International Lifestyle Studies – Trend Research – Concept Development

Maand: november, 2014

Modular hotel cabins

When I visited the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven 20th October this year, the so-called ‘’hub’’ drew my attention. I already knew about the initiative for using vacant buildings for the less fortunate people in our society so they have at least some form of shelter. I also knew about the business purposes (think about modular hotels at airports) where businessmen have the option to spend the night there in a very compact way. It’s a growing fact that in our society we often have to travel for business meetings or other job obligations. So our ‘’free time is often in combination with scheduled meetings and therefore we also have to schedule the recreational aspects of our lives. At the Dutch Design Week the hub is described as a modular hotel cabin, which makes it a recreational object. This is in my opinion new about such portable modules.


Functional and recreational
The Hub is a modular hotel cabin used in a new hospitality concept, which also could be used in vacant buildings so traveling people, can stay there. The module has an iPad where users can stay in touch with the outside world 24/7. But my opinion is that in this world where there are offered a lot of luxury vacations with options like this iPad, people who want to travel aren’t interested in this luxury anymore. The purposes of traveling have changed, so ways of spending the night are now only practical. We are more satisfied with a ‘’wonderlust’’ vacation where we will not spend half of our vacation in some kind of resort but where we can seek for the extraordinary things a different city or country could offer us. The way of lodging somewhere definitely isn’t that important anymore. We are looking for meaningful vacations where we can escape from our daily lives: ”escapism.”

Now it gets more interesting
The way I see the Hub (as an escape from our daily lives) in combination with a meaningful vacation made me look further for modular hotels.
I found an extreme example of some kind of hub: Penda’s modular bamboo hotel; based in Vienne and Beijing, which I think is more interesting than the Hub because it is in a different setting. A serene setting, where people are able to find inner peace or experience a ‘’pure leisure’’ feeling are offered by Penda. It is minimalistic but very functional so it fulfils the basic needs someone could have to escape from all the stimuli society can’t help but offer us on a daily basis. The Hub can be replaced to different vacant buildings and in a same way Penda is made out of bamboo, which also could be replaced and re-used. Bamboo is a very stable and sustainable material, which brings the experience behind Penda to an ecological level. The designers of Penda wanted to create an experience where users are more connected to nature ‘’Free with the birds’’. In some way they want to bring us back to the origin, which also is characteristic for the wonderlust trend.


Is Penda also interesting in the near future in our Western culture?
Penda is a very creative and functional way to use what nature offers us. We definitely do want to live more ecological for the last couple of years but we also want to experience a lot of things that often are not that great for our environment. I think initiatives like penda will expand because of the fact that it’s portable, useful and meaningful. It fulfils society’s needs to contribute in creating a sustainable environment. It is only a climatically issue that in the Western culture ideas like penda will not take over the ways we spend our holidays. But if we put the Hub in Penda’s context probably we will feel more at ease with the thought of spending our free time in ways that could bring us back to the original meaning of ‘’escaping from our daily lives’’ and find feelings of pure leisure again in this always working society.


Pictures are from: Penda


‘’You’re coming alone’’
‘’You’re sitting alone’’
‘’You’re eating alone’’


Almost everybody describes himself or herself as a social and spontaneous person who likes to participate in a lot of things which most of the time definitely is not true. We are selfish and absolutely not interested in getting social with everything and everyone. Most of the time there are organized events where people can come together and ‘’blablabla’’ about the most random stuff. So why isn’t there an event where you can come together with the intention of not talking to each other and just take a moment for yourself?

Pop-up event ‘’EENMAAL’’ fulfils people’s needs that want to experience something different all by themselves where they can have a good meal and find serenity.

Schermafbeelding 2014-11-16 om 14.37.03

What is EENMAAL?
‘’EEN maal’’ means ‘’ONE meal’’ which stands for the whole concept. Visitors can book a reservation, but just for one. The first association I made was that this whole idea was meant for people to book a table and socialize with strangers in the setting, so they get to know each other. But it’s absolutely meant for a nerve wrecking, forever alone, anti-social meal all by yourself with the intention of only focussing on your meal and really enjoying the tastes on your plate. I would need some self-confidence for taking a seat at EENMAAL because cold feelings of people staring at me already occur to me by only thinking about it. I would feel the need of hiding behind a laptop, magazine or mobile phone. Or I would order a bottle of wine and get tipsy so I would sit there and embarrass myself but couldn’t care less.

But isn’t that what this concept is all about? It makes me (and maybe more people) aware that we are anti-social human beings who hide behind their mobile phones in public places. So why is EENMAAL so shocking? Apparently it satisfies our needs in some way but it confronts us if we’re made more aware about our anti-social habits. For a lot of people a restaurant like this is perfect; they are able to disconnect from their daily routine and have a ‘’wonderlust’’ experience where they can escape for a moment in a minimalistic setting without any distractions. ‘’Escapism’’ is a way of mentally escaping from the unpleasant or banal aspects of the daily life. EENMAAL gives them an experience all for themselves with nobody to share it with. In this way we are not only selfish in our habits but also in our experiences. When was the last time you took a moment for yourself and really enjoyed a lunch or dinner?


