The Bazaar LA
 
Could these cones of caviar from The Bazaar in Los Angeles, CA translate to a combo-meal for mainstream America? 
 
Modernist chef José Andrés shares his plans with Vanity Fair on "... influencing how we feed the many. We only feed the few."  His solution? "You achieve that through the fast-food restaurants. I guarantee you that in the next 10 to 20 years we are going to see more and more fast-food restaurants lead by chefs." 
 
Intrigued? Read the interview here
 
Scratch Nail Wraps
 
Burkatron Nails
{photo: Scratch}
 
Artists are taking on the beauty industry with a colorful take on graphic design. 
 
Founded by Chelsea Kent, Scratch was born out of the simple idea "that nail wraps are really cool but most of the designs currently out there are not." Unlike traditional nail wrap companies, they team up with incredible designers, bloggers, and illustrators from around the world to develop a new monthly collection from a featured artist, and directly support the artist with a percent commission of every sale. 
 
Scratch Nail Wraps
{photo: Scratch}
 
Already in the market with limited designs out of their Los Angeles, CA studio, Scratch's latest collection features Caroline Burke, Kaylah, and Payton & Brian as part of a Kickstarter Campaign. As of last week, the project had exceeded its funding goal. Check out the fun video highlighting all of the designs or pledge your support (we did). 
 

 

We love how Scratch is making cool patterns available to a larger audience with a DIY product that does not require steady hands or time at the salon. 

 
 
Lessism
Since 2004 we have highlighted a variety of trends with our bias-free reporting, so it’s only natural that we want to wrap up 2012 with a small but meaningful proof of concept.
 
Our trendscaping™ timeline is as follows:
 
 
As far back as April 2008, we wrote about the untapped opportunities at captive venues and pointed to examples at Heathrow, Sea-Tac, and Hong Kong. Since that initial post, LAX and LaGuardia have stepped up their game with new restaurants and upscale shopping in an attempt to entice landlocked customers. Last week, The Hollywood Reporter revealed plans for a new 2,200-square-foot Fred Segal boutique will be "the largest retail space there outside of duty-free." Read all of our posts about Captive Venues here.
 
Wasara
 
2008 was also a good year for spotting products that needed maturity to become mainstream. We love how this single varietal honey caught the eye of Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, and how Wasara disposable paperware gained press and distribution in the past year. Both products employ insights outlined in our 2012 Forecast and highlight innovation. To see examples of how the Global Locality trend has prevailed over one-size-fits-all mass-production, click here.
 
Scotch and Soda
 
Menswear, as a category, has exploded since we outlined retailers who have targeted male customers as a $51 billion shopping industry in January 2011. We touched on the subject again this spring with hard data on how the luxury segment is leading the trend and growing at a rate of about 14% per year with online preferences and behaviors of affluent males. Those posts were a precursor to Bloomberg’s proclamation in October that "Fashion is the fastest-growing segment of online commerce, and it’s being propelled by an atypical source: men." Read more about the debonair digital dude here.
 
 
The five insights that highlighted innovation and consumer intelligence for building successful brands across digital mediums, and all five of them found success in retail experiences, marketing campaigns, and consumer packaged goods. When we wrote,Couch commerce will leave the living room with technology paving the way for products and services to be available using location services, flash sales, and social networking,” we meant every word.  It’s hard to argue that cultural consciousness, the growth of mobile/tablet consumption, new technologies, the editorial voice, and simplicity have not made their mark this year. Please click on the individual links to view the corresponding posts, products, places referencing our forecast: Global Locality, Smart Commerce, Augmented Reality, Life Story Labeling, and Less-ism.
 
All in all – it’s been a fantastic year for us. We hope that you continue to find morsels of inspiration to provoke thought and discussion, as well as to influence future strategies. Your referral or forward is the highest complement we can receive.
 
Blak Designmart
Blak Designmart
 
Nothing says timely promotion like a holiday pop-up. From NYC to Los Angeles – the retail scene is eager to cash in on selective partnerships, offline activation, and limited-edition wares.
 
