27 mar 2011

Proposal, Critical Journal Ep.20

Name: Francisco Perez Alcantara

Date: Wednesday, 30 March 2011



Research question:

What will be the house of the future and influence of technology (social networking)? In this utopian celebration of the speed of techno-evolution, is it going to be a prescript need to slow down?

Intended audience:

A stretched period of life between the 20s and the 30s where people for different reasons are living in a place that in order to call it home, they will have to look for other resources.
People will have to live in minimal spaces, where communal places as living rooms will disappear and will be substituted by another type of “human relationships” driven by the computer.
For people who have to create an office environment inside their houses.

Key areas of investigation:

- Definition/s of what is home. Development of the concept “domus” and future issues of overpopulation related to the lack of space. Also investigations on the contrary on how the urban fabric will be more permeable, enabling new patterns of living interaction.
- Concept of public space versus private space, and the appearance of the contemporary notion of no-space.
- Technology and its impact within our society. Social Networking and its evolution towards Ubiquous computing, AmI technology and Cloud computing. (An evolution of the Internet where every gadget and object from our surroundings will be interconnected and giving information to each other and to us).
- Psychology of the feeling of being “home” versus the definition of “domestic” and its conflict with the evolution of human interactions within the internet that has caused pathologies derived from hyper-connectivity.
- As a reaction to this utopian vision of technology, appears the need to slow down in this fast forward society that celebrates technology and which does not see the problem that this may cause yet.

Role of the project in your personal development?:

This project represents a question that intrigues me. How will architecture and design going to be applied to the future of our society? Furthermore, how will our relationship with technology from an anthropological point of view?
My research is trying to reflect my own conclusion about what might evolve from the relationship between these two concepts. It is often a challenge to capture this vast research and the development, as a designer, in one piece of work.
It is in conclusion to my academy training and my first incursion into furniture design where I tried to fulfil my aim of becoming apart from being an architect also an industrial designer.


- By 2040 the world population is estimated to be over 9 billions compared to the approximately 6.75 billions currently.
- In 2050 more than the 70% of the world population will be concentrated in cities. This means that our habitat spaces will be increasingly reduced and experiences that bring us quality of life today will have to be technologically reproduced.
- Will technology have a mayor role in the future in order to change conventional socially agreed concepts for the definition of what is a house? With over population and the careless of space we will look for other ways of qualified living environments that may differ from nowadays.
- Virtual life is changing our concept of space radically, space as we knew it until now is not important anymore. The concept of “home” as a place is something else.
- Anthropologists call us already cyborgs. People are more than ever connected to others. Technology allows people to work from their homes. This means that the space in our house will have multiple purposes. Interconnectivity will allow us to consider the city as a more living space with shared services. And family is seen more as a group of individuals.
- I have been driven by this project looking for new processes in living and the gradual systematization of human living interaction based on this “Mc-society” (fast food society) in which we are living right now. For this reason it seems necessary to introduce the concept that people need to slow down and try to promote it through design, as even now diseases are appearing because of our over-interconnected lives.

Objectives and methods:

