Smart Salon: Designing for home life in 2030

Design Director
New York

We are spending more time at home than ever before, as technology has blurred the boundaries between how we live, work, and play. Looking forward to the year 2030, home life will likely be facing an even greater set of challenges. How can we start preparing now to anticipate the need of the future?

In order to understand how brands, products, and services might play a more positive and valuable role in the home of the future, Smart Design gathered a group of techno-optimists to discuss how to create a human-first future in an increasingly digital world. At our Smart Salon: Make Yourself at Home event, we proposed some provocations about what our homes may look like in 2030. Framed by insights from our three illuminating speakers—from the fields of cognitive neuroscience, emerging tech, and lifestyle trend forecastingparticipants broke into small-group workshop sessions to tackle problems, challenge assumptions, and consider how businesses will need to adapt in these possible futures.

The Salon explored three new roles and possible Future States for the home as it becomes:

01 Provider

02 Caregiver

03 Mediator

Future State 01: Home as a Provider

Instill dignity and flexibility

In the not-so-distant future, our time spent in the outside world may diminish, as we are forced to face the realities of climate change, the growth of personalized technology, and services that will deliver just about anything to our door. The home of the future may take on the role of a provider, taking care of our needs and remotely connecting us to activities and services.

Challenges & opportunites ideated in the workshop:

  • Retain the idea of heirlooms in a future where we own less
  • Create tech solutions that retain the warmth of the human connection
  • Design products and services that will instill community and social cohesion

Ideally, this future state will allow for increased flexibility and control over what you do with your time. However, cognitive neuroscientist Araceli Camargo, who has studied the effects of climate change on the human psyche, noted that the home carries significant emotional resonance and we need to consider how to preserve psychological security, prevent isolation, and retain social cohesion as communities are displaced.

“Currently, the most significant threat to home is climate change. There is nothing more significant to a person’s development than the home—it is where you forge emotional bonds, it is where you first learn things. We need to think beyond just innovation and think about how we can bring dignity to people, not just a commodity or service.”

Araceli Camargo, Lab Director at The Centric Lab

Future State 02: Home as a Caregiver

Empower healthier lifestyle decisions

As science and technology continue to take leaps towards prolonging life, it is likely that health management will be one of the biggest areas of growth in the home in 2030. We know that people are aging better and staying in their homes longer, and with the rise of telemedicine and personalized health services, what will happen if our home becomes our caretaker?

Challenges & opportunities ideated in the workshop: 

  • Value aesthetics to keep the home from looking like a hospital
  • Define the boundaries between directives and choices
  • Be aware of the “spam effect” when giving constant advice
  • Consider emotional wellbeing alongside physical needs

The benefit of the home serving as the guardian of our wellbeing has the potential to transition healthcare from supporting to evolving our lives. But as this omnipresent authority begins to intervene with our bodies and minds, it is important to consider how health extends beyond physical needs to emotional wellbeing. As we are seeing once-fantasy technology (such as ingestible pills that monitor you from the inside out) become available, MIT Design Lab Director Yihyun Lin believes that healthcare’s next evolution will be will be continuous and seamless care.

 

“We are moving from the era of where you had go to the hospital to get treated, to the more preventative methods being used currently, and now we are moving to predictive medicine that can monitor and alert you to changes in your health.”

—Yihyun Lin, Director at MIT Design Lab

 

Future State 03: Home as a Mediator

Compromising between different generations

The home of the future may not only be able to take care of us individually, but will be able to moderate between people’s personal needs when living communally. Similarly to how we trust GPS to guide our route while driving, the home of the future may guide our decision-making and negotiation process in our individual lives and within our families. What would happen if our home has the ability to take a neutral stance when navigating divergent interests and shared experiences?

Challenges and opportunities ideated in the workshop:

  • Demonstrate deep expertise while remaining subjective
  • Bring some personality to neutrality to avoid decisions feeling sterile
  • Value adaptability over singular functions
  • Learn generational nuances to make everyone feel comfortable and understood

The need for moderation is becoming ever more apparent when looking at multi-generational homes, which are only expected to increase in the coming years. By understanding at the personality of current generations (such as the cognizant and connected Gen Z), consumer trend expert Tom Mirabile believes compromise and consent will be the most important elements to consider when predicting what each generation will need and value by 2030. The need for voluntary participation is crucial to living harmoniously in a home that is always adapting and compromising.

“As homes become more of a crowded house of interests and different personalities, how do we enable flexible transformation?”

—Tom Mirable, Consumer Trend Forecaster

Are you interested in exploring the future of the home? Contact us here.
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