“Living Tomorrow” is a permanent exhibition where you can see how tomorrow’s technologies’ will integrate with our daily lives. Next to an exhibition, the project functions as an R&D-testground, as well as a synergetic and a social platform for partner companies. Microsoft, Xerox, 3com and Toshiba are just some of the big names that provide the leading-edge technology around which the project is centered. The house of the future is revised/rebuilt every 5 years to keep up with the fast pace of today’s technological development.
Living Tomorrow is housed inside a standalone complex of contemporary architecture situated just outside Brussels. Concrete, steel and glass are used extensively.
Inside the house, we are taken on a guided tour and halt at key places for explanation and demos: the living room, bathroom, kitchen, home theater, sleeping space and office. Work of Belgian architects, designers and artists play an important role in the classy interior decoration.
The House is wired throughout for full remote control (e.g. from the workplace). This can be as simple as warming up food or as complicated as authorizing access to maintenance personnel. Confronted with security threats, the house fills itself with a cloud of artificial mist thus reducing visibility and criminal ambitions.
The intelligent positioning of photovoltaic cells in the glass roof allows an uninterrupted and even aesthetic lightfall, next to providing maximal solar energy.
New painting techniques and materials make for a clear interior despite the use of dark colors.
The garden features a jaccuzzi (of course) and a pool. Tomorrow’s outdoor swimming pool will look greenish, clear-pond-like instead of bright blue for harmonious integration with the natural hues of the landscape.
When we step inside the living room our attention is drawn to the tall windows. An air-buffering system on window-level ensures natural continuous air refreshment.
Air-displacement technology provides a smoother, more natural climate management than twentieth centuries’ air-conditioners.
At regular intervals, the walls house discreet domotic consoles. These allow fingertip-configuration of ambient light or music for cosy reading or interacting with the plasma screen on the wall. As future living rooms will evolve towards virtual or real-life meeting places, televison-watching will shift to dedicated “home theaters”.
When the living room’s automatic blinds slide back up again against the ceiling, we step inside the kitchen. Kitchen facilities and hardware slides in or out view and even changes color automatically through variations in lighting.
Devices for food preparation “recognize” different dishes and decide automatically to cool or warm accordingly. The only thing that remains immobile in this Jetson’s kitchen is an agent-interfaced flat screen terminal with biometrically secured payment facilities, allowing for easy and safe online shopping.
Separate bins for glass, paper and more help the accurate charging for tomorrow’s waste through their built-in chips.
We mount the designer staircase and take place in the “home theater”. This area of the house was built and isolated to allow for optimal movie viewing, including acoustically-optimized architecture and a dedicated projector system.
The sleeping’s room is next. We can try out processor-controlled beds that adapt to the sleeper’s physionomy. This can be followed and monitored interactively from the plasma screen that hangs from a rail which is hidden elegantly in the ceiling. The rail allows for an uninterrupted information flow as the occupant can have the screen follow him to the bathroom.
In the bathroom again everything is thought out to allow for economic and efficient daily hygiene. Tomorrow’s bathrooms will come with water free toilets, and speech controlled taps.
We step into the children’s bedroom. We notice stress-reducing, softly curving walls and custom-designed, brightly colored furniture with integrated lighting. The inevitable laptop with webcam for fun, duty and surveillance sits on a discreet studying table.
As network technology makes the distance-issue obsolete, the “home office” becomes more important. We briefly meet with tomorrow’s interactive multimedia enhanced Human Resource work.
We finish our tour with a drink in the bar where we can see another smart application of the air displacement system. Staff and clients are separated by an invisible barrier of mounting air, thus enhancing hygiene and preventing galley smells from spreading.
Plans for the Future involve installments of similar projects in various metropolitan areas. The founders hope that discoveries coming from interaction with socio-geographic differences on other continents will enable a sharing of knowledge thus providing additional value to the concept.
Address: Indringingsweg 1, B-1800 Vilvoorde, Belgium
Tel: +32-2-263 01 33
Text and Photos: Schiettecatte Jan