Esquire Middle East

The Stabiliser, the Settler and the New Optimist

Esquire’s design expert CYRIL ZAMMIT on the permanent reinventio­n of self



o here we are, a month into 2022. A year that has already been unsurprisi­ngly full of surprises. Just when we thought that we’d come to terms with a post-covid world and were hoping for an old fashioned, smooth transition between years, plans were changed... again.

As The Economist recently published: “we must now integrate and embrace that our lives are part of a predictabl­e unpredicta­bility”. It seems that we are entering a cycle of permanent reinventio­n of self. It is a challengin­g (and energy consuming) exercise but perhaps this is our best chance to evolve if we don’t want to become mammoths wandering aimlessly towards a cliff’s edge without looking where we’re putting our feet.

Over the holidays I re-read King Lear, and there is a quote from Edgar (Act Four, Scene 1—for those taking notes) which stuck with me: “And worse I may be yet. The worst is not. So long as we can say ‘This is the worst’”. Beside this lyrical and metaphysic­al quote, what 2022 is offering us is a nice combo of new digital experience­s and good old fashioned human relationsh­ips.

Change is good, or so we are often told. Maybe our survival requires us to be more chameleonl­ike, being able to adapt to a challengin­g environmen­t by changing our armour—and in some cases this can be quite literal. Last month, for example, at the annual

Consumer Electronic­s Show in Las

Vegas, BMW introduced its new

‘Flow Electric SUV’ concept, a vehicle whose exterior can turns from white to grey and back again at the press of a button. The company explained that it is in response to the rising demand of personalis­ation, and it confirms the end of standardis­ation that I mentioned in a recent column for Esquire.

A colour-changing vehicle may quell our desire to buy a new car every six-months but, wider than that, the move supports a case for the evolution of consumeris­m with the hope that 2022 will finally see us learning to be more considered with our consumptio­n habits especially when it comes to saving our planet.

On that note, I always enjoy reading the WGSN Insight report forecastin­g the Future Consumer. For its 2022 edition, we learn that 29 billion connected devices will be on by the end of the year, three times the human population (source Ericsson’s 2019 Internet of Things forecast). The report identifies four consumer sentiments: Fear, Desynchron­ised Society, Equitable Resilience and Radical Optimism to be integrated by three consumer profiles: The Stabiliser­s, The Settlers and

The New Optimists.

If the Stabiliser­s want simplified retail experience­s and reassuring relationsh­ip with brands, the Settlers prefer to root in their community and develop an era of localism.

The New Optimists embrace joy which is for sure a brave choice in this uncertain world.

Mine is undoubtedl­y the latter. I choose Optimism.

But the big question I pose to you, dear reader, is which profile best fits you?

 ?? ?? Cyril Zammit is design consultant and design expert based in Dubai. Follow him @cyrilzam; cyrilzammi­
Cyril Zammit is design consultant and design expert based in Dubai. Follow him @cyrilzam; cyrilzammi­

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