TECHNOLOGY WILL CONTINUE TO SHAPE OUR LIVES
- January 14, 2011Instant ConnectionsDaniel Drolet
OTTAWA-Our increasingly wireless, digital and networked world is changing the look, feel and function of our homes.
Just as the advent of television created the rec room in the heady ’60s, helping to bring the family together for frozen meals and the Ed Sullivan Show, modern technology is now leading us to demand open-concept living spaces and instant connections to the world — anywhere, anytime.
It’s down with walls and up with wireless devices and touch screens.
The television — the centrepiece of rooms for the last half-century — may be on its way out. Hand-crafted and mixed-media designs are on their way in to decorate our open-concept, multi-use rooms.
So say some of the thinkers and designers gathering for Canada’s largest contemporary design fair. The Interior Design Show (IDS), set to run in Toronto from Jan. 27 to 30 will feature 300 exhibitors and their cutting-edge design, as well as top designers and thinkers.
Over four intensive days, people will get a chance to see — and hear — where design is headed.
One of the many big names at this year’s show is Douglas Coupland, the trendsetter and trendspotter who studied art and design before turning to writing.
Technology is shaping our living spaces, Coupland said in an interview from his Vancouver home, shortly before leaving for Toronto and his appearance at a symposium, Conversations in Design.
People want to live in open, multi-use spaces, says the modern philosopher. When anyone moves into an older home with lots of separate rooms, “the first thing anyone does is blow out the walls. You don’t want a wall between the kitchen and the dining room, or the dining room and the living room.”
“What you have today is a need for open communication, and that is physically manifesting itself in the removal of walls — to the point where if you have a room that’s just a room, it’s creepy.”
In a house with fewer walls, living spaces become multi-purpose. Gone are the days when the dining room was just for eating: “I think the era of single-use rooms is over,” says Coupland, explaining that wireless connections make it easier to move ourselves — and our devices — around.
For example, Coupland says he now watches most of his television on his laptop, which of course in a wireless home can be moved anywhere. As TV becomes less tied to a television set, that may mean the demise of the traditional television.
Hunter Tura, president and CEO of Toronto-based Bruce Mau Design, agrees.“I don’t think we’re going to need TVs in the same way,” he says, adding that because TVs are one of the largest objects in a home, this can’t help but change the way the home looks and functions.
Electronic devices will continue to shape our living spaces, adds Tura.
“Almost every innovation you can talk about over the last 10 years has been digital,” he says, pointing to Facebook, Skype or iTunes.
As digital concepts gain traction, homes are going digital and wireless.
Bye-bye big stereos with receivers and amps. Hello things like Apple TV, a digital receiver that streams shows to your laptop or TV.
The easier a product is to use, the greater the chances it will be embraced. Tura says he believes a threshold has been crossed — probably with Apple’s iPod — that opens the way to a greater acceptance of digital devices.
“Apple is a good example; things are just easier to use. If you bought a Dell computer in 1996, just getting online was a huge headache; now you just throw open your MacBook and it will find the wireless; just hit the browser and go.”
Coupland, meanwhile, says the concept of a home’s centre — the place everyone gathers — is no longer tied to specific place in the house. It’s more changeable, says Coupland, because a home’s communal space is more flexible.
Even though homes are more about open spaces, privacy is still important, although it has changed and is changing, he says.
Full Article on Ottawa Citizen
Hunter Tura in the Ottawa Citizen