michael harboun: the living kitchen michael harboun: the living kitchen
oct 07, 2010

michael harboun: the living kitchen

to turn the faucet on, just touch its tip. to close, use the same gesture.

michaël harboun has sent us images of a prospective kitchen concept he has developed while studying at strate college designers. ‘the living kitchen’ addresses the future of our everyday objects, through new technologies.

simulation of creating a sink and faucet using claytronics the cursor representing the duo tap / sink can move across the surface of the wall

a circle around the point defines the location of the sink from the faucet

today, our environment is populated with physical devices containing digital information. harboun imagines a world where physical objects would gain digital abilities, meaning you could change the shape of any object as you would change say, the contents of your smartphone, altering our relationship with objects which would no longer induce a function by the way it looks. instead, the user himself would define the functions of an object, whereby the user becomes the creator.

the circle is deformed to indicate the width and curve of the future sink

such a technology is currently being researched and developed at the carnegie mellon university under the name of ‘claytronics’. it is made from millions of small intelligent robots which are able to stick and communicate with each other.

once manipulation is complete, the icon disappears and the shape of the sink begins to emerge

with the ‘the living kitchen’ concept, harboun tried to explore how people would interact with ‘claytronics’ within the living environment. the matter would be reactive to exterior stimuli. people would only have to touch the walls of the space in order to make faucets, sinks or cutting boards appear. volumes could be stretched, tested and bent according to the user’s needs. new shapes could be developed by drawing their silhouettes on the surfaces, which could be saved within a digital system and summoned back again. shapes could also be downloaded from a neighbour’s kitchen… or bought in specialized ‘shape-stores’, making the possibilities endless…

the relief can then be pulled from the wall to one’s desired depth. to make it disappear just push it into the wall.

what would that mean in the end for the designer? the designer would still hold a position as guarantor of quality. he would develop sophisticated forms in order to propose the best usages possible for his customer’s needs. he would also play an important role in the way the user interacts with the objects.

the faucet is made in the same way…

‘the living kitchen’ will be on show at the saint-étienne biennale internationale design 2010.

simulation of creating a shelf / serving plate:

left: drawing a line on the wall is enough to bring out a working plan. right: then you set the depth. width can be changed at any time by stretching the horizontal volume.

all forms of cutting can be drawn on the plan. they are then recorded and can be invoked at will.

then on can place vegetables on the form, while keeping their hand resting on it.

fine strips will then emerge and divide the vegetable. the speed of the blades will decrease gradually with the approach of the hand.

the work plan is malleable and can be distorted by any means for different functions.

in its first phase, the cavity serves as a container for accompanying sauce / oil. the diameter and depth can be modified by stretching the volume.

in the second phase, the depth of the container is reduced for serving purposes. the perimeter of the shape is retraced to recover its form.

(function(){var src = document.getElementById('source');src.focus();src.select();src.style.boxSizing=src.style.WebkitBoxSizing=src.style.MozBoxSizing=src.style.MsBoxSizing='border-box';})();

  • Why??
    No new approach at all. Where is at least some the added-value? Is this another star trek wannabe? Feel some kind of exhausted.

    Hannes says:
  • LOL.

    /// says:
  • Claytronics is still in its infancy. I’m excited that people are looking at its possible uses.

    Frenzy says:
  • wow! can I create a woman on the wall?

    young boy says:
  • @young boy hahaha!!!

    A says:
  • Mr. Harboun’s renderings are so provocative that the viewer loses any sense of reality, and in that moment the world of the possible becomes clear. Nanotechnologies represent a well-prophesied, but seldom articulated direction in the design world. The potential of this theoretical technology is quickly materializing as exhibited in Harboun’s depictions. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the prospect of interacting with a material that molds to meet my needs. Such animations assume notions of embodied design intelligence, in which forms are conditioned rather than molded. Programmable matter has the potential to re-define the role of the designer as geneticist of microscopic traits.

    I am very interested in the potential applications of nanotechnology as it relates to housing. On a functional level, it can make simple, household chores efficient in a spatial planning sense. No longer will a sink exist when it is not in use. Counter space can grow along the length of an entire wall. These are all pipe dreams compared to my current kitchen situation, but they illustrate a very utilitarian fantasy. Conversely, nanotechnology can theoretically be applied to larger-scale design issues in architecture. Building facades could thicken to insulate a house during the winter and become porous during warm months to naturally ventilate. The “claytronic” atoms could be programmed to react to sun paths, resulting in a building that reacts to its environment based on certain design criteria. One day society will look back on our crude, static appliances and wonder how we survived without programmable matter catering to our needs. Nanotechnology may threaten to create the society depicted in Wall-E, in which all rituals of daily life are served to humans reclined in lounge chairs. Or, could the use of nanotechnology redefine the user as designer? Perhaps as members of the mass public become designers, there will be a revolution in the industry in which creative output is a daily ritual. The telling sign that this entry is powerful is that in its descriptions, people are describing all kinds of applications that are not represented in Harboun’s sequence of renderings. Excitement to explore the possibilities of claytronics is palpable.

    [url=http://myportfolio.usc.edu/jsarafia/] myportfolio.usc [/url]

    JS says:
  • Very usefull for horny people 😉

    JJ says:
  • where are the people anyway?

    suchris says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

design news