RE-LIFE by Various Associates conceives an Undefined Future Home


The outbreak of Covid-19 has restricted motions and changed our lifestyles. Currently, digital screens are playing an indispensable role in our daily life, as more and more people are resorting to it for remote work and entertainment at home. According to the imagination of Elle Decoration and Various Associates, the image of future homes is not fixed, but can be defined in a personalized way by different people. Taking screens as the medium, the two teams envisioned an era of new homes featuring a new socializing mode, which allows full participation of everyone and is supported by human-machine interaction.

Bold Imagination About Future Homes
The design started from an assumption: is it possible for future home to get rid of materials, walls and partitions and to be merely enclosed by flexible, interactive screens? Various Associates and Elle Decoration boldly executed this idea at Design Shanghai 2020, by creating a future home space that’s truly flexible, free, human-friendly and personalized. With an undefined image, it was one of the most eye-catching exhibition spaces at the event.

During the pandemic, most of activities at home were dominated by laptops, mobile phones and TVs. Digital screen has been playing more diversified roles, as it not only offers a tool for online shopping, remote working and socializing, but also has spawned various online activities such as “cyber cat petting” and “virtual drinking” and hence brought about new cloud-based business models. Through those trends, Various Associates saw the infinite extensibility and possibilities of screens.

Highlight 1: LED Screen “Curtains”
The biggest highlight of this future home space is the three layers of LED screen “curtains”, which were suspended at staggering height and in an enclosing manner, together forming several “loops” featuring a sense of architecture. The idea of replacing physical walls by dozens of screens was inspired by the experience of switching between apps on mobile phones.

“When using phones, we often need to switch between various apps such as WeChat and video websites. It was such moments that gave me the design inspiration.” Qianyi said, “We brought in screens that cater to different demands for information, so that users can ‘assemble’ their home as they like.”

Highlight 2: Open and Mixed New Home Settings
This space is large and open, which can accommodate leisure, socializing and entertainment activities for plenty of people. The control screen at the center is like a “smart brain”, ensuring the home takes on an appearance that the occupants expect. Technology, people and virtual imagery together formed this unique future home.

Taking the control screen as the center, Various Associates created four distinctive areas by bringing in different furniture pieces. The combinations of furniture break the conventional mode of homes, showcasing a mash-up. Freedom is the sole principle for furniture selection and combination in this future home. It doesn’t have to have a big sofa or even a kitchen, which only depends upon the dwellers’ free choice.

Highlight 3: A New Socializing Mode with Everyone Involved and based on Human-Machine Interaction
Near the entrance is a sofa for multiple people. In conventional households, the TV remote is often controlled by a strong family member. However, this is not the case in this future home. With plenty of screens, it allows the occupants to sit on the sofa and watch what they’re interested in by controlling different screens, while at the same time talking with each other and expanding knowledge boundaries.

Various Associates holds a more positive attitude. As approaching this project, the team tried to explore the possibility of establishing a new socializing mode that allows full participation of everyone based on human-machine interaction. To minimize material consumption and waste of resources for constructing this temporary space, the designers rented many assemblable components, which could be recycled after the exhibition was closed, hence realizing environment protection and sustainability. Different people may have diverse ideas of home.

Within a space of 99-square-meter, Various Associates conceived an open, inclusive home with infinite options and possibilities, to convey the imagination of more free, intimate and flexible domestic life. Through creating an undefined future home, the design communicates the idea that a truly personalized home must be based on dwellers’ understandings and demands of daily life. Source by Li Ye.

  • Location: Design Shanghai 2020, China
  • Interior design: Various Associates
  • Organizers: ELLE DECORATION, ELLEClub
  • Co-organizer: Design Shanghai
  • Cooperator: Royana Group, FLOS, Cassina
  • Year: 2021
  • Photographs: Zhu Di, He Jisheng, Courtesy of Various Associates

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