Room by room, automation is changing interior architecture


Room by room, automation is changing interior architecture

Robotics and automation are an essential part of any vision of how we will live in the future. Among architects and designers, this trend cuts across a variety of scales, from smart cities to smart kitchens. As we highlighted in our Trends That Will Influence Architecture in 2019, the last few years have seen a strengthening in the way interior spaces are transformed by technology, with home automation searches that have climbed 450% in twelve. month.

Scribe / ARC.  Image © Gary di Silvio and Giacomo MangiaSMART Seura mirror.  Image courtesy of SeuraGira automatic light control.  Image © GIRABumblebee spaces.  Image © Jason Henry for The New York Times+ 9

While utopian (and dystopian) visions of interior spaces living with responsive automated systems are still largely unrealized, there is clear evidence from architectural firms and product manufacturers that the growing dominance of robotics and the automation that we see in transportation, finance, security and other sectors also finds its mark in interior design. Below we describe four areas where innovations have already been presented and adopted.


Scribe / ARC.  Image © Gary di Silvio and Giacomo Mangia
Scribe / ARC. Image © Gary di Silvio and Giacomo Mangia

If robotics is often seen as a performance tool in interior spaces, its use also extends to aesthetics. In 2018 Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) unveiled Scribit, a ‘writing robot’ that draws images and text on any wall surface, transforming the office, living spaces and walls of the home. bathroom in a blank canvas for artistic expression. Using built-in engines, Scribit can draw, undo and redraw new content an infinite number of times, allowing users to print different images, messages or feeds every day.

Scribit is always connected to the Internet, which allows users to upload, download or search any content online. Working in real time, Scribit immediately replicates all data sent to it by the user, whether it is a restaurant displaying the daily menu, a financial company displaying stock market updates in its lobby. , or an art enthusiast projecting their own content on the living room wall.


Bumblebee spaces.  Image © Jason Henry for The New York Times
Bumblebee spaces. Image © Jason Henry for The New York Times

The future of robotics in interior design will inevitably have an impact on how furniture is used and adapted, as our growing habitation of smaller spaces in cities requires creative approaches to interior flexibility. Innovative start-ups Bumblebee Spaces are breaking the third dimension in the pursuit of comfortable and efficient living, with what they describe as “a robotic AI butler furniture system that deploys from the ceiling by pressing a pad of command or by voice command “.

Drawing inspiration from KonMari’s minimalism and anti-clutter movement, the Bumblebee system also creates a journal of objects kept in its wood storage cubes for long periods of time, gently reminding the user when it might be time to let go of his long-forgotten goods.

Lighting and heating

Gira automatic light control.  Image © GIRA
Gira automatic light control. Image © GIRA

Interior lighting is a prime target for automation, given existing technologies that detect human presence and movement in spaces. Automated lighting controls have the potential to save energy in homes by limiting excess light in unoccupied rooms, while improving occupant safety and convenience. An example from our product catalog is Gira, whose automatic lighting control system extends to house entrances, walkways, corridors and stairs.

Meanwhile, the MIT Senseable City Lab, through its Local Warming project, explored the possibilities of a thermal cloud following humans through interior space. This thermal cloud would allow infrared heating elements to merge with motion tracking, creating a precise personal climate for each occupant of indoor spaces, improving comfort while reducing unnecessary heating of empty rooms.


SMART Seura mirror.  Image courtesy of Seura
SMART Seura mirror. Image courtesy of Seura

As we explored during our month-long focus on innovation, home automation transforms even rooms as basic and personal as bathrooms. While smart mirrors offer possibilities like reading the news while brushing your teeth, a new generation of showers promise to save up to 90% water and 80% energy. These technologies are only a small fraction of the possibilities of the bathroom of the future. From body dryers to health check toothbrushes, drawers that warm your towels, to flooring that send a fall alert, the possibilities seem endless.

What Can Architects Do?

© AVE Chile
© AVE Chile

With a vast array of robotic devices and systems entering the market, architects and designers are faced with the challenge of designing and specifying for the implementation of these systems. Recently, we collaborated with AVE Chile to present 8 tips on how architects can incorporate home automation into their next project, from pre-process test systems to installations by electrical specialists.

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