At Modernist Studio, we focus on strategy and design work for big brands. In working with these companies, we’ve seen a theme around “owning the consumer.” Each company is fighting to become front and center in people’s lives, with a particular focus on the home.
Big companies speak about locking customers into a technological future focused on their brand—startups in the valley identify the same goal, but couch that goal as increased convenience, comfort, pleasure, or experience in the home.
We’ve also seen a trend towards a disposability of culture, one where things are delivered, used, and discarded. Coffee delivery from Keurig, ingredients delivered from Blue Apron, smoothie packs from the now defunct Juicero—our home is the centerpiece for all things to be delivered, used once or twice, and then disappear.
We’ve arrived at a convenience economy.
And, we see a theme of mounting fear. In the privacy of our corporate-entrenched homes, comforted by our delivery services, we lock our doors—creating a sense of timidness towards interacting with the world. Personal and home security becomes paramount, as if our way of life could be stolen from under our very noses.
The New Materialism of the Home
The New Materialism of The Home is a discursive exploration into that future. We’ve highlighted a future that seems plausible, but unfortunate in its believability—it’s a future of technology run amok, all while hiding in plain sight.
For years, we’ve dreamt of jetpacks, flying cars and robot assistants—imagery fromto , painting a picture of an optimistic and exciting future. But we’ve also seen these helpful robots turn against us in dystopian futures like or —where technology has spun out of control leaving a bleak and unforgiving outlook.
Both extremes highlight technology, and both extremes feel strange upon the backdrop of our day to day life. But increasingly the future appears more familiar: technology, hiding behind materialism, shaping a culture of consumption supported by big brands. If left unchecked, here’s what that future might look like
Get a Great Sleep—with Sleep Tight
In the future, you’ll subscribe to Sleep Tight, a mattress company. Sleep Tight delivers a bespoke mattress to your home every day! Our white glove service takes away your old mattress, assembles your new bed, and carts away the packaging. You’ll fall in love with that firm new-mattress-feel over and over again. And you’ll sleep soundly knowing that you’ve helped employ thousands of artisanal craftsmen in Malaysia, who hand-craft each mattress just to your unique sleeping style.
Sleep Tight has teamed up with Hello Bedding to bring you a fresh set of sheets and pillows every morning. Customize your style, with options ranging from argyle to silk. Enjoy sleep like you’ve never experienced, and when you’re done, just throw the linens away—we’ll bring more.
Live a Branded Life—with Domicile
In the future, you’ll live like never before in a beautifully designed lifestyle by Domicile. Select from home brands like Amazon, Tesla, or Peloton—your new lifestyle will be outfitted with all of the benefits of the company and the luxuries of a branded home experience. An Amazon Domicile comes with pre-installed Scanners and Dash buttons, making purchases as simple as the touch of a button. You’ll love the convenience of an Amazon prime subscription, where Prime Pantry will keep you regularly stocked with everything you need for the kitchen. You’ll enjoy secure delivery of all your purchases in your pre-installed Amazon Home Locker, and no need to program any appliances—your home comes fully wired with Alexa in every room.
Or, select a Domicile from Tesla. You’ll have a personal charging station in your garage, an extensive solar array on your roof, and a zero-impact learning thermostat in each room. Extra benefits include an unlimited subscription to Tesla’s Self Driving Car program, and a Domicile Speed Pass to the front of the line at the nearest Hyperloop station. You’ll even enjoy free platinum upgrades on your next SpaceX flight. Domicile has teamed up with Airbnb to offer a time-share program, too, so you can swap brands as frequently as you desire—just pop on your VR headset, explore different brands, and schedule your move.
Build Your Dream Home—over and over
In the future, you’ll build your dream house on the fly with the IKEA + Design Within Reach partnership: The Rebuild Tomorrow System. Rebuild Tomorrow helps you adapt the physical environment of your home to your family’s changing dreams. Construct walls on the fly with the Wall Printer, a low-energy 3d printing robot. The robot takes just three hours to build a typical bedroom wall, complete with printed electrical connections and insulation. Or, knock it down—Rebuild Tomorrow’s composter crushes building material into small cubes that can easily be discarded. Change the color of your walls with our automated Wall Painter robot. Select a different style every day, set the Wall Painter, and come home from work to a fabulous new yellow bathroom or blue bedroom. New color cartridges are delivered monthly, so you’ll always be able to live in vibrant color.
Build a custom house, or outfit your home with one of our monthly subscription design plans. The Rebuild Tomorrow system will download a new floor plan each month, and you’ll be able to preview your refreshed home with our unique fly-through technology. For a small fee, our consultants will model everything from your fridge to your dog, so you can truly experience life in your new space before you build it.
Stay Safe—with Secure.co™
In the future, you’ll be able to protect your home—and all of your expensive and important purchases—with the Dropcam Neighborhood Watch system. With our patented MovieStitch technology, we’ll build a 3D video on the fly, from all of the security cameras in your neighborhood. Investigate that suspicious noise that you heard in the night, watch the delivery man when he drops packages on your doorstep, and keep an eye on the street when you are on vacation.
Create a geofence alarm to send you a notification when those suspicious new neighbors are on the move, establish a digital perimeter around your house, and set off an alarm when that geofence is triggered. And, if the worst happens, you’re protected—easily save the 3D videos to substantiate insurance claims and quickly settle legal disputes.
Maintain the standard of life you deserve. Secure your future with Secure.co™ via Dropcam Neighborhood Watch.
A Familiar Future
The future is not about technology—it’s about familiarity. We’re familiar with materialism and personalized attention. We expect to have our world customized to our unique needs. That attention will come increasingly from big brands, companies who offer us new products and services to cater to needs we didn’t even know we had. In the future, we’ll allow these big brands unprecedented access to our lives, families, and homes—and in return, we’ll treasure a form of invisible technology, one that appears unique, targeted, and designed just for me.