Back to the future with ‘Home Futures’ at the Design Museum
Creatives have long speculated on future domestic life. The 1950s, 60s, and 70s saw architects and designers consumed with imagining the homes of tomorrow, often with radical visions. ‘Home Futures’ visits some of these ideas. Opening this week at the Design Museum in London and on display until 24 March 2019, it brings together some 150 objects and experiences to explore today’s homes through the prism of history’s imagination.
Work on display includes speculative objects, contemporary pieces, and new commissions. There are some brilliant exhibits here including the 1956 ‘House of the Future’ by architects Alison and Peter Smithson. Created as a mock-up full-scale living unit, it was their vision for the ideal modern domestic life of 25 years from then. This home for a childless couple is spatially detached from the outside world, blurring the lines between reality and fiction with various imagined modern gadgets. Also intriguing are the 1972 ‘Home Environment’ by Ettore Sottsass and an original model of ‘Total Furnishing Unit’ by Joe Colombo.
‘Home Future’ asks if we are living in the manner pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or are our lifestyles not as radical as imagined. Looking back to the future, perhaps today’s rather conventional home life would have disappointed these visionaries. Yet, how we live is of critical concern now, especially in overpopulated urban areas. In this context, it is worth revisiting the past to see how we can adapt and evolve the more relevant ideas for now and the future. Reflecting on one of the exhibition’s six themes of shared living, ‘One Shared House 2030’ is a collaborative project by New York’s Anton & Irene and Ikea’s Space10 that does just this. The aim is to speculate the ideal co-living space – a form of domestic life that will perhaps become ever-more relevant for future generations.
Images © SO-IL, Home Futures, Design Museum