The latest exhibition at the Design Museum asks: ‘What happened to the future?’
Here at Trend-Monitor we often talk to futurists, innovators, architects and designers about what the home of the future will look like – but do they necessarily turn out to be right?Here at Trend-Monitor we often talk to futurists, innovators, architects and designers about what the home of the future will look like – but do they necessarily turn out to be right? @DesignMuseum Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s useful to look back and assess whether those predictions actually came true, and that’s what Home Futures: Living in Yesterday’s Tomorrow aims to do. It’s the latest exhibition currently on at the Design Museum, which is the result of a partnership with the IKEA Museum Almhult. Bringing together an array of avant-garde speculations in the form of around 150 objects and experiences, the exhibition asks: “Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”
There are various rare works on display, including original furniture from the Smithsons’ House of the Future (1956), original footage from the General Motors Kitchen of Tomorrow (1956), and an original model of Total Furnishing Unit by Joe Colombo (1972), which organisers say help to provide visitors with a thought-provoking view of yesterday’s tomorrow.
“Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?”
The show is divided into six relevant themes, all of which reflect key trends that are influencing the way we live in our homes today. The first is Living Smart, which traces the modernist ideal of the ‘home as machine’ and juxtaposes it with our current view of the connected ‘smart home’. Illustrations by Heath Robinson depicting unlikely household gadgetry and contraptions are shown alongside a range of smart devices.
Living on the Move explores the 20th-century view of a simple, nomadic lifestyle, while Living Autonomously delves into the 1970s notion of self sufficiency. This looks at Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione, a 1974 design guide to assembling furniture from basic materials, and also features a newly commissioned modular furniture series by Brussels studio Open Structures.
Addressing the issue of housing shortages, Living with Less focuses on fully fitted home units and minimal solutions, and looks at Joe Colombo’s 1970s vision, alongside Gary Chang’s Hong Kong Transformer contemporary micro apartment with shifting walls. Domestic Arcadia looks at the home as a series of organic forms that evoke the natural landscape.
Living with Others examines the way in which we negotiate privacy in the home – something that is increasingly relevant in the face of the current rising number of multi-generational homes. This is also reflected in the ‘One Shared House 2030’ project by New York designers Anton & Irene in collaboration with the Ikea-funded ‘future living lab’, SPACE 10.
“We at Ikea have always been curious about innovative technology, inventing new techniques, materials and logistical solutions. Behind every single product lies years of research, experimentation and testing,” said Jutta Viheria, the Ikea Museum’s Exhibition and Communications Manager. “By partnering with the Design Museum on this exhibition, we are continuing our mission of collaborating with organisations that view the world from a different perspective, allowing us to gain new insights into this crazy old world of ours,” she explained.
How did the future look?
According to the Design Museum, radical thinkers and designers of the 20th century imagined our future homes as places where…
A global, invisible network would connect us all
Supersurface was a speculative proposal for a universal grid that would allow people to live without objects or the need to work, in a state of permanent nomadism.
We would work from anywhere we wanted
In 1969, years before laptops allowed for work on the go, Hans Hollein proposed a mobile office in the form of a transparent bubble for a nomadic lifestyle. It forecasted the conditions of work and life in an automated, networked world.
We would live surrounded by screens
Ugo La Pietra’s Casa Telematica (1983), or the Telematic House, imagined ways in which media and telecommunication will change the homes of the future
Home appliances would be smart and autonomous
The 1950s “Miracle Kitchen” of the future had its own Roomba (robotic hoover)
More people would live in cities, in smaller spaces
Joe Colombo designed a Total Furnishing Unit, which was a whole house in just 28 square meters.
Art and design would merge
An example of this is the iconic red lips sofa by Gufram