Special Report: Home Futures

The Design Museum are currently exhibiting ‘Home Futures’, an exploration of today’s home through the prism of yesterday’s imagination. MiB went along to see what was going down.

Until March 24th 2019, the Design Museum are exhibiting a new exhibition called ‘Home Futures’. The exhibition asks: “Are we living in the way that pioneering architects and designers throughout the 20th century predicted, or has our idea of home proved resistant to real change?“.

In partnership with the IKEA museum, the exhibit features 200 objects and experiences that trace the key technological and social aspirations that have driven change in the home. On display you can find historical notions of the compact and mechanised home, alongside contemporary phenoma such as the sharing economy and connected devices.

Walking through the weird and wonderful items on display, it was hard not to get immersed in the series of dreamlike passages and rooms that made up the exhibit. Video installations with soft spaces littering the floor offered a quiet place for reflection, whilst the layout and design of the exhibition meant there was always something to keep you visually entertained.

The featured architects and designers were truly progressive and forward thinking for their time. Homes were thought of as no longer being static and weighty; instead, they would be a portable plastic membrane that could be transported across the wilderness. One thing stood out from the exhibition: no matter how radical and progressive the thinking was around the future of homes – be it open, curved, transparent – the reality always ended up looking quite like the home of the past.

The transparency prediction has in some ways become true. Our lives are lived with much less privacy than in years gone by, thanks to the rise of technology and social media. Many of the designers on display predicted that furniture would have screens incorporated into their form – none predicted the level of portability and connectivity we are blessed with today.

The show’s curator Eszter Steierhoffer highlights Elon Musk’s personal diary, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the fact the Amazon echo is basically an explicit attempt at creating the talking starship computer from Star Trek. In that respect, the future is actually arriving as others have predicted. What will the future look like for us as designers?

  • ‘Home Futures’ is on display until March 24th, at the Design Museum

★★★★ Time Out

Abundant treasures to savour‘ ★★★★ The Times

A lively, illuminating, sometimes enthralling journey through a century’s-worth of aspiration and fantasy’ The Observer

Unmissable‘ City AM

This immersive, vibrant and challenging exhibition truly throws into question how we see and define our constantly evolving social and living situations‘ Monocle