scepticism, the distributed ledger technology behind blockchain has already powered important steps forward: from enhancing personal identity security and securing medical data to supply chain monitoring and beyond. And what’s further down the road?
Well, there’s a chance blockchain could also fundamentally change the way we consume experiences – including art, fashion, music, and film. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in particular, are interchangeable, one-of-a-kind digital assets linked to physical entities. They can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, even if – breaking with traditions stretching back thousands of years – they have no tangible form of their own.
These digital trading cards are already changing hands for significant amounts of money. An animated Gif of Nyan Cat – a 2011 meme of a flying pop-tart cat – sold for over $500,000, while Christie’s sale of an NFT by digital artist Beeple for $69m set a new record for digital art.
So, NFTs are clearly up and coming… But what’s in it for brands? Above all, the rise of NFTs underlines that technology is shifting how we value and appreciate consumer goods. While we all have basic needs that need fulfilling (food, shelter, etc.), humans will always crave (and therefore value) newness and innovation.
The advanced technology that enables new forms of digital ownership also ensures scarcity and uniqueness. These too are strong drivers of emotional connection; people want what others can’t have. If things are scarce or in short order, they are inherently tipping the supply-demand balance in favour of the owner.
As experience creators, brands across industries should pay careful attention to the opportunities surrounding NFTs, as well as the factors that make them so attractive to people around the world. Indeed, as with all emerging technologies, surely there is no better moment than now to explore the possibilities of NFT’s to add value for your audiences.
Need further inspiration? Watch Nike shaking up the sneaker world or the NBA introducing NFT Top Shot tokens… With such exciting brands getting involved in this space, ‘NFTs’ may soon stand for Non Forgettable Trading!
Any company that “makes stuff ” should look critically at diminishing its residual waste. What is left can be repurposed in many creative ways. Turning residual leftovers into a new material is a best-case zero waste scenario. We all want to counter global warming, so our frame of mind is now set on reforming waste into all kinds of useful new products.
When Maikey van Eck, a young product designer, toured the production floors of Tchai during a job interview he stumbled upon a solid material in a variety of colours. It was residual waste from a powder coating machine for metals, a substance that has no further use. How can this be recycled? thought Maikey. The material also intrigued him because marbled effects or piled layers of colours can be created with it. He began experimenting to determine if this waste substance could be used on an industrial scale as new material. After much trial and error Maikey concluded that it could be carried out in practice. The waste can be kneaded into any tri-dimensional form. Using a heat press mould with a silicon coating would generate a smooth result. Although the material is fragile, it is perfectly useable for manufacturing products that endure little physical stress.
Maikey is now developing conceptual designs for lifestyle products such as lamp fixtures. The effect of light shining through this product is luminous because the material is slightly translucent. What is special is that each product is one-of-a-kind, because the composition of the powder coating is always different, as are the marble effects. We are looking for more designs for this sleek industrial waste to connect the loose ends of raw industrial material and create a sustainable loop.
The World Piece
How far would you go to bring the world together? That was the question posed earlier this year by the travel search site momondo. Their aim: to unite people from across the globe through a continuous single-line tattoo. The response was overwhelming. Many thousands replied, offering their bodies as a canvas to send the world a powerful message: there is more that unites than divides us.
A total of 61 strangers from different countries and cultures were selected to take part and to form a living artwork that is now known as The World Piece. Listening to each participant explain his or her reasons for committing to this project, it becomes clear that no matter how unique, every one of their stories has an element we can all relate to in some way.
Bringing it all together was down to world-renowned tattoo artist Mo Ganji, who inked each individual with a design to reflect both the personal and universal by means of one unbroken black line. Standing together, side by side, the continuous tattoo runs freely from body to body, the ever-flowing pattern reminding us that connections are crucial to us as human beings – that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Imagery, courtesy of Søren Solkær Source & credits: momondo.com
We are suffering from a contemporary paradox: never before were we so technically connected, yet never before did we feel so disconnected from ourselves. Research shows that depression rates, stress levels and feelings of being completely out of touch with our own lives have never been so high and are all directly linked to our screen time. The answer to this problem comes in the form of another paradox: to reconnect we need to disconnect. And the best way to do that, is to soak up some good ol’ nature.
From the Alps for asthmatic patients to the Dead Sea for skin conditions, physical malaise has been treated with nature for centuries. However, most of the healing properties of nature have been replaced by medicine offered by the pharmaceutical industries. And with this reliance on pharmaceuticals, we lost a valuable connection to nature. But modern ailments resulting from our addiction to our devices, have rekindled an appreciation for nature and what it can do for the body and, even more so, the mind. Because nature as a backdrop to mental and physical restoration can literally put things into perspective.
