In the fictional world of films, the future could be a dystopia in ruins. Or it could be a time of sleek homes and sexy furniture. Are we getting closer to the latter? You could say that. For one, with the arrival of the computer, the cloud and devices, the human experience is less weighted down by paper, reducing the need for conventional furniture.
But technology too, as we know, is propelling forward at the speed of the Big Bang — with barely a hint of slowing down. “Technology moves at such a rate that it’s going to be redundant in a matter of years. As soon as the charging docks change, suddenly the lamp is redundant,” said Edward Barber, co-founder of the London design studio Barber Osgerby, in a New York Times story about furniture in the digital age.
That being the case, furniture designers have since chosen to tackle this in different ways. While many furniture brands take a wait-and-see stance, some tentatively incorporate devices in varying degrees. Others use technology to create intuitive furniture. We highlight home furnishings that have a place in the intelligent home.
Herman Miller T2 Table
Now that we know sitting all day can do great harm to health and body, furniture brands are beginning to introduce furniture catered for our modern lifestyles. In this case, Herman Miller’s T2 table is a sit-to-stand desk that allows you to change postures. It’s also mobile, which means you can move the desk around the home with ease. A specially designed console lets you use your devices easily while they charge; the cords are mostly out of sight. For control, an intuitive panel is embedded on the table surface. You also have the option of having the add-on feature, Verb, a trademarked smartphone app to track and manage how you work. It’s all done using ergonomic algorithms and data crunching to determine things like the optimum desk heights for you. You’ll even get customised advice on when to sit or stand to reduce fatigue. Available at XTRA.
Spectral Ameno Console
Think of the entertainment area, and the latest television and sound systems come to mind. However, these often stand out from the rest of the furniture. That no longer need be the case. German brand Spectral’s Ameno console is a modular system, where you can configure your storage needs the way you like it. More than that, you can integrate your speakers from Spectral so they blend into the rest of the space for the sleek into-the-future look. Music can be streamed wirelessly via Bluetooth from your devices. Gadgets can be charged on the Smart Dock, with which you can transfer photos, videos and stored music to your television and sound system too. If needed, the docks can be changed so that your furniture is future proof. Another cool feature is the Smart Charge, a technology that allows you to charge your devices simply by placing them on designated surfaces. Design wise, Ameno is customisable with over 2000 colours for your glass surfaces and a variety of wood and ceramic surfaces to choose from.
This year, Carlo Ratti Associati announced a system of smart modular seats with a catchy hook of a name: Lift-Bit. The sofa is part of a collection of interactive products created with the support of furniture brand Vitra. It’s also dubbed the world’s first ‘Internet-of-Things’ sofa. The ‘Internet of Things’ is a concept that drives smart products that connect to Wi-Fi and communicate with one another. For Lift-Bit, hexagonal seats can be used individually as stools or combined to form a larger seat or sofa. Each element can be controlled digitally on your smartphone or by gestures that activate sensors. They also communicate with each other and can be adjusted to your requirements, be it as a chair, sofa or chaise longue. To top it off, the system occasionally shape shifts on its own when it has stayed the same too long.
Grohe Spa F-digital Deluxe Spa
When space allows, why not bring the spa experience into the home with the Grohe Spa F-digital Deluxe? Aside from being a shower enclosure, it comes with customised spa settings, so you can enjoy colour light therapy and relaxing steam too. These technologies that bring the spa experience into the home are enhanced with the use of Bluetooth technology so that you can control the functions on your devices. Of course, it’s hooked up to speakers for music too. You might want soothing music when it’s time to relax or thumping music to energise you at the start of the weekend. That aside, creating personalised profiles and settings just the way everyone in the home likes it is possible and easy with the award-winning design.
Flos String Lights
Bluetooth is de rigueur in smart solutions and is the case for these LED lights by Flos. You can control it via Bluetooth Android and Apple app, so your home is suitably lit before you even step foot into it. Convenience aside, it’s a piece of lighting that is simple, conceptual and bold. A black electric cord can be manipulated to work with the architecture of the space. Its minimalist design is easy to imagine in the crisp spaces in Tron Legacy or the home of the fictional tech billionaire Nathan Bateman’s breathtaking home in the film Ex Machina. Available at Space Furniture.