The Design Museum's landmark exhibition, Home

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opulence that is now delightfully dated. The exhibition also features playful takes on functional furniture from iconic Italian design house Gufram. Architect Guido ...

Into the future

The Design Museum’s landmark exhibition, Home Futures contemplates whether we are living in the way pioneering architects and designers once predicted, or if our idea of home has proved resistant to real change By Zita Whalley 34

Issue VII | Homestead

homestead

La Casa Telematica explored the potential impact of technology on the home

Explorations of future life

La Casa Telematica was designed in 1971 by architect and artist Ugo La Pietra

have captured the imagination of designers, artists and dreamers throughout time. From the constructivist utopian and Soviet dystopian collectivist societies, to embracing technology as a means to improve lifestyle, contemplation on how individuals and people could live has occupied the minds of many great thinkers. The Design Museum celebrates the boldest of these minds - and the most bonkers - by bringing together retro futuristic innovations and contemporary imaginings that focus on the lives of the generations to come. Home Futures explores the social and technological aspirations that have driven change in the home within the last 100 years. Contained within an immersive structure made out of translucent mesh that was commissioned for the event, the landmark exhibition compares 20th century visions of our domestic futures with current ideas to see how the concepts of past futurists line up in today’s world. Exhibition curator, Eszter Steierhoffer, says the exhibition is looking back in order to look forward. “The comparison between the

present and how it was once imagined reveals how our political and social ideals have changed.” This change is mapped through more than 150 photographs, films, installations, sketches and objects that highlight the possibility of what a home could be. “They explore the tension between radical potential and the traditional idea of home,” explains Eszter, “and examine today’s changing domesticity through contrasting prisms.” These artefacts are separated into six sections and each part investigates a different aspect of potential new ways people could live. “The first five of these sections present recurring – and often conflicting – themes of the twentieth century that significantly shaped our contemporary experience of the home,” says Eszter. “They are efficiency, minimal living, nomadism, self-sufficiency and the changing notion of privacy.” Home Futures is full of quirky, ingenious and inspired ideas. Highlights include the original sketches and a production model of Joe Colombo’s 1972 Total Furnishing Unit; a compact modular apartment where all furniture – including the Homestead | Issue VII

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Photo: Gino Molin-Pradl, Copyright: Private Archive Hollein

homestead

Hans Hollein in his ‘Mobile Office’ in 1969

kitchen sink - could store neatly away. In full neon glory, La Casa Telematica explores the possibilities technology opens up in the domestic space in a vision of modernisim and opulence that is now delightfully dated. The exhibition also features playful takes on functional furniture from iconic Italian design house Gufram. Architect Guido Drocco and designer Franco Mello melded art and design when they created the studio’s now iconic cactus-shaped coat-stand in 1972. Another ingenious Gufram design that brings the outside world into the home is Pratone. First produced in

CACTUS coat stand, 1972, by Drocco & Mello

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Issue VI | Homestead

PRATONE grass chair by Ceretti, Derossi, Rosso, first produced in 1971

1971, what first appears to be a large patch of synthetic grass turns out to be a chair - one of the most innovative, playful and original lounge chairs history has made. Hans Hollein’s Mobile Office innovates the workplace and foresees a change of working conditions. Although current day hot-desking and co-working spaces may not look like Hollein’s inflatable office, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect’s design foresaw the need for flexible working spaces as automation proliferated. In theory, the Mobile Office could be transported and used anywhere, providing you had the means to blow it up. In contrast to the previous sections, the exhibition’s final part moves away from visions of modernisation and looks towards a more simple and bucolic home. Ezster says, “The final section focuses on ideas of the home that, contrary to visions of progress, attempt to reinvent the domestic interior according to Arcadian ideals.” w Home Futures; November 7 to March 24; Kensington High Street; designmuseum.org

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