We are very passionate about discovering and exploring new technologies and ideas that contribute to making our lives and cities more enjoyable, functional and sustainable. We are particularly interested in the intersection between design and technology, where we are seeing a new paradigm in the way that people are living. As architects, urban designers and future visionaries, we need to think carefully about how people will be living, playing, learning and working in the future. We have recently decided to start publishing some of our findings and work in progress.
Some of our current topics of interest are:
1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Technologies: How can we make the most of mixed reality / virtual world technologies and use it successfully as a design tool.
It is easy to see how this technology can be useful in terms of visualisation but how can we make it more useful as a design tool or interactive entertainment device. One of the main barriers to transitioning to 3d workflow is its useability and control systems. We see developing a universal 3d language, that can be adapted for each application, as a key step to making this work. If we designers are then able to move into an actual, off the screen, 3d workflow then we need to think about what our design spaces / studios might look like. Other issues then arise such as ergonomics of 3D workflow - will we get RSI or will being more physically active have a positive influence on our health and well being? It is possible that we could also move backwards and use real world tools in the 3d workflow process, eg why not pick up an actual paint can (obviously one that is empty and made for the application) and spray the holographic model when you want to change the colour.
If we want to use these technologies in a more mainstream, day to day manner, the same challenge that exists with other 'wearable technology' exists. (Image above shows Microsoft's Hololens). Is it truly wearable? Is it too heavy? Does the device fit our identity? Can we power it for long enough? Will there be privacy issues?
2. De-isolating parents by providing solutions to help balance parenthood, career and socialising. While women have progressed a lot in the last 50 years, support systems and facilities that allow new mothers, or fathers in some cases, to balance both parenthood and a career are still lagging behind. Children used to be brought up in a more communal 'village' scenario and now young parents are more isolated. One such solution is shown here, in Paris, where you are able to bring your baby along to this co-working creche.
3. Mobile working and Co-working - As frequent travellers who find ourselves working in all sorts of interesting places, we are big supporters of mobile working. We support initiatives such as co-working spaces and remote abroad programmes to combat issues of isolation that come with this new, flexible way of working. We would like to see a more globalised approach allowing people the option to have global memberships to workspaces worldwide. Ideally this would come with global / dual location memberships to schools, apartments and healthcare to allow families - particularly where the parents come from different countries - to share their time between the different places and allow their children to grow up with their families in different places, multi-lingual and better understanding their mixed identities.
4. Exploring the future of learning environments and how this may look with an integrated approach between design, technology and pedagogy. We see a move towards Open, flexible, playscapes that are environmentally focused and responsive to the rapidly changing needs of learning and technological developments.