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The Good Home

Alex Deschamps-Sonsino & Peter Bihr

The Good Home is a design exploration of better living for the 21st century. Through a series of public installations we explore what life for a technologically-savvy household. We explore with artists, designers and technologists from around the world how flexible living interacts with the limitations of diminishing household budgets, limited global resources, evolving concepts of privacy, the sharing economy, and global migration.

What might be unusual in the Good Home is that all work starts from values: Future (connected) homes should be respectful and participatory, humble and hackable. Data, increasingly an element to actively design with and for, should be used primarily as an empowerment tool for residents.

During London Design Festival and the V&A’s Digital Design Weekend we explore the theme of better, more humane 21st century living as well as post-Brexit life in the UK through a number of design prototypes:

  • Privacy Dimmer and the Wayback Machine are speculative designs, light dimmer-like devices that help residents control their privacy levels easily in their homes as easily as they can dim the light. Wayback Machine is a collaboration of Peter Bihr, Rachel Uwa, Martin Skelly and Vladan Joler.

  • In Tech Deities, Marta Monge addresses connected technology in the home and its totemic presence, as well as heirlooms and rituals in the connected home.

  • With a charming connected toy, Kai Turner proposes an interactive kids play experience.

  • Brexit Bedroom Posters by James Bridle and various other artists ask what a teenager growing up in the next few years of post-Brexit life in the UK would put up on their walls.

In practice, the ways we live has been changing rapidly due to changing economic factors, global migration (both forced and voluntary, both permanent and temporary), the dynamics of the so-called sharing economy, as well as digital connectedness. Yet, our notions of living and housing are still deeply rooted in the concepts of 20th century life and haven’t yet adequately evolved. At the same time, we see a highly commercialized smart home industry emerge without sufficient debate around the implications of inviting potentially invasive technologies into our homes.

As a society, we need more experimentation and debate to shape both these technologies as well as our larger concepts of better living for the 21st century.

With the Good Home, we hope to make some small contributions to this debate.

Image credit:

  • MozFest HomeLab Kitchen, 2015
  • The Good Home at Fuori Salone Milano Both images by the Good Home

An engineer? I had grown up among engineers, and I could remember the engineers of the twenties very well indeed: their open, shining intellects, their free and gentle humor, their agility and breadth of thought, the ease with which they shifted from one engineering field to another, and for that matter, from technology to social concerns and art…one of them might play a musical instrument, another dabble in painting; and their faces always bore a spiritual imprint.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago (1974)