​Analogue Living

Marketplace for event spaces offers islands and yachts for rent

Japanese startup SpaceMarket is aiming to be Airbnb for events and corporate functions, hoping to open up any space for any purpose.

Airbnb has turned asset sharing into a mainstream concept, and it boasts around 800,000 private rooms that are now open for the public to rent out. As well as making money for property owners, its key differential in the marketplace is providing a unique experience for travelers. Following its lead, Japanese startup SpaceMarket now wants to do the same thing for events and corporate functions, aiming to open up any space for any purpose.

Much like its travel accommodation forebear, Spacemarket enables those with any kind of venue to list it on the site in order to let others rent it out for their own events. With a focus on luxury and unusual spaces, it currently provides more than 775 spaces for business to use for anything from meetings, training courses or creative getaways. These include an array of unique settings, such as unused sailing vessels, heliports, baseball grounds, old Japanese-style houses in an historic village, and even an uninhabited island.

The company recently secured JPY 100 million in funding, which it plans to use to develop apps and acquire more venues, in addition to providing a concierge service. Are there other ways to leverage unique goods that the average consumer or business would otherwise not have access to?


In Brazil, soccer pitch floodlights are powered by players’ energy on the field

Shell’s Morro da Mineira Project has opened a soccer pitch in the favelas that captures the energy of players and uses it to sustainably power floodlights at nighttime.

Community sports facilities are vital to provide a space for communities to come together and keep fit, but they cost money to run and the resources aren’t always there to keep them in good shape. This is especially the case in Brazil, where the country’s disconnected communities where public spaces aren’t lit up at night, rendering them unusable. In Rio de Janeiro, soccer legend Pelé recently helped launch Shell’s Morro da Mineira Project has opened a soccer pitch in the favelas that captures the energy of players and uses it to sustainably power floodlights at nighttime.

Located in the Morro da Mineira favela, the pitch has long been a popular practice space for kids in the neighborhood. It’s now been renovated with tiles located underneath the surface that become charged when a force is placed upon them. Throughout the day, the energy of the players using the field is captured and stored as electricity, while solar panels also collect the sun’s energy. Previously, kids had to stop playing when night fell, but the new system is now used to power floodlights that make the space safe even when it’s dark. The community benefits from extended access to the resource, keeping kids healthy and out of trouble, while avoiding the high bills that typically come from non-renewable power.

We’ve already written about Cablean Sportveld, a sports pitch in the Netherlands that turns into a giant solar panel when not in use. Are there other ways to sustainably power community spaces?


Service taps communities’ unused storage space

For homeowners who can’t afford to use self storage services, Roost is a peer-to-peer platform that lets them find and rent storage space from others in their neighborhood.

In financially unstable times, more people are looking to take advantage of the sharing economy to save money on goods and services they only use occasionally. We recently wrote about Canada’s Kitchen Library, which gives consumers low-cost access to otherwise expensive cooking equipment. For homeowners who can’t afford to use self storage services, there’s now Roost, a peer-to-peer platform that lets them find and rent storage space from others in their neighborhood.

The service provides a marketplace for homeowners to advertise any extra space they have at their property, connecting them to local residents in need of storage. Through the Roost web app, user can search by size and storage type, as well as check profile information, ratings and reviews. With Roost Guarantee, items have basic insurance but the company recommends that users check with homeowners or insure their goods. In the future, the company is also planning to include background checks using SterlingBackcheck. Space can be rented at a minimum payment of USD 5 a day, of which Roost takes 15 percent of the transaction.

Watch the video below to learn more about Roost:

Roost helps neighborhoods open up private space for community purposes, enabling residents to take advantage of cheaper storage facilities close to home, as well as meet their neighbors. Although these types of businesses must be careful to ensure that shared assets are insured against damage, are there other commodities that could be pooled to benefit the community?


Visual recognition app acts like Shazam for furniture

LikeThat Decor is a visual search app that will present consumers with items similar to those featured in photos they upload

With thousands of furniture catalogs being pushed into mailboxes everyday, alongside endless images of aspirational lifestyle apartments in the media, it’s perhaps inevitable that today’s consumer is more paticular than ever when it comes to interior design. In an effort to help them source exactly the right item, LikeThat Decor is a visual search app that will present consumers with items similar to those featured in photos they upload.

To get started consumers can either select an item of furniture from the app’s built in gallery, or upload their own picture — either a photo they have taken themselves or an image from the web (most likely Pinterest or Tumblr). The app then analyses the image and presents the user with similar and complementary items — drawn from the app’s extensive database of millions of products from thousands of top furniture brands. After the consumer has found an item they like, they can click to make a purchase directly from the retailer. 

Both the website and iOS app are free of charge and an Android version will be released later this year. Are there any other departments where visual recognition could aid search in a meaningful way?


New York's Crowd Solution

The ‘Lowline’, Dan Barasch & James Ramsey wanted to create a new green space in their crowded hometown. They discovered an abandoned trolley terminal in the lower East Side of Manhattan and are planning to turn it into the world’s first underground park with natural light. It will be a new kind of public space, using solar technology an cutting edge design to capture the beauty of a very special and old industrial space.


This Solar Technology could be widely adaptable and made universal for a lot of cities that have the same crowd and therefore space problem. It could also work in different circumstances for instance a solar panel on side of the roof where’s no light. I think there’s a long road ahead of us when you look at solar power and they way it’s been collected, stored and used. I can’t help but wonder when the day will come that all the sun in dessert will be sustainably captured and power our lives in the future.

The actual park will host a lot people and activities and is the redesign of a urban space becoming a public one. As cities in the Netherlands attract more people every year and even homes become more crowded there will be a point that we eventually run out of space. Therefore new approaches on the way we live and build are interesting for the future. We know a limit is near and practical interior design is making its way into homes so that space can be used more efficient, for example ‘life edit’.

The same can be said for the places we spend our leisure activities. It brings a new dimension of where and how we spend our free time. That in relation to the quality of life it raises the overall bar according to activity, development and social wellbeing. With the ‘Lowline’ you see that there are also architects and designers with innovative ideas who are building the exterior world around us and try to build places and buildings that will suffice the needs of people in the future.