It's was pleasure to be selected by @framemagazine for the Challenge#129, "the new luxury hospitality experience" out on the issue of July/August 2019.
Together with other 4 designers, we were questioned on how we see the future of luxury travel experiences.
Cross Cultural City (CCC)If we amplify and project the effects of globalization in the next 50 years, we will live all together in the same culture, with similar habits and routines. Cross Cultural City will be a place where you can experience a with authenticity a culture, enriching your self being aware of your social responsibility. In CCC each area of the city represents a continent, giving the possibility to experience the good and the bad sides of all the different cultures at once.
How will look?According to the UN by 2050 the 68% of the population will live in urban areas, leaving space to farm to provide food for the growing population. CCC will be in a rural area, divided into different districts, with a common square in the middle, for the interaction and confrontation of cultures. There will no longer be the presence of logos or brand, going the opposite way of the projection of Blade Runner in 82, where the user will be more interested in the experience rather than the brand. The panorama of the city will reproduce the rural areas of the respective countries since tourists will look to escape the massive and oppressive city landscape that surrounds them every day.
How would it function?The visitors will have the possibility to visit the most famous destinations of the known world in one place. Mixing LasVegas, Disneyland, Dubai and China, CCC will offer cross-cultural experiences tailored to the user. Since new generations are seeking experiences and new adventures, CCC will provide also the negative stereotypes of a culture, but of course on a safe and reduced dose. For example, Jack, a financial broker based in Hong Kong, will travel to CCC, visit the South American district and while eating Colombian patacones, listening to Cuban live music, he will assist to a robbery in a reproduction of a favela thinking that is real. This would definitely enrich his story content on Instagram, making the whole experience original.
The city would offer any kind of comfort, but keeping a feeling of authenticity and involving the user on participating actively to the visit. For the most adventurous, CCC will organize day tours to the most remote areas, including space discovery for an extra cost (SpaceX programs are already starting soon). Considering the fast-growing transportation net worldwide (Hyperloop plans to transport passenger from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 min. In 2016 in Nevada they accomplished the first test) the CCC Worldwide tour will bring Jane and Aliya to visit Patagonia for breakfast, later stop by Sicily for lunch and conclude the day watching the Aurora borealis in the Antartic, coming back to CCC for dinner with their husbands which played golf in Africa District and assist to a workshop on how to reuse plastic cups with a self-made kit in Asia District.
What is made of?CCC will be divided into 8 different districts. One for each of the continents, showing the most popular destinations of Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, North America and South America. Since the classification of continents is not a fixed list but depends on the perspective of analysis, I decided to add two more districts. One will be the Middle East District, considering that the 3 of the top 5 GNI (Gross National Income) are part of the Middle East countries and is a growing list. The Muslim culture represents a big portion of what is considered luxury nowadays, in 50 years, when Brazil, India and China will understand the importance of new energies, they will probably compete with the Middle East countries. The 8th district will be dedicated to the New Continent, where visitors can experience any kind of new technology and future understanding, counting on the most advanced space agency on earth. This district will be dedicated to research and experimentation of the leading technologies with a strong focus on space discovery.
Each district will count on the excellence of food and accommodations, avoiding the obsolete concept of hotel and rooms, but providing luxury staying in very authentic shelters, referring to a theme hotel in Disneyland but forgetting the concept of hotel and embracing the need of participation of the user with the local culture, counting on social responsibility and personal enrichment through the experience. For example, users will grow their own food in fast-growing farms, with almost absence of meat since the worldwide population will aliment themselves on avocados and insects.
One of the aspects that will make CCC special is the interaction of the user with Human capital. In a future where machine and robots will take place in our daily routine, the interaction with humans will be an expensive and exclusive privilege for the richest, giving the feeling of uniqueness which defines luxury.
Why do you want to design this?I don't think of CrossCulturalCity as a solution to a problem but more as a projection of today. My recent research on globalization is showing me how vast is this phenomenon, making me think if there is really a solution or is it just part of our evolution? Luxury does not mean richness, there will always be a rich tourist who wants to experience travel and not a holiday. As there will always be tourists who look for comfort and safety zone before any other, especially if we talk about "luxury tourism" which gives any economical possibility to achieve what is desired.
To which consumer desire/ market shift does it respond?I have seen a clear expression of uniformity in tourism, such as the Russian food menus in Goa or the Falafel stands in Himalaya. This examples, of course, come to give an answer to a demand. I recently came across some examples which can support CrossCulturalCity as a theory; Florentia Village in Tianjin China, a perfect reproduction of Venice (similar to Las Vegas but much bigger), Eiffel Tower in Tianducheng, a Taj Mahal in Bangladesh, Stonehenge in Foamhenge, Virginia and many other examples. This city will be the exclusive desire for who is looking for experiences without any compromise on comfort, all-in-one combo: dad goes watch the Superbowl in North America, mom does a handcraft workshop from Balinese artisans, sons and daughters goes clubbing on a beach party on reproduction of full moon party of Thailand, that in the meanwhile has been forbidden by the UN to avoid mass tourism, just like Maya Bay. This a projection of the future of luxury tourism, probably not the most politically correct, but unfortunately, there is always going to be that guy ordering pineapple on pizza in the Amazonia, no matter his salary.