Economy

Pod life: Stackable homes … Mobile phones for kids … Big name labels for the masses … The new generation gap

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Pod life: stackable homes

 Here’s a novel solution to the rental housing crisis. It comes from the booming mining state of Western Australia. The Perrinepod is a self-contained, stackable housing unit that can be placed within a month of ordering.

Made from polished concrete, aluminium and glass, Perrinepod’s standard colours are grey and white, but the concrete can be toned to any natural pigment, including black and shades of brown, reports Springwise. Its pod-like looks are enhanced by a lack of joins and sharp corners. Making it nearly as plug-and-play as an iPod, internal wiring and plumbing are built in, and utilities are hooked up at one central point.

Buyers with large extended families will be happy to know the pods can be stacked to 30 storeys high. Perrinepods come in three sizes: one, two and three bedrooms ($99,000 to $200,000), with external dimensions of 8 metres x 6 metres, 8 metres x 9 metres, and 8 metres x 12 metres.

Architect Jean-mic Perrine’s philosophy is that the houses should be nothing more or less than its inhabitants need, and that simple design and beautiful material should be able to stand the test of time. “Living spaces have become as transient and irrelevant as fashion. It’s no longer a look for a generation that people strive for, it’s the look of ‘now’ and it only lasts for a three to four year period. That approach is not sustainable and people are putting themselves and the environment under a lot of unnecessary pressure trying to keep up.”

Phones for kids

Why have a toy phone when you can have the real thing? Time reports that US companies like Maryland-based Kajeet are marketing mobile phones to the tweenies: 8 to 12 year olds.

Kids love technology, and of course, want to be doing everything the grown ups are doing. And with a mobile phone penetration of just 25%, the under-12 market may be the last market sector where phone companies have some room to grow.

Companies like Kajeet are trying to get their product in the hands of kids by marketing simple, sturdy phones in bright colours and offering services without contracts or cancellation fees. They are also selling the add-ons kids love — for example, kids can download ringtones from their favourite TV shows.

And plenty of marketing energy is also being devoted to the parents — after all, they will be the ones who actually buy the phones. Kajeet offers an online service that allows parents to limit who can call their kid’s phones, and the times at which calls can be made.

 

Affordable luxury: Stella does Target and Kate does Topshop

You don’t need a fat wallet to buy a luxury label. Stella McCartney is about to release a 42-piece Australia-exclusive clothing line in Target stores on March 12 reports trendhunter.com.

Her only other such collaboration, a limited-edition range for European chain H&M in 2005, sparked brawls at cash registers across Britain. The Target range will include a trench coat, tailored jacket and pants, shirts, a day dress and an embroidered cocktail frock.

She follows the trend for high-end designers working for chain stores. Australian high-end designer Ksubi is doing Alba Fan Club for Jeans West and Kit Willow has done a line of frocks for Portmans. In the US, discount chain Target has teamed up with Mossimo, Isaac Mizrahi, Luella Bartley, Tara Jarmon, Paul & Joe and Behnaz Sarafpour.

Meanwhile in Britain, Kate Moss’s 90-piece collection for UK chain Topshop is being touted there as the most eagerly awaited clothing line ever. Moss’s line will not be available until 1 May, but there’s already a massive waiting list.

 

A new generation gap revealed

Young people are revealing everything on the internet, from their dating predilections to their shoe size. It’s highlighting a new generation gap writes NewYork mag.

“It’s been a long time since there was a true generation gap, perhaps 50 years — you have to go back to the early years of rock and roll, when old people still talked about ‘jungle rhythms’. Everything associated with that music and its greasy, shaggy culture felt baffling and divisive, from the crude slang to the dirty thoughts it was rumored to trigger in little girls.

“That musical divide has all but disappeared. But in the past 10 years, a new set of values has sneaked in to take its place, erecting another barrier between young and old. And as it did in the 50s, the older generation has responded with a disgusted, dismissive squawk. It goes something like this:

“Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry — for God’s sake, their dirty photos! — online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention — and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.”

It’s a revolution and you have to decide which side you are on.

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