1) - Objective: Using technology as a tool to develop new patterns of living. Virtual life is taking over our 1.0 life and in the future this will be more evident with ubiquous technology. Reflect about how the Digital World is taking part of our lives becoming another way of expression for artists lately.
- Method: Research about AmI technology as an evolution for Domotic Technology made in the MAID First Year project 2.5 in 2009. “Decode, Digital Design Sensations” Exhibition at the V&A. And further research about artist who works with technology.
2) - Objective: Latest studies about Human Computer Interaction reveals that as technology will be more integrated in our daily life with concepts like Cloud-Technology. As humans, it appears the need to make this ubiquous technology more “visible”. Creating this fast forward utopia has made the thin line that separate it from the tecno-distopia point of view more tangible, making our need to slow it down more clear.
- Method: Research about Slow Technology, reading papers by Lars Hallnäs & Johan Redström. TED Talk by the cyborg anthropologist Amber Case. TV investigation-documentary “Digital Nation, life on the digital frontier”. Produced by Rachel Dretzin. Design inspiration: The Faraday Chair by Dunne and Raby.
3) - Objective: Develop and define the concept of home as a response for possible future scenarios that help to identify possible new patterns of living. As an architect the concept of house has always intrigued me, its origins, its evolution, interpretation and me.
- Method: “The Surreal House” Exhibition at the Barbican. Book: “The Meaning of things, Domestic Symbols of the Self” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Book: “The Open House, Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living” by Beatriz Colomina.
Study of the utopian prefab houses by Buckmister Fuller, E. Bothlingk, E. Sottsass, Moshe Safdie, Charles & Ray Eames, Matti Suuronen. And more contemporary architects and designers like Shigueru Ban, Andrew Kline, Awg Alles Wird Gut, Kapteinbolt, Andrea Zittell, Micahel Rakowitz.
Investigation exercises at an urban level: Mega House by Alteries Hitoshi Abe, The Rolling House by Andres Jaque, Living Kit by Ester Gunewardena Architecture, Unity Sostainable 3.0 by Lugadero.
4) - Objective: Intended audience and context.
- Method: In the book “The Open House, Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living” by Beatriz Colomina, I found two statements. One by the author saying that the life periods are stretching. Secondly Peter Cook quoting the famous sentence by your parents: “you treat this place as a hotel”. Both illustrate that for different reasons people have to live in their parent’s houses or in rented flats, which are not at all where they were expected to be. I identified a target group in their 20s and middle 30s that could be described by the boomerang generation in a continuous state of liminiality.
Based on a study for broadcasting the future within the next 20 years the future issues of overpopulation and its concentration in the cities were evident. When Facebook reached the 500 billion users, a reporter from the New York Times bring to the interview that she was doing to the CEO of the company (Marc Zuckerberg), the fact that they are the 3rd most populated country in the world. The project talks about the idea where digital world running parallel into the real world and how that affects our interaction through space.
The internet, the evolution of communication technologies that enable us to be interconnected into a vast net whenever and wherever we want, has allowed people to be multitasking and bring their work from the office to their houses with both positive and negative consequences.
5) - Objective: Identify suitable typologies that will be more appropriate for explaining the concept. Work out which piece of design will approach best the issue, the intended audience and the aim of the project. Test concepts and push ideas further within future scenarios and bring those back to nowadays.
- Method: Narrative and Typology Seminar, where I develop the idea of a trunk that will help you to create your own space. As an object that clearly dawns the statement of citizens as nomads. It was an exercise of trying to bring to a place not familiar to the user some kind of home feeling by transporting personal gods. Objects as place makers.
Later on for the Work in Progress show, I intensified my work on the impact of the digital world in a possible future scenario with the design of a software that will help you to habitat the city as it was your house and a token-based system service for an accessible virtual storage.
These two exercises and further research drove me into the consideration the Internet and the computer have invaded our homes, playing an important role in our experience of life and how we interact within the society. As a result the laptop is the new fireplace of our households, what Frank Lloyd Right consider the core of his domus architecture.
6) - Objective: further evaluation of the design outcome and test on the intended audience.
- Method: Observations of user behaviour in their housing space (User Centred Research). Questionnaires about the product and its purpose. Collect feedback of intended audience by showing models, sketches and further graphic representation of the design. Testing the prototype. Marketing research and further possible development of branding. Think of other possible products ranges within the same context, purpose and approach as the design outcome presented.

Role of submissions:

1. Definitive Proposal. A guideline for the project, set boundaries to a wide theme, and a document to pinpoint what I wish to communicate with my design. It is a document, which put the project in context says what it is new about it and states the reasons for doing it.
2. Design Element. It is a physical expression of the aim and context described in the proposal. Although they will not be working prototypes, they will be 1:4 scale models enabling everyone to understand their function. Before that I have worked on 1:1 prototypes to test the stability and functionality of the design element.
3. Written Element. I will submit the written element in the final report, where I will discuss the theories around influencing consumers, and how this relates to my design outcomes. This will include theoretical background as well as supporting my designs with a social context.
4. Critical Journal. It will be a step by step of the complete process that I went through, tutorials, intern critiques, feedbacks, etc. under a personal critical point of view. Material that I have accumulated in my sketchbooks and on my blog online that worked as a diary.

It is so difficult to write about design and more if it is your own. Finding the exact words to describe the reason why, how, what, when... it is almost imposible. It is seems that words sometimes are not to enough. Furthermore, when english is not your first language your vocabulary is considerably reduced.

This last tutorial with Stephen Haward before the Easter break and the Design Package Submsion was focus in the 2 most important parts of the Proposal... the Title and the Aim of the project. "Too general and broad" he said. Slow Domo Design was originaly my final title choice but we started to talk and words like: attitude, strategy, identify the problem and the answer, preserving the human, invading private space and time, respecting boundaries (not one way traffic), reasserting balance, equitable life, we carring along by change, preserve a sense , distintions, only reality is dialectical… better to little than to much, moderation in all things, nothing in excess, there is a benefit in the contrast, reposition, metaphore, questioning functionality.

He suggested me also that I should read about ESTRESSS , CONCENTRATION, ISOLATION, ANIALIATION… ANTI TECNOLOGY, SLOW DESIGN… And he defined my work as a piece of CRITICAL DESIGN.

Lot of work still has to be done.

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