At the end of the day this initiative will probably be not as shocking as it is today. We are getting used more and more to the thought of being alone in our offline life. Maybe we are getting back to the ‘’origin’’ so we will become social human beings again.


These pictures are from earlier editions of the EENMAAL event because they weren’t finished with the latest preparations when I passed by in Amsterdam. This edition will be November 28, 29 and 30th. A table costs €35 incl. drinks.

Hmmm chocolate!

There are a lot of people who love chocolate, only a handful I can think of don’t fancy it as much as probably the biggest part of society does.
There are a lot of different brands and types of chocolate to choose from and my favourite brand is ‘’Milka’’.
Milka is a chocolate brand from German origin. The name comes from the first two letters ‘‘mi’’, which stands for ‘’milk’’ and the last two letters ‘’ka’’ which stands for cacao.
Milka produces around 3 million chocolate bars a year to satisfy the big demand from consumers who want their products.


Why am I coming up with chocolate and my favourite brand?
Milka came up with a new marketing initiative called: ‘’het laatste stukje’’, where customers really get involved in the product. In every bar, one piece of chocolate is missing and consumers are given the opportunity to go online and send that specific piece to someone they believe is special. The way it works: someone can visit the website and fill in some basic information about that certain person like their address and after this, the piece of chocolate will be send that person’s way. In this way someone can say ‘’I am thinking about you’’ in a different and fun way.
I also did this myself and send ‘’my missing piece’’ to a roommate and she got it after a week.


Why is it cool?
Because of the new action Milka came up with, chocolate lovers are able to socialize with each other in a creative found way. It is a small simple gesture to send a piece of chocolate, which is often associated with tender motives, to someone who after receiving it probably feels appreciated and special. It touches them in a literally ‘’sweet way’’. Milka will cause feelings like enjoyment and excitement among its consumers.
The whole idea is a form of a ‘’virtuality and involvement’’ experience because now someone can go online and wait for a couple of days for an offline experience like receiving the piece of chocolate which also has a personal message and meaning linked to it. It can also be described as a ‘’wonderlust’’ experience because an ordinary chocolate bar now causes something special like feelings of love and appreciation. A little thing like the missing piece of chocolate is now made more important and it can surprise us. The meaning of chocolate may be diluted during the years but by this initiative from Milka it’s in the spotlight again, which is important if they want to keep selling their products and keep their target group satisfied.


What’s Milka’s advantage by doing this?
During the week I participated in the ‘’het laatste stukje’’ idea, I was thinking about my roommate, the brand ‘’Milka’’ and chocolate in general, several times. So the marketing strategic behind this initiative from Milka works pretty well. I also visited their website where I learned more about their product and got even more interested in the brand.




Everybody is eating sushi nowadays. Sushi really isn’t fancy anymore and it is basically as mainstream as something can get; it is a over-marketed ”flagship product” on its own. But because of the fact that a lot of people are common with different sushi restaurants, which are popping up everywhere, they all have their own opinion about if it’s freshly made and tasteful. Most of the time we are more likely to consume sushi in a restaurant or making it at home, than buying it in a supermarket because it tastes better. 


What is different in the world of sushi today?
In Tilburg, in a supermarket named ‘’Albert Heijn’’, there now is a sushi bar where customers can see how their sushi is freshly made right in front of them. Because sushi is so normal now in the western culture, the supermarket saw the opportunity to satisfy people’s needs. What first was just a small part of the immense grocery store is now a department on it’s own, just for different types of sushi. Now customers have more choice and they can combine what they fancy most.

I am being critical about this initiative because the freshly made sushi still ends up in coolers right in front of the bar…


To continue, I have to contradict my own opinion and tell you why it’s cool for customers…
…but because the sushi bar is such an eye catcher when entering the store, people are more likely to stop and buy some sushi so it probably won’t stay in the coolers all day. There is created a whole experience around the product, even with Japanese chefs, which is new for a typical Dutch grocery store like Albert Heijn. It arouses that customers fancy some sushi and feel that they need it. The turnovers around the product probably will rise also.


Is it hot for the long shot?
In this way, Albert Heijn can also raise the price of sushi or even different kind of Asian products. So the chance that this initiative will expand depends on how customers experience the sushi and what their opinion about the quality will be.
In the end what could be said about this initiative, is that it improves the credibility of Albert Heijn towards its customers.


Museumnacht Amsterdam!

We all want something to talk about that distinguishes us from others. That’s typical something characteristic for us as human beings. Humans want to befall as interesting and like they’ve experienced different things than others. Therefore we often go to events, concerts or parties. Museumnacht Amsterdam really gives people something to talk about!

