A multisensory Tour at Design Museum
Saturday 12 January 2019
Image: The Bocca Sofa, 1970. Designed by Studio 65 for Gufram.
HOME FUTURES Exhibition
The home of the future has long intrigued designers and popular culture alike and this Home Futures Exhibition Immerses us in a series of dreamlike passages and rooms exploring yesterday’s visions of the future.
We know that the home incites an emotional world and is not just a physical place or space. It is a place that can also define us. It is also not something that we own but it has actually become a commodity that few can really own or afford. The changing values of people in our society also express itself in how we are now more interested in access rather than just ownership. And by access, we refer to access to power, influence and recognition.
Walking through avant-garde speculations displayed alongside many contemporary objects, more than 200 objects and experiences in this exhibition that trace key social and technological aspirations that have driven change in the home.
The walls are painted white, with ceiling lighting and spotlights above and good lighting throughout. On the morning of our visit, there was an issue with the lighting levels been a bit low, but that did not impact the experience of the space. Some displays were set in wall units and plinths while many are installed independently on the floor. The rooms did not have any distinct smell other than the warmth of the installation.
Acoustically, this space was a myriad of sounds and digitally sourced conversations. Sounds coming from video installations in different rooms seem to converge in the space as we moved through it, but the sound bleed was only a concern when we congregated close to or between the sound installations.
The exhibition was set in 6 different themes, exploring different focuses on various concepts, domestic behaviours, design ideas and modular furniture systems.
Below is an image of the Gufram Cactus, 1972, designed by Guido Droco and Franco Mello. This is a green cactus shaped coat hanger standing at 7 feet tall. On the top of the Cactus is Andrew’s Fedora hat. That photo shoot request was by one of our visually impaired visitors.
Gufram was once a small production company responsible for the most iconic pieces of Italian radical furniture and is now famous for merging art and design. Their Bocca Sofa or Red Lip sofa, the featured image for this blog, was based on the artist Salvador Dali’s original design, itself inspired by the lips of iconic beauty Marilyn Monroe. This is a kaleidoscopic fusion of pop art, conceptual art and modernist design.
Living With Others
This section explores the way in which we negotiate privacy in the home and the impact media has on domestic behaviour.
Living On The Move
We see how modular systems merged furniture with infrastructure, using simple forms and muted colours to frame furniture as a tool rather than a possession. An example is a modular toilet that can be easily converted to a bathroom or bedroom!
“Design comes from the heart and the brain, to cuddle the soul of people and improve life for the best, the livelihood of people.” – Alex Iberti, CEO Gufram.
This section traces the modernist ideal of the ‘home as machine’ and pairs it with the contemporary vision of the ‘smart home’. We see the principles of labour saving by using connected devices that use our data to deliver function.
Living With Less
One recurring ideal of the 20th century was that housing shortages could be solved with fully fitted home units and micro-living solutions. Less space in urban areas resulted in the emergence of hybrid furniture like the sofa bed, folding tables and integrated storage.
Below is the Bench, After Judd, 2014, with visually impaired visitors standing around the bench and a few sitting on the bench. This bench confuses the role of the horizontal surface because at 12 cm high and around 4 foot wide, it can function as a seat, a table and a flooring unit. The rug on the bench is a multicoloured rug with blocks of colours in a geometric form. This gives it a mondrian-like look.
The wooden bench was at room temperature but the metal support was a little bit colder but the overall object retained its warmth. The rug was soft, with the stitching along the coloured patterns providing a tactual ridge.
This section explores self-reliant models of domestic life that are environmentally responsible and often anti-consumerist. The idea was that an open-source system allowed anyone to make furniture and basic household appliances with parts and tools that can be reused.
Below are the VI visitors touching and sitting on the Single Bed designed by Enzo Mari. In this image, Bernard from the Design Museum explains an aspect of this easy to assemble furniture that can easily be converted to tables, chairs, bookshelves or wardrobes.
The single bed had a well-finished surface, without the worry of splints. the mattress was firm and felt well-constructed and durable. The plant in this image is artificial, with a smooth feel to touch.
Some designers emphasise the home as places of irrational and emotional needs, and surreal interiors conjured idyllic landscapes, bringing natural, biomorphic forms and landscape elements into the home.
Below is the FRAME 03 from 2017 and designed by SO-IL. This stainless steel bench with a metal ring chain or mesh structure that is the sit can sit up to 7 people. The industrial material used to make this frame furniture does not reveal its function, at first sight, leaving it open to the imagination.
The mesh structure that creates the sit almost feels like a cobweb that cradles, and though it is cold to the touch because it is made of stainless steel, it feels like a piece of outdoor furniture that will work well in the garden in the summer.
The designers call it an exploration into aporetic architectural furniture, which we can interpret as characterised by an irresolvable internal contradiction or logical disjunction.
After the tour, we went up to the Creative workshop to discuss the exhibition. The workshop activity included exploring some samples of objects from the exhibition and we also took the time to share ideas of what we want the home of the future to be like, for us as individuals and people with specific access needs.
What should the home of the future look like, for me?
Several VI’s reflected on the exhibition and explored ideas of what they would want to have as functional ideas for future home furniture. Today’s future thoughts and ideas can easily be an experience of tomorrow.
The Home Futures exhibition continues until 24 March 2019.
Multisensory Tour Facilitator: Andrew Mashigo
Tour Programmer: Bernard Hay, Producer Adult Learning
Large Print Guide: MaMoMi Initiative CIC
Copyright © The Design Museum 2019
Andrew Mashigo. MaMoMi Initiative. January 2019