07 Feb Reporting from Homismart
Last week we were invited to show Playstools at Homismart, a branch of the Homi Fair in Rho Fiera Milano. Homismart is dedicated to smart lifestyles and current trends in interior design. And so we joined in Milan for the show, but also for our first studio reunion in 2017.
As the name suggests, Homismart sheds light into the potential of smart objects and domestic environments. “Smart” however has become a buzzword that vaguely describes technological devices and services. So what is smart? So far smart technologies are changing homes by automating certain functions, such as heating & cooling, lighting & shading, mainly optimising energy consumption and customising home ambience. All kinds of applications are here to help younger and older people in everyday life, and more and more objects are turning smart, such as cooking utensils, educational toys and mini organic farms.
These technologies enable us to customise and really change the way we live. Still, they sometimes suggest a user-experience that focuses on sight and touch, leaving out the rest of the senses. Often, smart scenarios address their audiences as users who operate on their own, not to mention the constant background of an ever-speeding lifestyle. Other smart scenarios suggest that life at home is a complex map of problems and that ‘users’ need to operate as problem-solvers.
At this point we feel that we need to underline the importance of the warmth in the materiality, the detail in the craft and the technology as an open process and technique. As artists/ designers who operate inside the smart discourse, we want to use old and new technologies that promote human interactions and are not flawless or closed, but allow people to enter the process in some way.
When we were asked how we would imagine next year’s Homismart we thought about the exhibition space in a circular layout, designed around an “Estia”, the greek word for the fireplace, stemming from the name of the ancient greek goddess of family and domestic life. “Estia” for us needs to be a focal point in design in the sense that she symbolises the basic human need of getting together and belonging; and this happens in a heartwarming place. This is an aspect that we want to remember when we design smart. We are happy that Homismart felt more like a community than the usual “do not touch” exhibition. Interacting with other exhibitors and the public as well as taking part at the workshops gave us new insight about how to further develop Playstools. We are now re-starting to work on it and will keep you posted!