Act One: Smart (Social) Commerce in London
E-tail giant eBay launched the Social Shopping pop-up shop in the Covent Garden neighborhood of London earlier this month.

 
According to Retail Week, the company launched November 30th to capitalize on what was expected to be the busiest online shopping weekend. The short-lived event, which closed December 2nd, housed in-store screens that displayed top recommendations from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and encouraged shoppers to download eBay's apps to browse and shop products in the pop-up store.

eBay Head of Buyer Experience Carrie Bienkowski said: “By pairing views of social communities with eBay’s own vast selection of top Christmas gifts and mobile expertise we hope to give shoppers lots of inspiration and put a little bit of fun into Christmas shopping. Mobile technology is a catalyst for retail growth and is changing the way we shop. Consumers now carry a global showroom in their pocket and are increasingly as inclined to seek recommendations online and shop mobile as visit the high street.”

Research from the company shows Augmented Reality and 3D technologies could boost the retail industry by nearly $4bn by 2014.

Act Two: A hotel hosts DailyCandy's brick-and-mortar
The email newsletter turned lifestyle brand opened popup shops selling handpicked gifts by DailyCandy editors at The Standard hotels in New York, Miami and Los Angeles earlier this week.
 
“We know from our insights that when digital brands do an offline activation, it resonates with consumers” said Ashley Parrish, Editor-in-Chief of DailyCandy to WWD.
The assortment, which includes a Ryan McGinness To-Do Calendar and beach towels by Cecily Brown, will be offered in-store and online at standardhotels.myshopify.com through December 31st.

While a Maison Martin Margiela-Ligne 13 Claustrophobic notebook is certainly unique, we’re particularly intrigued at how the brand is banking on cross-pollination from locals and travelers in a hotel setting to push sales.

Act Three: A collective approach to the Darkest Days
30+ emerging designers, creatives, and artisans joined forces this past weekend in Seattle for Brite Collective’s Blak Designmart Pop-up at Caffe Vita’s Bean Room in Seattle.
 
 
The event, which felt more like a old-school warehouse pop-up in 2006 than the manicured and excessively sponsored upmarket versions of today, mixed limited edition black-themed merchandise (representative of the cities darkest days) with freestanding branded stalls featuring products outside the motif.
 
We love shopping local and appreciate the refreshing spin on the weeks leading up to the winter solstice.
 
Act Four: Socially-minded menswear in Williamsburg
Nomad Market, features classic men's clothing and accessories manufactured in collaboration with local craftspeople around the world on the second floor of Hickoree's Floor Two in Brooklyn. The latest in a series of socially-minded pop-ups from Apolis launched mid-November and will run through the end of December.
 
{Photo: Apolis Global}
 
The traveling installation includes photo and video essays from the communities with which Apolis Global co-created to see how futures are impacted by each item. They brand calls the hand-on model “advocacy through industry.”
 
We love how brands are targeting customers and profits using philanthropic causes to better the retailing industry. Isn’t that what the spirit of Christmas is all about? 
 
Bona Drag Mixtape
 
One of the best parts of shopping online with Bona Drag is the mixtape available with purchases over $25. The compilation rotates seasonally, every six months, “introducing new ideas” through the parallels of music and fashion. Past editions have included emerging and established musicians — with songs by Beach House, Lissy Trullie, The Black Keys, and Family Band.
 
The concept of creating a dialogue between your eyes and ears is also being embraced in Portugal by a gourmet sandwich shop that delivers food with a song handpicked by the chef.  According to Springwise, each of the seven “Soundwiches” come with a musical tin to create the perfect ambience for eating lunch.
 
{Source: Springwise}
 
These examples show how songs can be more than a background track to the shopping experience or a SKU for impulse purchases. A “gift with purchase” is hardly a new marketing ploy, but as companies look to create a more authentic connection between brands and goods, we hope that music will become more than a seasonal theme or aspirational proposition.
 
