New Design Directions in Furniture

A while back I was blathering about how we’re probably going to be living in smaller spaces and alluding to how our lifestyles are going to change in the near future. Low and behold, it seems that some designers are already embracing our future. I would have thought it would have taken a lot longer.

This Dia Sofa, pictured above, is an excellent example of the upcoming lifestyle changes we’re going to see manifest in furniture. The big pushes are going to be the combining of activities in smaller spaces and the begrudging acceptance of new ways of living, despite what they say is a bad idea. This sofa plays to those sentiments as it is designed with an area so a person can operate a laptop or eat while watching TV or something. This concept gels two thoughts I had: one being that the dining room – and everything in it, is pretty much extinct and the second is that we’re going to see more emphasis on the creation of personal spaces within larger areas.

The dining room is done, folks. From one side, it is done because there just is no capability to sit down and have a family dinner any more. A family’s time arrangements just don’t allow for it. The other reason is that space is quickly becoming a premium where every square foot counts and a room that’s never used is too valuable a space to leave aside.

With these smaller spaces there’ll be an enhanced need to create personal spaces. The monolithic entertainment scenario of the present is ceding to individual pursuits. People will now be ‘together’ in a room but separate in their own entertainment zones. We will each have our own media devices, envisioned now as laptops but I am sure they will eventually give way to tablets of some kind, further personalizing and streamlining the scenario.

Furniture will have to make drastic changes to accommodate this new multi-functional sense of living. Like the sofa above, they will have to take on multiple tasks in small areas. We will use our easy chairs to eat from, be entertained from and generally live in much more than today. The large multi-occupant couch will begin to see it’s demise as well, due to this pursuit of individual actions rather than the gathering for group activities.

I envision a ‘living room’ of the near future more of a collection of upholstered individual chairs where a family might gather together with their own pursuits, keenly aware of the other family members around them but also in their own virtual bubble of personal space. I know it doesn’t sound romantic or even loving, but we’re nearly there and this is all just evolution anyhow. It would be just as weird for Ward Cleaver to see how we lived in the 80’s as this is to us now.

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