Microbial Home suggests that people should move closer to nature and proposes strategies for developing a balanced microbial ecosystem in the home. "Designers have an obligation to explore solutions which are by nature less energy-consuming and non-polluting," says Clive van Heerden, Senior Director of Design-led Innovation at Philips Design. "We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, how homes consume energy and how entire communities can pool resources," concludes van Heerden.
While the electro-mechanical age may have caused these problems, van Heerden proposes that it could also help find the solution. "Technological development has enabled us to mimic nature's processes. Now all that is lacking is a collective change in consciousness to take us into a Biological Age, one where materials can repair themselves and where by-products are no longer waste but fuel for other systems. We are going to live through this epoch change whether we choose to or not. Failure to adjust our thinking, and with it our behaviors, will force the earth to exercise its self-correcting mechanisms over us." Necessity, as the old adage goes, is the mother of invention. Only one question remains: what part do we want to play?
Five lifelike models of the concepts within the Microbial Home domestic ecosystem were shown to the public at the Piet Hein Eek gallery during Dutch Design Week (DDW).
Philips Design Probes projects are intended to understand future socio-cultural and technological shifts with a view to developing nearer-term scenarios.