When you envisage the future, what do you see? At a time when it seems like there’s little left to innovate and create, a select few are rethinking the way we use our everyday environments and objects. We know smartphones, but what about smart walls, smart doors, a smart house? This is a reality for design firm Downstream, that are bringing our digital dreams to life and innovating the physical environments we use daily.
Nathan Bell, General Manager of Downstream in Melbourne had a start to his career in advertising, but has since jumped the fence to environmental design. “Downstream has allowed me to combine my crafts in advertising, branding and experiential design, and integrate these with my love for interior architecture and technology.” says Nathan.
Downstream designs “intelligent environments” that utilise the potential space of workplaces, retail stores, galleries and museums, etc. to automate processes and streamline the user experience. Downstream recently redesigned the offices of PwC to include interactive designs like wall portals that greet guests for check-in and a multi-storey digital “waterfall” that broadcasts news and media.
Downstream believes that inspiring interiors create inspired people, working harder and thinking laterally. “We know from experience that smart, connected workplaces are integral to delivering diverse solutions and most importantly, diverse users of those environments.
“When people experience, first hand, data, content, technology and responsive interiors coming together to cultivate a progressive, solution oriented workplace, it can give the user a unique perspective or help draw new connections on a problem or issue they’re trying to solve.” says Nathan.
Will we be seeing a smart house any time soon? “An inspiring interior ensures that all human senses are active in order to encourage an emotive connection, but it’s not limited to offices.” says Nathan. That potential is awesome.
What could a future ‘smart house’ look like? A smart alarm analyses your sleeping patterns and wakes you during the lightest sleep cycle so you feel better rested and more awake. You don’t need any coffee, but the wifi enabled coffee maker is programmed to issue a freshly brewed cup as soon as you wake. Amazon’s Echo Look chooses an outfit for you, Clueless style and you’re on your way! The robot vacuum ensures the house is spotless and you control the house’s temperature, lighting and security from your smartwatch. Pretty cool, huh?
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.