Next year, look for the senses to become more important influencers of moods.
 
build a beer
{photo: Machine Project}
 
Here's a new spin on personalization from Machine Project in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. 
 
The art gallery is hosting an educational, deconstruction, and consumption class/event tomorrow to explore the distinctive flavor of various beers by playing around with different extracts, oils, and other flavors to create new styles on the spot. Home brewers Andrew Hong and Nick Clute-Reinig will discuss the different ingredients to create "beer magic" or turn a boring old pale ale into an IPA in a matter of seconds.
 
This hands-on approach to food events can work in many industries with minor modifications. Machine Project has already hosted a series of classes and workshops on a variety of skills from bookbinding to welding.
 
We love this new take on informal education – which combines DIY with storefront retail as a 501c3 non-profit corporation.
 
 
Sixteen days on the road in eight cities. Here are our top five dishes...
 
 
1. Whole wheat rigatoni cacio e pepe from Superba Snack Bar in Los Angeles, CA. We've had this dish in Rome (our #1) and at Babbo (LA) and Lupa (NYC), but this preparation would make Mario Batali melt. Thanks JK of Sqirl for the recommendation.
 

La Super Rica
 
2. Item #16, "The Super Rica," (rajas with marinated pork) at La Super Rica in Santa Barbara, CA. Locals may debate the finer points of Santa Barbara's taco scene, but we trust Julia Child over Yelp. Homemade tortillas to order — you just can't go wrong.
 
3. The breaded black cod at Wild FIsh in Little River, CA. Simply prepared Northern California Coastal cuisine from this postage-stamp size restaurant just south of Mendocino. (sorry, no photo)
 
Parks BBQ
 
4. Chilled beef noodle soup with cucumbers at Park's BBQ in Los Angeles, CA. Park's is definitely not the least expensive spot to eat amazing Korean food in LA but, the quality is exceptional. The galbi was outstanding, too, but the soup was such a pleasant treat on a 100 degree day.
 
 
5. A salad of escarole, sunchokes, preserved lemon, smoked almonds, and parmesan from Gjelina in Los Angeles, CA was enjoyed on the hood of our car from GTA on another exceptionally warm day.
 
1205 Local
Local 1205
 
Effortlessly, without the use of subway tile or metro-racks, you can tell that Local 1205 has a New York influence — without an olive oil sampling table or menacing tower of coffee beans in burlap bags. Let's face it, we've all seen plenty of knock-off Dean & DeLuca's in the specialty grocery market, and it was time for someone to give shoppers something new.
 
Craig Weiss' micro-mart concept is rustic and industrial enough to let the gourmet foods, local produce, East-Coast style deli, and raw bar shine.
 
local 1205
 
Local 1205 might not be entirely local, but the merchandise assortment is compelling nonetheless. Across from a selection of imported mustards (France), Boat Street Pickles (Seattle), and Pane Carasau (Italy) there's a counter for grass-fed meats, charcuterie, bread, and a station for made-to-order sandwiches. House made Porchetta balances New York meats from Katz’s and 2nd Avenue Deli.
 

 

In front of the sandwich counter, a variety of pickles and olives in barrels make an Organic Foods Store self-serve fixture look impersonal.

 
The space is well organized and a bit sparse by grocery standards. We imagined a few of our merchant pals clamoring to "stack it high and let it fly". But clearly quality trumps quantity here. There's space for everything to breathe, including metal bins for bulk dry-foods like steel cut oats.
 
raw bar

 

An extensive cold pressed juice and smoothie program coupled with raw vegan foods reflect LA's sunny disposition without that hippie vibe. Of the four distinct areas within the store, this is clearly the busiest.

 
 
I am helpless without research material– and the more "motivational" the better.
– David Ogilvy, The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners
 
Here's a quick glimpse at some of the eye-candy within the 2013 Trendscaping Report to inspire and motivate. Pre-order a copy here.
Kulture Park

What happens to food courts, amusement parks, and Olympic venues when they are outdated and overgrown?  Should they be revitalized or demolished?

