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The Future of Design

There is an interesting article in AD Architectural Digest on the future of design, forecasting what our lives might look like in 2039. We are seeing many of the shifting life values and philosophies on the client / demand side, as well as marketplace forces on the supply side taking root, and shaping our design work today. Most notably:

  • Escalating building costs

  • Shortage of land

  • Home "offices" being redefined as family work spaces

  • Personal workstations spreading throughout the house

  • Demand for flexible furniture layouts

  • Smaller homes - Less space, higher quality

  • Weariness with overly complicated tech UI

  • Fear of hardwired tech obsolescence

  • "Formal" or separate dining rooms - ancient history.


Architectural Digest


October 1, 2018


At home, technology—with all of its bulbs, bulk, beeps, and boops—will be omnipresent, yet virtually undetectable. “Technology that is interruptive, distracting, and that is a visual scar on the home environment will disappear for experiences enabled by intelligent and invisible tech,” says Yves Béhar, the Swiss industrial designer and founder of Fuseproject. “For me, the home in 20 years is silent, focused on human interaction, sustainable, healthy, and uniquely shaped experientially for its occupant. I see the systems of the house are passive and efficient. When I walk through the spaces, an overwhelming feeling of peace is the main impression.”


The current push is for less clutter by collapsing various technologies into universal systems; home-tech will command the room without crowding it. “It’s complicated, but I think that more technology will help us use less technology,” says Isabelle Olsson, director of design for Home products at Google. “The products we’re making now are a start to that—we’re creating one place for many of those physical items like calendars, shopping lists, and reminders.”


As lifestyles shift, layouts follow suit—a relevant hierarchy of space will take shape within the home. Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of Roman & Williams imagine that old-fashioned and mostly unused spaces like large media rooms and formal dining rooms are on their way out, making room for the home office. “The entire home is by then an open office—with sitting, lounging or standing as a work position available throughout the home and outside,” comment Standefer and Alesch in an email to AD. “Kitchens will never disappear—they are still the center—even for people who order take out.


The bulk of homes grew larger over the past three decades, but the latest American homes continue to grow smaller. While the effect is chiefly due to shortages in labor and land, designers will embrace the trend.
“In the next 20 years architects and designers will work on ‘small is beautiful,’” says Béhar, whose team is currently designing 250- to 500-square-foot “micro-unit” apartments optimized with robotic furniture by Ori Systems, an MIT start-up. The concept brings Murphy bed-logic to the max; modular furniture and layouts shift and reorder on command, like an apartment with multiple personalities.


And what about the home in context—the neighborhood? “I think the future begins to network homes together to drive efficiencies and economies through which the homeowners and the neighborhoods can all benefit,” says Nirav Tolia, cofounder and CEO of Nextdoor, a hyperlocalized social networking service for neighborhoods. “Either through energy savings, security, building community, it is the creation of homes networked to other homes in their proximity that I believe holds tremendous value in ways that are hard to imagine today.”
As for how this might shape the physical home, Tolia anticipates change. “We may find that there will be a ‘public’ and ‘private’ area of the home that allows the owners the flexibility to integrate with the neighborhood, while also maintaining the privacy that is critical in a home.”

link to full article here:


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