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 like the Vitra Eames Lounge Chair together with objects from the Cambodia trip or functionally minimal. With a reinforced Home (Office) situation blurring the boundaries between private and public, profession more and more. The learned separation of living spaces such as KitchenWork Living room increasingly dissolves. 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 were always 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. Suddenly, however, this was passé. In the past months, our attention has turned inward. 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 and (multi) functionality.

Before COVID-19, it was already known that rooms and their learned functions change. However, this was reinforced by the current developments. Therefore, they bring demands and opportunities for the design of private and professional living spaces and thus potential for new products, communication, cooperations and target groups. Any company that reacts to this and looks ahead, has the opportunity to shape the industry. Those who close their eyes, will see the black side.

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 it would also suit as a dining chair. Aesthetics and functionality should be combined in a way that they do justice to such hybrid demands.”

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 already at home, everything else was bought online. But why now move to the crowded gym or share the time at the spa with other people when all of this is also possible at home - even in a more convenient and hygienic manner? Before COVID-19, companies already offered solutions - such as Dornbracht's LifeSpa - which can now become more relevant than ever as home solutions are becoming the conditio sine qua non for the city apartment.

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. Anyways, wasn’t it always too crowded, too loud? The private dinner therefore experiences a new kind of trendiness and quality. The social circle turns into 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 instead of being an isolated room in which the function of preparing food is done: Community and living in an offline mode are in the foreground - however, a few digital gadgets would indeed be nice.

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.

live and corona

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 our needs.

The NEO luxury Trends

Let's take a look at the seven NEO luxury trends, whereby 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 – though, without losing relevance.

1. Sharing and 2nd Life

Millennials in particular are global nomads and already accustomed to flexible lifestyles due to their international education. The lockdown brought a feeling of settling, but also held up a mirror. How much emphasis was placed on experiences outside the home, how much on flexible rental models instead of ownership? However, for the living industry, rental models could be quite relevant if we consider two streams: first, the desire for variety, since we spend more time at home. Second, if we go back to being nomads and temporary living becomes more common again.

Regarding second life, the desire for authentic products with history is given. Hereby, the living industry can learn fom others. 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 only left to external platforms, but also seized by companies and manufacturers themselves.

2. Digitization and digital detox

Digitization and direct access to end-consumers - especially to younger target groups - will play a fundamental role in luxury brand management: configurate, inspire, inform online and get in contact with the brand is important. Westwing has shown that it is possible to buy furniture online without seeing, touching or checking it beforehand. 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 displayed - emotionally and in detail -, what 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? For example, the British wallpaper and paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball inspires online by the playful element of infotainment.

cocooning

Image source Westwing / Instagram

3. Health & Mindfulness

The desire for healthy lifestyles and sustainability, opens up new business and product opportunities. Products should contribute to the quality of life as health is our most important asset. We consume more consciously and also question the origin of the material. Hereby, the "Made in Germany" seal and the transparency of the factories could play an important role. 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. On the one hand, this depends on the COVID-19 status - due to medical and economic factors - and on the other hand on the dominant mindset - whether to focus on the inside or the outside. We are currently in a semi-normal situation and during COVID-19. The home has become more relevant, while the outside is still important as well as possible insofar as we can travel and visit restaurants restrictively again.

It will be shown whether post COVID-19 means an increased relocation to the inside and home - Cocooning 4.0. Or whether we focus more on the outside again and get to a (never) back to normal because activities like traveling are just not possible anymore as we had know them. It remains exciting, but also:The future looks bright. Because, as so often, it depends on the perspective we take one and what we 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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