Our home is the most intimate but also the most social space where we live. This year the new initiative of Salone del Mobile is concerning lifestyle and contemporary living styles. The home is the most intimate yet also the most social place in which we live our lives. Lifestyles are in continuous evolution, and it is in the home – the theater and stage of daily experience – that the most significant socio-economic, technological and cultural changes manifest themselves, fruit of the advanced present we live in, and of our imagined future.
LivingScapes is the research conducted by the Salone del Mobile. Milano Trend Lab – the new research lab and intelligence center of the Salone del Mobile – to identify the principal international trends in the world of design, furniture and living. The aim is to study evolving lifestyles and predict which will become indispensable in the future so as to then imagine products capable of satisfying new living needs, both inside and outside the home. The socio-cultural approach and ethnographic research method distinguish the study thanks to their capacity to see the world-home as an object-place inhabited by individuals with personal and relational needs that evolve with the changes in society, in our image of the world, in lifestyles and in the socio-economic context.
The various meanings of contemporary living will this find a declension in trends, in turn described through ways of living that find expression in the objects that the home contains, that furnish and fill it.
The home is considered in its dual dimension as HOUSE – the physical and structural space and tools – and as HOME – lived space and the behaviors, inclinations, ideas and choices that organize the space and govern performance, interactions with objects, gestures, rituals and relationships.
The objective consists in identifying and understanding the individual and social meanings of the home as a place in a state of continual change that reflects lifestyles, which are also constantly transforming.
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The experience of living/inhabiting consists of four main elements: bodies, which is to say people, the primary subjects of living; spaces, the physical places and constructions where living is organized and develops; objects, the furnishings, utensils and ornaments that integrate our living spaces; and the images through which the esthetic character of living is expressed. Objects, things are animated in the same way as people, they are proxies of strong relationships, next to us. And they are capable of telling about us.
Goods and objects have an oneiric quality that helps transfigure reality. Today, the home has assumed a new centrality in contemporary social experience and represents a mirror not only of new esthetic and expressive trends, but the behavior and lifestyle of those who live there. It is a porous container, more open than ever to innovations and contaminations from the ‘outside’, a “hyperworlhyperworld’ that is permeable to the new experiences of consumption, in turn enriched by new uses and meanings. It is an instrument of self-extension that responds to the needs and desires of people who, through their homes as through fashion, express their own social identity.
The objects and furnishings of the home have an existential value, because they are signs, ideas, symbols of identity.
The home is the narration of those who live in it. Inhabitants imbue spaces and objects with a meaning that goes beyond architecture and design, because the irreducible subjectivity of living comes into play. Indeed, it is above all ‘things’ that make a home. There is an interesting dual connection between the inhabitants and the ‘things’ therein. The personality of those who live there is unintelligible without the background of the furnishings.
As the privileged space of the expression of self, the home changes and evolves alongside contemporary social and cultural shifts. Economic crisis, the main driver of change in recent years, has determined the emergence of number of new practices and habits – swapping, self-production, DIY, etc. – which have found fertile ground in the home.
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The digital revolution and the emerging paradigm of the sharing economy are redesigning and giving new meaning to private spaces with a view to increasingly pushing the boundaries towards public space, i.e. the home as an important hub of the sociosphere (Edgar Morin).
New technologies have made homes hyper-connected, transforming them first of all into the new workplaces, as well as adaptive ‘organisms’ existing somewhere between the physical and digital worlds. The home is therefore a multifaceted universe, ever more layered with the experiences of the people who live, work, play, spend their time, cultivate their relationships and build their identities and biographies within its walls.
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