Three projects across the globe are re-imaging, re-branding, and re-financing iconic structures with the hope of tapping into consumer culture with inspiring and informing works.
 
Act One: Global
Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit are exploring the legacy and impact of the Olympic Games on economies, architecture, and building via a kickstarter photography project titled The Olympic City. The fully funded hardcover art book will document the successes and failures, the forgotten remnants, and ghosts after the torch is extinguished.
 
 
According to he project page, "Some former Olympic sites are retrofitted and used in ways that belie their grand beginnings; turned into prisons, housing, malls, gyms, churches. Others sit unused for decades and become tragic time capsules, examples of misguided planning and broken promises of the benefits that the Games would bring. We're interested in these disparate ideas — decay and rebirth — and how each site seems to have gone one way or the other, either by choice or circumstance. We're equally interested in the lives of the people whose neighborhoods have been transformed by Olympic development."
 
The team is now crowdsourcing other Olympic cities from members who back the project — with Sarajevo announced days ago. So far, the team has photographed Los Angeles, Montreal, Lake Placid, Athens, Rome, and Mexico City.
 
Days remain to support the book (approximately 200 pages) and New York City exhibition before finalizing summer and fall travel. With $54,813 of the $45,000 needed for the project to be fully funded, it's clear to us that the idea resonates with the collective community.
 
We were so moved by the project that our founder became a backer. To learn more click here.
 
Act Two: Berlin, Germany
From June 28-July 1, 2012, Kulturpark will re-open an abandoned amusement park located in the sprawling Treptow Park in Berlin to explore the poetics and potential of these recent ruins, building upon the unique energy of Berlin’s urban, social, cultural, and political landscapes.
 
 

According to the website, the park, originally called Kulturpark Planterwald — built in 1969 by the German Democratic Republic — was a rare site for Soviet amusement and attraction. After the fall of the wall in 1989, the park became the family-owned Spreepark and suffered challenges of access, attendance, and economy. In 2001, the park closed from capital collapse. Ever since, visitors have regularly traversed the fence to explore this jungle of broken thrill machines.

Earlier this month students, artists, researchers and creatives from Berlin, Harvard University, the Urban Art Institute, and around designing site-specific works inside the park. The only working amusement ride, the train, will be utilized in the public interactive opening which includes a 2-day conference, public exhibition, and civic exchange.
 
We love how the Kulturepark team has ignited cultural imagination to explore opportunities for shared memories — past and presence.
 
Act Three: Seattle, Washington USA
Ever evolving as a community gathering space, Seattle Center is re-branding and remodeling its Food Court with artisans, chefs, and street food vendors to take over the new spaces and kiosks under the Century 21 Master Plan.
 
Seattle Center House Food
 
Built in 1939 as the old Armory Building, the Worlds Fair reconfigured the space into the first vertical shopping mall, called the Food Circus. Over the decades, not much had changed within Seattle Center's kid-centric, dated structure – including the fast-food menus and candy shops.
 
Scraping the food court persona, the re-named Armory/Center House includes a mix of local and regional merchants representing mobile operations, bakeries, and freestanding restaurants across the city. The list new operators breathing culinary life into the directory include: Skillet Counter, Pie, Eltana Wood-Fired Bagels, Mod Pizza, and The Confectional. Future planned openings include Bean Sprouts, Plum Bistro, Collections Café, Street Treats, and Bigfood.
 
Space Needle
 
As society continues to examine child health and diet, we’re particularly interested in the latest addition to the revitalization: Bean Spouts, a national café chain and cooking school dedicated to sparking children's appetites with yummy, good-for-you food. We hope these changes help to make happier mealtime – deserving of the 21st Century mantra.
 
 
{UPDATE June 29, 2012: Kulturepark in Berlin has launched it's exposition July 30th and July 31st. View the details and program here.}