Cocooning 3.0 - When the inside becomes the new outside

With the reinforced home office situation, boundaries between private and public become blurred. The learned separation of living spaces dissolves. What effects does this have on rooms and furniture and how long will this new cocooning wave last?

By expert Julia Riedmeier "Neo Luxury"

cocooning
Source & Copyright by Walter Knoll (@walterknoll_official)

Author: Julia Riedmeier

Your own four walls have always been a refuge, living and working space, living space. Mirror of our personality. Whether furnished by the interior designer, eclectic with classics such as the Vitra Eames Lounge Chair together with objects from the Cambodia trip or functionally minimal. With an increased home (office) situation, the boundaries between private and public, work are becoming increasingly blurred. The learned separation of living spaces such as kitchens, work rooms and living rooms is also increasingly dissolving. Rooms and pieces of furniture become multifunctional. Demands on these are increasing. There is also the question of whether the cocooning wave remains. This depends on the one hand on the corona status and on the dominant mindset.

Importance of home, living, design

We have always been on the go: whether for business trips or privately. The Apple Wallet filled with boarding passes, hotel stays, tickets. Frequent traveler status, vacation trips to instagrammable places or money-can't-buy experiences were the new status symbols, which seem to have replaced the classic luxury of ownership. But this was suddenly a thing of the past when our attention turned inward in recent months. On ourselves, on the places, spaces in which we live, on objects with which we shape our living space. How we live became more important than ever: in terms of quality, design performance, (multi) functionality.

It was already known before Corona that rooms, learned functions and designs of rooms change, but this was reinforced precisely by the current developments. These therefore bring with them demands and opportunities for the private and professional design of the living space and thus potential for new products, communication, cooperation, target groups. Anyone who reacts to this as a company and looks ahead has the opportunity to help shape the industry. Those who close their eyes will see black.

Balances shift

When the outside turns inside, the balances shift in the core dimensions of work, leisure, travel, home and thus our allocation of resources - time or money - and self-definition - to have or to be. Less time in the office means more home office and thus an increasing relevance for new, lifestyle (re) products. Especially when the classic study is no longer available and the co-working space mentality finds its way into the kitchen office. That's why Markus Benz, CEO of Walter Knoll, rightly asks:

“Why does an office chair have to look like an office chair in order to fulfill its function? It would be ideal if this would also offer itself as a dining chair. Aesthetics and functionality should be combined in such a way that they do justice to such hybrid applications. ”

If we look at leisure behavior, fewer visits to the gym or spa lead to more home gym, home spa. During the lockdown we were prompted to rethink and react. YouTube gurus like Pamela Reif or new devices like the Peloton Bike were booming. The yoga mat was available, everything else was retrofitted. But why move to the crowded gym or share the rest time in the spa with other people when all of this is also possible at home and when it is even more convenient and hygienic? Before Corona, companies had already offered solutions - such as Dornbracht's LifeSpa - which can now become more relevant, because home solutions are becoming a conditio sine qua non for city apartments.

Socializing at home is also taking on a new dimension

When visits to the restaurant are no longer a must-have experience, the trend of home cooking increases. It was always too crowded, too loud. The private dinner therefore experiences a new kind of trendiness and quality. The Social Circle becomes the Inner Circle. The kitchen and the living / dining room become the heart of the home again. But here too, more than ever, it is expected that the kitchen should ideally fit in as a piece of furniture and not be a room in which the function of preparing food is isolated: in the foreground are community, living in offline mode - but with a few digital ones Gadgets.

The millennials in particular show that there is a lot of beauty in old-school rituals. A lot of mindfulness in taking time for a dinner for one, two or more, for which the Saarinen table with the heavy St-Louis crystal glasses, the hand-painted "Balcon Du Guadalquivir" porcelain by Hermès and the handmade Riva silver cutlery by Robbe & Berking is stocked. We again appreciate the quality of the materials, feel, craftsmanship.

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Source & Copyrigh by Robbe & Berking

These moments of pausing bring us (again) to another level of consciousness. We increasingly feel the need to recognize the people behind the brand names. Reject abstract brand constructs that do not give transparency. But also prefer brands that understand us and pick us up in our needs.

The NEO luxury Trends

Let's take a look at the seven NEO luxury trends, three trends in particular can be the basis for product and service solutions. It can be seen that trends that were previously present are on the one hand intensifying, on the other hand shifting in their definition but not losing relevance.

1. Sharing and 2nd Life

Particularly Millennials are global nomads and already accustomed to flexible lifestyles through their international training. The lockdown brought the feeling of arrival, but also held up the mirror. How much was the focus on experiences outside the home, how much on flexible rental models instead of ownership and anchor? However, rental models could be very exciting for the living sector if we start from two currents: first, the desire for variety, since we spend more time at home.

Second, if we become nomads again and temporary living becomes more relevant again. But the counter trend of ownership stands clearly against this. The desire for authentic products with history. Other industries can learn from 2nd-Life. What is already working for the watch industry could also be interesting for the living industry: the consumer’s desire for vintage products is there, the certification is rare. Thus, Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) could be recognized as an opportunity and the potential not be left to external platforms, but used by companies and manufacturers themselves.

2. Digitization and digital detox

Digitization and access to end customers - especially to younger target groups - will play a fundamental role in luxury brand management: online configuration, inspiration, information and contacting the brand is important. Westwing has shown that it is possible to buy furniture online without having felt it before. The very essential question, regardless of the industry, is how the shopping experience is created. How are the products shown - zoom in / out function, video, - the colors and materials - emotionally and in detail - described, which additional services are offered? Is it possible to make an online appointment with the interior designer or to book master classes with the creative director. So: How can the brand be experienced without focusing on pure product sales? The British wallpaper and paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball is already picking up interested parties online in the sense of infotainment.

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Image source Westwing / Instagram

3. Health & Mindfulness

The desire for healthy lifestyles, sustainability, opens up new business and product opportunities. Products should contribute to the quality of life, because health is our most important asset. We consume more consciously and also question the origin of the material. The “Made in Germany” seal and the transparency of the factories could play an important role here. Likewise, the development of new surface structures that meet new hygienic needs.

Future scenarios: will cocooning remain?

Finally, the question arises whether the cocooning wave remains. This depends on the one hand on the corona status - due to medical and economic factors - and on the dominant mindset - focus on the inside or outside. We are currently in semi-normal and corona time. The home has gained in importance, the outside is important and possible insofar as we can travel restrictively again, restaurant visits are possible again.

It will be shown whether post Corona means an increased relocation to the inside and at home - Cocooning 4.0. Or whether we focus more on the outside again and come to a (never) back to normal, since activities such as travel are simply no longer possible as we know them. It remains exciting, but also: the future looks bright. Because, as so often, it depends on the perspective and what you do with it as a consumer and company.

Cocooning Wave - Corona Status vs. Dominant Mindset

cocooning

Source: KEYLENS / INLUX

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Text: Julia Riedmeier

Julia Riedmeier is a managing partner of INLUX, an owner-managed strategy consultancy focusing on premium and luxury brands. As a millennial, Julia takes a critical look at established business models. In contact with start-ups in France, Switzerland and Germany, it is important to her to bring this spirit into her projects and to stimulate new ways of thinking. Especially in the area of ​​digital strategies and neo-luxury concepts. In addition to her advisory work, Julia holds a teaching position at the International University of Monaco and the management of the luxury module at Munich Business School. Her doctoral thesis is dedicated to the topic of luxury brand management in times of co-creation.

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