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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

Forward thinking: 7 home designs of the future to be excited for

Here’s an assortment of objects, some of which are already in production, others that exist merely as ideas, that we think would make our lives that little bit better in the years to come.
A handout image of Barisieur (Courtesy: Barisieur)
A handout image of Barisieur (Courtesy: Barisieur)

Design is an ever-evolving thing – a constant, unending desire by humans to create solutions, sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate, to everyday needs. And with a new year just around the corner, what better time to take a look at some of the designs of the future? Here’s an assortment of objects, some of which are already in production, others that exist merely as ideas, that we think would make our lives that little bit better in the years to come.

1. Barisieur

Designed to make mornings more bear­able, the Barisieur combines a tea- and coffee-­making machine with an alarm clock. It’s reminiscent of those teasmades that enjoyed such popularity in the 1970s, but has been given an artful update for a caffeine-­obsessed age.

You prep the Barisieur before going to sleep at night. According to Josh Renouf, the mastermind behind the product, there’s much to be said for establishing a ritual before going to bed, effectively telling your body that it’s time to start winding down. You can choose to have your drink brewed before, after or during your alarm call; either way, you will start your day to the sound of gently bubbling water and the smell of freshly brewed coffee or loose-leaf tea. You can also charge your phone using the USB port in the base of the machine.

The Barisieur is crafted from high-quality walnut and bespoke borosilicate glassware, with a compression moulded Bakelite base. With its slimline but vintage-style design, we imagine it will be with you for many mornings to come.

“I was inspired by my research into the psychology behind sleep and relaxation, and how ritual and stimulation can help create the right environment for rest,” Renouf says. “We have worked continuously to refine the design, for the perfect-quality product, and now here it is.”

Renouf has raised millions of dirhams to develop the product via online crowd­funding, and the Barisieur is now available to pre-order, from US$299 (Dh1,098), plus postage, at www.barisieur.com

2. Smartduvet

If making the bed is your least favourite job, the folks at Smartduvet have a solution for you.

The system consists of a simple, breathable, lightweight, inflatable sheet that’s positioned between your duvet and duvet cover. This, in turn, is connected to an air blower that’s small enough to be concealed under your bed. When you activate the ­Smartduvet, the sheet’s air chamber is filled – miraculously shifting your duvet back into place.

The Smartduvet connects with your smartphone, with an app that allows you to preset a different bed-making time each day (meaning you can easily allow for a sleep-in on the weekends).

It’s a great solution for busy people who want to cut non-essential tasks out of their day – or those who are tired of trying to convince their children to tidy their rooms each morning. But the Smartduvet team are also keen to point out how useful a tool this can be for those with reduced mobility and other disabilities.

The team has been raising funds on ­Kickstarter this month, and the Smartduvet is available to pre-order from $199 (Dh731) at www.smartduvet.com

3. Allintravelbag

It’s a bag for all seasons. Recognising that a single bag can seldom address all your travel needs, the team behind the ­Allintravelbag has created a piece of sleek-looking ­carry-on luggage that will adapt to your varying ­demands.

Made from hard aluminium alloy bars, interspersed with rubber foam, the bag features a series of zips that can be used to control its size. The bag can expand by 350 per cent – in its smallest form, it’s eight centimetres thick, with a capacity of 17 litres; at its largest, it’s 28cm wide, with a 61L capacity, which means it can easily be transformed from a handy day pack or a camera bag for photographers to a piece of airline-­friendly hand luggage.

Designed and produced in Italy by ­Andrea Calissi and Thomas Plebani, the ­Allintravelbag’s exterior is made from a ­nylon that’s essentially bulletproof, not to mention water-resistant, and it’s fitted with a GPS tracker and security system to keep all your valuables safe. It comes with a blue, red and white trim, with rollerblade wheels, to ensure it moves smoothly, even on uneven ground. Best of all, you can flatten it to store it under your bed when it’s not in use.

4. Plants-Skin

Organised by the Japanese car brand in an attempt to support young designers from around the world, the annual Lexus Design Award is a breeding ground for innovative ideas. This year’s edition of the awards attracted more than 1,200 entries from 73 different countries. Japanese designer Hiroto Yoshizoe was one of eight finalists, with his project Plants-Skin.

We love this idea, because what could be more useful than a planter that tells you when your plants need to be watered? “Plants-Skin is created using a moderately permeable planter made from a coloured mortar, which was then coated with hydro-chromic ink,” Yoshizoe explains. “When the surface absorbs water, the white ink becomes transparent and colours appear. The levels of dryness and moisture are represented as beautiful colour gradations on the surface of the planter. It’s almost like listening to them breathe.”

5. Bio-Vide

When it comes to designs of the future, new and innovative materials are the order of the day. Another finalist in this year’s Lexus Design Award, Takuma Yamazaki looked at the idea of using fallen leaves to construct objects ranging from tables to envelopes. In a visualisation of the idea that all things eventually return to the earth, Yamazaki proposed Bio-Vide, a combination of fallen leaves and resin, passed through a hot press.

“The fallen leaves are composed mainly of cellulose, hemicellulose polysaccharide, lignin, resin and carbonyl, which are similar to elements found in wood,” the designer explains. “In modern society, everything is systematically divided, causing us not to see things as being part of a whole.

“We don’t think about where things come from, how they are processed and what happens after we throw them away. There is a sense of transience and a feeling of sadness when things reach an end. I feel there is something important there that cannot be expressed in words, so I’ve decided to express it through my work, Bio-Vide.”

6. Coffee as a Material

This year’s edition of the Global Grad Show, held in conjunction with Dubai Design Week, saw students from leading universities around the world present ideas relating to three categories: Empower, Connect and ­Sustain. Innovative materials were a recurring theme, highlighted by the Coffee as a Material proposal from Jose Roberto ­Hernandez Euan of Mexico’s University of Guadalajara. Given the amount of waste generated by the coffee industry around the world, Euan proposed that discarded coffee grounds be treated with resins, such as crystal and epoxy, to create a new construction material that’s heat-resistant and aesthetically distinct. In essence, creating something out of what would otherwise be useless.

“Innovation is a powerful word that is in the common language of these times,” Euan says. “Creativity and ideas are a wonderful playground to try to touch the impossible and challenge other designers to move forward. That’s the main idea of our work.”

7. Tip Tap Mat

You know that moment when you get to your front door, weighed down by bags full of grocery shopping, and have to put everything down and rifle through your bag or pockets searching for your keys? That could be a thing of the past, thanks to the Tip Tap Mat.

Envisaged by Gary Ng, Punyotai Thamjamrassri and Giulia Scurati of South Korea’s Kaist university, and also presented at this year’s Global Grad Show, the Tip Tap Mat is a specially designed system that will allow you to unlock doors with your feet. Pressure sensors under the mat detect your movements, transmitting a preordained code to the door’s lock. Once the correct combination is entered, the door will open. Nifty, huh?

sdenman@thenational.ae