Italy – It’s that time of the year when northern Italy is engulfed in design. Fuorisalone, also known as Milan Design Week, is back with a 2023 edition entitled Laboratorio Futuro, a lab where visitors and experts debate, imagine and build alternative ideas for the future – the perfect fit for The Future Laboratory’s team reporting live from Milan.
The week kicked off with talks about home futures. At Casa Blond, a pop-up residency by London-based design studio Blond, a panel discussed designing for greener living. The conversation was centred around Impulse’s battery-integrated home appliances encouraging people to move away from natural gases in favour of more sustainably generated and cost-efficient energy. The project was collectively developed by Impulse, Blond and The Ad Hoc Group.
Elsewhere, similar conversations were happening about technology’s role in the home. Design experts from Disegno, Map Project Office, Google Hardware, Panasonic and ECAL wondered: ‘Does tech shape our homes, or do our homes shape our tech?’ The panellists discussed the mismanagement of ambient technology, including how streaming services like Netflix are designed to form a singular, isolated world, removing people from their homes as a sanctuary. They also touched on how technology should evolve to become more purposeful and personable. Panasonic and Google want technology to move and live fluidly around the home just like any other home product. In the past, televisions were designed to be located near a wall due to plug sockets, but could tv now move to our dining table, with a family sitting around the screen rather than facing it? Rowan Williams refers to Panasonic’s Vitrine as an inspiration for this speculative scenario.
Our team also headed to Alcova 2023 to explore the latest design innovations. From door handles made of anti-microbial salt to a hanging installation using bioactive materials to highlight the danger of UV radiation, protection and safety were top of mind for creatives. As was digital experimentation. Design studio LashUp translated a digital image, originally created by AI, into a physical electric blue armchair, demonstrating the potential of Cross-reality Design.
Consider how a new kind of sympathetic tech can foster human connection in domestic spaces through design aesthetics that give devices a new personality and purpose within the space