Moving in this summer as part of Corinthia Hotel London’s In Residence programme, The Future Laboratory joins forces with guests and friends to launch a year-long love-in of all that is futuristic, challenging and intellectually stimulating. Co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Future Laboratory’s LS:N Global, Martin Raymond, starts the conversation…
Luxury, like the future, is another country… And just when you think you’ve worked out the map of that territory, the landscape changes. A decade ago luxury was all about excess, while more recently, it was about access and under-the-radar exclusivity. Now, as clients, designers and brands themselves demand a more nuanced, insightful and considered view of luxury, we are witnessing the rise of a New Luxurian traveller who is keen to embrace the intelligent, the innovative and the scientifically adventurous, as we once more reach up and out to the stars (think Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson).
“As our research suggests,” says The Future Laboratory’s co-founder Christopher Sanderson, “science, technology, innovation and the personalities driving the new life sciences (GM, biotech, SynTech, stem cell) are fast replacing the Rihannas and Justin Biebers of this world as people we look to, as more and more of us demand a different kind of substance with our style. We’ve dubbed this the Re-enlightenment, and have used it to underpin our thinking for our Futurists-in-Residence programme with Corinthia Hotel London.”
But why now? “More than ever,” says Sanderson, “intelligent thinking is under represented. There is a sense that people want things to be populist, bite-sized and easy to digest, but the hotel guests we meet, and the clients we deal with – from Selfridges and Google, to Sony and Stella McCartney aren’t like this. They want to be informed, challenged and to have ideas presented to them in ways that make them think and kick-start debates.”
So rather than taking a stand on issues, Sanderson tells me, “we’re taking a leaf out of the book of great hoteliers and creating a series of debates and round table conversations that encourage playful, civilised and robust exchanges about the big ideas of tomorrow.”
Subjects covered in the year-long Corinthia Hotel London residency range from a London taxi driver offering a cabbie’s eye view of the future on anything from AI to autonomous vehicles (wait until you get him started on the latter), to luminaries and writers like Dr Charlotte Webb, or Lucie Greene, who will be looking at The Feminist Internet, and on even deeper research into how Silicon Valley is rewriting the rules of civic, social and scientific engagement. There will be regular Breakfast Briefings, Dare to Know dinners, virtual fireside chats, and a range of half-day Futures Forums on wellness, health, food, drink, technology, luxury, longevity and hospitality.
Hotel guests will sit alongside the media, invited brands and fellow ‘futurenauts’ in a range of unique and hidden venues around the hotel — from the Courtroom and Bassoon Bar to hidden corridors and secret guest rooms. They will be part of debates and chats with experts on subjects they may be familiar with, but
also with those that are set to dominate and drive tomorrow’s news agendas: in-vitro meats, psychotropic cocktails, cryogenic chambers (chilly!), hydro-cell batteries, adaptogens (liquified plant extracts that help you fight stress), and sleep gyms (yes, you heard it here first).
“The future is unwritten,” says Sanderson, “and in many ways it’s unknowable, but there are hints and clues that tell us how it will look, feel, taste and smell, and our job as Futurists-in Residence is to ensure
that guests and friends of Corinthia Hotel London and The Future Laboratory get to experience these things first hand.” So watch out for VR machines in the corridor, conversations from the future in the loos, even a ‘Stuckism’ room in the hotel set up by videomaker and futurenaut David McGovern, where you can learn how to unlock your creativity and ability to dream about tomorrow.
As well as the more science-based topics, The Future Laboratory has asked philosophers, writers and performers to look at the future of femininity, and the future of masculinity, as we enter a period where gender equality, and all issues related to gender — male, female, or non-binary — come to the fore once more: “We’ll be doing this in the real and virtual realm,” says Sanderson, “asking ‘Why are most of the AIs we speak to female?’ Or how and why a new generation of AI psychologists and robot-therapists are training ‘malebots’ to become better, more considerate beings.”
Everything is there to explore the world of tomorrow, including the food, drinks and luxurious brain stimulants you’ll need to digest all the insights on offer. To book a ticket, speak to guest relations on:
The Future Laboratory is one of the world’s leading strategic foresight consultancies. It exists to help companies prepare for a better future by giving them the confidence to take the decisions today that will create economic, environmental, technological and social growth tomorrow. From its offices in London and Melbourne, The Future Laboratory offers a range of strategic foresight products and services to help its clients harness market trends, adapt to emerging consumer needs, and keep them ahead of their competitors.