Our House is our Corner of the World—
It is our Universe

There is an emotional release when we close the door on the world each night. I’ve noticed a big shift comes in the way that consumers now regard their houses as ‘homes’ rather than properties which can be mortgaged against credit or sold on for profit. With this comes a new feeling of ‘homesteading’, expressed through the desire to garden, grow food and invest in home entertainment. The house itself is changing, as the traditional rules that govern interiors give way to new social and environmental behaviours.

 A resident waters a portable garden at the 50 Baugruppen in Berlin, a  co-housing project  designed to demonstrate how people can act as developers of their own homes.

A resident waters a portable garden at the 50 Baugruppen in Berlin, a co-housing project designed to demonstrate how people can act as developers of their own homes.

Alongside this comes a new desire to understand ‘value’. This is not just reflected in a push towards thrift, make do and mend, haggling, and price comparisons, but also in a new attitudes to luxury. Consumers have a new understanding of what ‘value’ and ‘values’ truly mean and a growing desire to criss-cross market segments.

 MUJI Hut prefab home designed by Jasper Morrison. Morrison's cork-clad structure features zones for cooking, eating, sleeping, and washing up.

MUJI Hut prefab home designed by Jasper Morrison. Morrison's cork-clad structure features zones for cooking, eating, sleeping, and washing up.

Luxury sales may be growing globally at between 2% and 4%, but it is not across the board. Western and Japanese consumers determined to live within their means are going for budget lines, private label products or brands with proven pedigree, quiet dignity and clear investment value. The knock-on can also be seen in design. The 20th century agenda of constant novelty, rapid change in style over content is now given way to a more considered approach exemplified by well thought out Product, simplified design and longevity.

Once a major source of pollution, design is now closely tied to cradle-to-cradle principles and has a newly social face.

 "Life begins well. It begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom of the house" — Gaston Bachelard

"Life begins well. It begins enclosed, protected, all warm in the bosom of the house" — Gaston Bachelard

It will be a period of self questioning: how big a house do I really need? Who am I, how do I express my individuality in a sea of sameness. This disruption is demanding of designers, brands will have to rewrite all the conventions.

Technology is now being designed to integrate seamlessly and imperceptibly with the personal objects, products and artefacts that surround us. Getting the basics right and concentrating on quality essentials is the current message as consumers seek out considered consumption and want to streamline their living.

We as consumers are seeking the humanised over the hyped through experiences that bring us together such as products designed for sharing. 

Brands need to work harder to become genuinely useful rather than merely aspirational, offering considered design and beautiful simplicity.