Tech and home design

How is tech changing the future of home design?

With more of us appreciating the value of staying in for the evening, appliance and electronics manufacturers are stepping up to the challenge with products that are as design-forward and artistic as they are functional.

Standards of living have risen dramatically in recent years, and continue to improve. As such, people are setting higher standards for themselves personally — at home, at work — and consumer choices have fallen in line with those standards. Gone are the days of the functional appliance. As we collectively turn our attention to our homes, décor and design have become crucial; the right sofa against the right wallpaper means more when we’re at home to see it. When Apple launched its iMac in 1998, it brought a new focus to design for the things inside our homes — and the world hasn’t looked back. Sleek and clean is the order of the day.

Entertaining guests and relaxing domesticity might start with the perfect wing chairs or a statement piece to build around, but it also means having the right tech to work with, that looks as elegant as regular furnishings. Televisions are as much a part of the living room as they’ve ever been, and as such, South Korean electronics giant Samsung has created a unit to blend in. Its Frame TV, designed by Yves Behar, delivers sharp, HD 4K images on a screen that looks like a framed piece of art when not in use. If a black screen isn’t an issue, German manufacturer Loewe’s Bauhaus-inspired Bild-9 is a radical departure from standard units, with an angular steel frame that adds an industrial chic aesthetic to the home without sacrificing the brand’s technological standards.

A party or special occasion usually means music will be playing, and manufacturers like Bang & Olufsen and Devialet are putting a visual spin on sound. B&O’s hexagonal BeoSound Shape wireless wall speakers become geometric art when customised to individual tastes. Or their BeoLab 17 is another great choice – sleek, modern yet functional.

If you have a big enough wall, up to 44 speakers can be arranged in whatever manner is desired to create stylish piece that also delivers crystalline sound. For serious audiophiles, Devialet’s Phantom, in stainless steel, silver or pink gold, is a lifestyle piece with a futuristic design that pops out in the right room or terrace and tech to match; its graceful curves deliver concert hall-quality sound.

Elsewhere, kitchen and bathroom appliances have also been blessed with as much graceful, contemporary design as their electrical counterparts, with fashion labels such as Giorgio Armani and Ferragamo creating sleek, intuitive suites for the prosaic acts of cooking and bathing, France’s Lacanche reaching into history for its “high end art for the kitchen” in its gourmet-friendly ranges — in 24 colours — and Dornbracht transforming simple faucets into streamlined icons that are nearly sculptural.

Colours and finishes may come and go, but elegant interiors are here to stay.

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