20 October 2021
Author: Britt Berden and Kathryn Bishop
Image: The Butterfly Bridge by Christoph Dichmann
Considering citizens’ identities in tomorrow’s Equilibrium Cities, Dae uk Kim's Elektra project will focus on the need for intersectional urban spaces and objects – a rejection of heteronormative architecture. Kim hopes to transcend design rules associated with rigid gender boundaries to explore a future in which intersectional developments and inclusive spaces and systems will flourish in synch with cities’ more diverse communities. Reflecting the evolving needs of future residents, Elektra will define a safer, more supportive built environment fuelled by community autonomy. By questioning architecture's current design standards, Kim wants to design for an ambiguous society where fluid demographics excel and gendered tropes are no longer relevant – or powerful.
With a more elastic approach to living set to infiltrate society further in the 2020s, Anna Resei will examine the changing ways that future generations will want to live, work and travel, and the solutions that will emerge in response. Also focusing on fluidity and flexibility, Resei proposes the Tele-nomadic Sheltering Unit, a dwelling that is durable, moveable and designed to combat overconsumption associated with urban living. This reductionist and alternative way of living will straddle retro-future systems; it is designed to be repaired but is also imbued with connectivity, therefore supporting more nomadic living.
Swapping tangible urban concepts and activations for a phygital future of urban engagement, other designers are envisaging cities that are interactive and shaped through digital platforms or experiences. Christoph Dichmann's project aims to improve biodiversity in the built environment, handing digital tools to citizens so they can have an active role in the development and appearance of their urban surroundings, informing and crowdsourcing planning and ideas for planting and green spaces.
Dichmann's AR game Butterfly Bridge, for example, encourages urbanites to collect biodiversity data through their camera phones. Taking this one step further for the exhibition, Dichmann is proposing a physical fountain that represents this data. Not only will this be a place where residents can interact, make connections and build community, but also a focal point to promote dispersion of seeds to grow and encourage more urban butterflies.
Expanding on the aforementioned flexible future of living, Sorrel Madley will explore new economic models in a scenario in which anything and everything can be rented. Madley wants to push the idea of a post-ownership world towards the bizarre and absurd through radical new metrics of progress. At a time when the world and its residents are seeking to reduce consumption, Madley asks: ‘What will it be like to create the last objects people will choose to own?’ Fiercely questioning the ethical implications of our consumption society, her project will position urban renting as a way to tackle overconsumption and the desire for material goods.
Join The Future Laboratory, Dutch Invertuals and two of this year’s exhibitingdesigners on The Future Laboratory's Instagram, as we explore how design can foster our future cities, where collective ownership, fluid identities and nature will thrive.