In Scotland, for example, doctors can now officially recommend patients suffering from depression and anxiety-related issues, to touch the sea, take a dog for a walk or bury their face in the grass. Norwegian child psychologist Maren Østvold Lindheim helps children overcome traumas by simply sitting in the grass with them or by taking them fishing. However, not all patients can spend extended time outside. The good news is, you don’t have to lose yourself in the woods or trek to the ocean. A simple view or even the sounds of nature have a tremendous and positive impact on our health.
Therefore Lindheim, Oslo University Hospital and the Friluftssykehuset Foundation built a part of the hospital in the woods, resembling a cabin or treehouse. While it has all the hospital facilities inside, the outside experience and sensation of nature permeate the entire space. Similarly, the Dutch Rehabilitation Centre Groot Klimmendaal is set amongst trees and built so that patients always have a view of the woods. The scenic premises, which you can see in the imagery, is a striking design by Koen van Velsen Architecture.
More and more hospitals, learning environments and big companies are embracing the benefits of biophilic design. Amazon famously brought the forest into its headquarters with The Spheres Building. Their employees can work from ‘tree houses’, relax in ‘birds nests’ and enjoy a sense of nature. Stress levels go down, productivity and joy go up.
So, if you’re feeling the burden of your connectedness, put down that phone, step away from our buzzing society and find a tree to hug. You’ll feel a lot better.
Staying in a hotel is usually part of the travelling experience. And we are accustomed to travelling towards them. But what if hotels have wanderlust themselves? It makes sense in this day and age, given the number of shops and restaurants that pop-up or come on wheels. Accor Hotels has teamed up with French design studio Oraïto to launch a nomadic hotel concept. It is called Flying Nest. The idea of using shipping containers for easy relocation is just as clever and minimalistic as its design. And luckily, is far from rustic.
Each 12m2 container has a snug wooden siding and a massive window to enjoy the view wherever it is perched. Such as on a snowy mountain in a French ski-resort, one of Flying Nests’ premiere locations. The hotel is self-sufficient, so it can be as roaming as human travellers, allowing us to have a good night’s sleep in some of the more off-the-grid locations where we can truly connect with serenity. Or with the hustle of an urban landscape. Like at the 24 Hours of Le Mans where rooms are set up close to the track. It is a concept that offers a small-scale, almost intimate, connection with a specific place in the world. Which essentially is the purpose of travelling for most nomadic citizens. Also, by designing the hotel in such a way that each container-room connects to another by a communal balcony, guests can interact with each other.
Flying Nest rethinks hotel concepts in more than a wandering way.
Humans. If you follow the news it becomes easy to believe that we’re the type of creatures who will always find differences amongst ourselves, and then love to pick a fight over them. But then you discover something like The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (which makes the case for freedom of religion and equal treatment under the law), with thousands, if not millions, of active Pastafarians and you realise: humans actually like to look for common ground.
We’ll always find others to connect with. Whether it’s over something as essential as, say, the environment, or something that’s seemingly small and insignificant, such as love for a certain lipstick or toy. And when we do find that common ground, we build an engaging community around it.
The power of people coming together on a shared subject is incredible. Businesses have known this for some time and have put it to good use. Sephora has one of the world’s best brand communities designed around a common love for beauty products, resulting in a thriving business.
Lego also built an incredible brand community with Lego Ideas. Lego enthusiasts of all ages (literally!) are offered the opportunity to put their design ideas forward. Other enthusiasts vote on their favorite options and give feedback. The most popular designs are put into production and the designer is rewarded with a percentage of the product sales. It’s a brilliant move: Lego gets free design ideas and a ton of valuable consumer data. On top of that it keeps its community actively engaged and feeling relevant.
“The power of people coming together on a shared subject is incredible…”
Another example is the crowd sourcing campaign by a Canadian community in September 2019. They raised 3 million Canadian dollars for the British Columbia Parks Foundation to buy nearly 2,000 acres in Princess Louisa Inlet to save it from being bought by forestry companies and developers. Likewise, tiny NGO’s (Nongovernmental organizations) such as Because We Carry have a huge impact on the lives of stranded immigrants in Lesbos, because of the many individuals that support its cause.
It turns out that truly no man is an island. And for that matter, no brand or cause is either. For anything to flourish, a community, whether that’s on or offline, is its necessary fertile soil. Haven’t found yours yet? No worries. If The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster proves anything, it’s that no matter how niche, we will all fit in somewhere.