Inside recommends…Home Futures at The Design Museum
If you’re going to go to an exhibition about the spaces we inhabit every day, you might as well do it at The Design Museum. When we visited, its dramatic angular façade on Kensington High Street was illuminated against London’s dusk sky, the warmth and hubbub from inside peeking out from between other, disappointingly straighter, buildings. Inside, it teemed with Londoners – a woman in front exclaimed delightedly, ‘Right on my doorstep, babe!’ to her partner as we went through the door – and out-of-towners alike, all staring in wonder at its cavernous interior, at its gloriously unsettling angles, rich fabrics and playful installations.
We resisted the temptation to head straight for the gift shop and explored the Home Futures exhibition. As home obsessives, we felt it only right to see what it had to say. And we liked it. Moving from decade to decade within every space, the exhibition was structured thematically by variations of the way we have lived, currently live or imagine we could live our lives.
From the 1950s dream of a fully automated home that would take care of the chores for us – although, as the exhibition reveals, today’s automation hasn’t actually decreased the amount of time we spend doing housework – to the ‘60s obsession with living in plastic bubbles through to our modern need for spatial efficiency, Home Futures examines our relationship with the home today.
Much of previous decades’ preoccupation was with a definitive space – usually one that we strived, over time, to own and build a family in. Now, as we increasingly work and communicate digitally, and as the rental and sharing economies boom, the exhibition asks: what do we mean by home now? Is it still one fixed place? Or does it move with us as we learn to live in transit, with fewer belongings and with less hope (or desire) to belong in just one structure?
In the main Home Futures film, a number of interviewees, including artists, designers, journalists and philosophers explore the modern idea of what home means – and it’s a question they come at differently, but all clearly struggle to answer. British artist and curator Richard Wentworth says: ‘That’s probably the most difficult question I’ve been asked in the last month. It’s like asking someone to describe their underwear – it’s very immediate.’
And, ultimately, it’s very personal. But it’s a fascinating subject to explore at a time of incredible domestic flux. What do we want to keep from our past associations of what home means? And what do we want to change or improve in this era of technology?
Book your tickets here.