The interiors of our homes are always changing to meet shifting trends, ways of living and new technologies, and as a result interior designers are constantly tasked with keeping up with (and integrating) new features and preferences for their clients. However, whereas fashion trends, materials and ways of living will alter elements of an interior, technology can dramatically alter how we interact with our homes, and as a result, arguably represent the biggest single factor in the future of interior design.
But which technologies are likely to have the biggest impact? How might we use these new technologies in our homes? To try and answer these questions, here are what I think will be the 3 most prominent technologies in changing how our interiors are designed and interacted with:
Already a major industry in 2017, providers such as Google and NEST have made huge advances in the technology behind controlling things like lighting, heating, and security. We can view and interact with security feeds from our smartphones, control heating autonomously and switch on lights or TVs from mobile devices while we're traveling. But what does the future hold for smart homes?
Tipic have developed a revolutionary kitchen work surface called Tuler, which includes a sink that can be hidden via a motion-detecting sensor. Simply wave your hand to reveal the sink, and then when you're done making the same motion to see the sink rise, creating a convincing illusion of a single, uninterrupted work surface. The brand also hopes to include further integration in the future, including built-in scales, wireless charging for mobile devices and induction hobs that are built into the stone.
Future innovations could be equally revolutionary, from windows that can display any view you want, to a host of voice-controlled appliances and personalized home experiences (for example, software that recognizes who is in the house and changes the temperature, water pressure, under-floor heating and other features based on individual profiles).
AR and VR
AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) could both have a huge impact on interior design and the way we interact with our home. Take AR, for example, this works by overlaying digital features or information onto a real-world view, often done via glasses or a headset. Google Glass and Oakley Goggles already offer this kind of technology to consumers (although the former has been discontinued), allowing them to see a wealth of information overlaid onto a real-world view. Oakley's AR skiing goggles let the wearer see where they're going clearly, but also provides them with GPS information, speed, distance, altitude and a wealth of controllable data, all without having to look away from the slopes.
VR, on the other hand, will be more applicable to interior designers, allowing them to walk a customer through a room or building they have designed, without actually having to do the work in the real world. Similarly, architectural features, custom furniture, floors, walls and anything else can be mocked up and displayed in 3 dimensions to a client without the expense of building it. Not only does this make life easier for the designer, but for the client too, and could revolutionize the way the industry works. Other industries are already making use of this, with Sotheby's now allowing clients to shop for luxury homes using virtual reality.
So disruptive is this technology, that some have suggested we're on the verge of another industrial revolution. 3D printing is efficient, quick and extremely cost-effective, meaning interior designers can quickly demonstrate ideas and form (in miniature, of course) without having to actually build anything - much in the same way they can with VR.
3D printing also dramatically reduces the time from coming up with an idea to getting a prototype, to mass production, and brings the costs down too. Cheaper and quicker production makes life easier for designers and much more palatable for clients, making it truly revolutionary for the industry.