What is Museumnacht Amsterdam for event?
Every year, the museums of Amsterdam will open their doors for guests during the ‘museum night’ where visitors will have access to different museums till 02:00 A.M.
This year (2014) is the 15th edition with 50 participating museums. Every year it’s unique because there are offered a lot of new activities, which are meant to impress visitors and give them a cultural experience in a different way than they’re probably used to. It is an initiative for young adults in the age group from 18- 35 years. Museumnacht Amsterdam is a form of collective marketing because the main goal of the museums is for visitors to come back more often.
Museumnacht Amsterdam is organized by her own foundation ‘n8’. They also have an app which visitors can download so they will be up-to-date about the latest news or how crowded a certain museum at a certain point is.


Why is it different and why does it satisfy visitors needs?
The Museumnacht gives guests a unique experience because they are able to participate in a lot of activities in a lot of different settings. It is an awesome event because being in a museum at this different point of time provides a certain excitement and perception that you are experiencing something very different. The usual ‘museum experience’ is turned over in something very unusual but it’s still very informative. Guests mention they have a certain ‘sentimental feeling’ regarding to Amsterdam and her art collections.
You can say it touches people’s hearths in some way.


The museums really put a lot of effort in their hospitality and the settings that they want to carry out into the world. As a result the authenticity of museums will be charted during this night and guests will be allowed ‘the experience’ of watching a collection and getting information about it in a very involved way. This is why visitors get this earlier mentioned ‘sentimental feeling’.

Will there be more editions?
Every year the museums have a different collection and other activities, which gives the Museumnacht in the next upcoming years every time the chance to put together such big event and impress people again and again. So it’s future growth potential depends on society’s interests in culture and cultural events.


Voor het consumeren van koffie met een gebakje, het drinken van een lekkere warme chocolademelk met slagroom of een ordinaire thee kun je bijna bij iedere horeca aangelegenheid terecht! Er is zoveel aanbod dat het moeilijk is om een keuze te maken.
En als je eenmaal een keuze gemaakt hebt kan het ook zijn dat je er ter plaatse achter komt dat nou net dat koffietentje waar jij je op hebt ingesteld gesloten is.
Zo bleek het koffietentje ‘locals’ in Tilburg, die voor haar gasten een gevoel van thuiskomen creëert en gebruik maakt van echte pure, eerlijke ambacht dus gesloten.

Maar waar een goedlopend huiselijk zaakje is, zal ook wel dicht in de buurt een concurrent zitten, dat was in dit geval: ‘Bagels and Beans’. Bagels and Beans trok mij eerst niet echt maar door open te staan voor een ‘experience’ ben ik er naar binnen gelopen.
Je loopt direct een bepaald concept naar binnen en kunt de sfeer dan ook meteen proeven. De huiselijke ‘living room society’ trend komt sterk naar voren door de knusse inrichting en het vriendelijk personeel. Ook werden hier de bestelde dranken zoals koffie en warme chocolademelk op een ambachtelijke en meer originele manier geserveerd. Ik voelde me er heel erg thuis en welkom, even ertussenuit om tot rust te komen heeft bij Bagels and Beans voor mij erg goed gewerkt.

De belevenis binnen Bagels and Beans wordt dus overgebracht door het creëren van een huiselijke sfeer wat gasten een goed gevoel geeft waardoor ze ook wat langer blijven zitten. De directe fysieke omgeving zoals het interieur van Bagels and Beans zorgt hier al voor een groot deel voor en het personeel zorgt voor het andere deel van deze ervaring.
Ik was bij Bagels en Beans met klasgenoten en je raakt meer met elkaar betrokken doordat je eens samen bent buiten het klaslokaal. De waarden vrije tijd, betrokkenheid, sociaal zijn en sfeer kwamen rond dit middaguur duidelijk naar voren.

Bagels and Beans krijgt het dus mooi voor elkaar om een simpele basale beleving zoals koffie of chocolademelk drinken te veranderen in een memorabele beleving die betekenis heeft omdat je als gast even de rust neemt en iets doet voor jezelf. Dit was in mijn geval het beter leren kennen van mijn klasgenoten.

     beleving1     beleving2     beleving

Het belevenismodel van Gool en Wijngaarden:

Inhoud: het creëren van een huiselijke sfeer wat gasten een goed gevoel geeft waardoor ze ook wat langer blijven zitten.

Vorm: de directe fysieke omgeving zoals het interieur van Bagels and Beans zorgt hier al voor een groot deel voor en het personeel zorgt voor het andere deel van deze ervaring.

Psychosociaal kader:
Individu: bagels and beans trok mij nooit zo dus mijn verwachtingen waren niet hoog. Veel kennis van het bedrijf heb ik niet en ik was ook niet bekend met hun concept. Maar uiteindelijk voelde ik me heel prettig in de ”echte” sfeer die het bedrijf probeert over te brengen.

Sociaal: ik was bij Bagels en Beans met klasgenoten en je raakt meer met elkaar betrokken doordat je eens samen bent buiten het klaslokaal.

Een simpele basale beleving zoals koffie drinken of chocolademelk drinken wordt door Bagels and Beans omgezet in een memorabele beleving (een beleving die je bijblijft.)