A New Look at our Home
Futurist Oona Horx-Strathern spent the lockdown with three generations under one roof while doing research into how our homes and cities will change as a result of the pandemic.
Mrs Horx-Strathern, you’re saying there will be no “back to normal” after the pandemic. What was wrong with that normality?
Nothing per se. But there was a certain need for renewal. The pandemic has accelerated this process. During the lockdown we built a new relationship with our cities because we experienced them as quieter, cleaner and greener than before. Besides, we had the chance of rediscovering our homes which we had been neglecting over the past years.
You say “during the pandemic we have rediscovered our home like a long-lost relative.” A very nice metaphor. How are our homes going to change under this more loving gaze?
Investing in their home as part of their identity was not exactly a priority for many people in recent years; it’s been more about the external effect. Just think about the many representative kitchens which were hardly ever used. But now, the inner status is becoming more important: people are creating a home for themselves. This has an impact on the materials that we surround ourselves with. We are observing a trend towards more sustainability, curved shapes, more warmth. We are starting to appreciate, once again, what feels good. This is a counterbalance to the coldness and angularity that so often characterizes the technology around us.
What effects might the new view of our home have on the distribution of rooms and spaces?
The “Hoffice” (office at home) is here to stay. This has resulted in a movement away from loft-like open spaces towards more privacy. Sliding doors, screens and other room-dividers will become more prominent. And the kitchen too is going to change. Many have started to invest the time they would have otherwise spent commuting in cooking and baking. We are also seeing a trend towards larger bathrooms. These have been turned into our personal “selfness space”.
During the lockdown you lived under one roof with three generations. How has your home changed during that time?
To start with, we moved all the furniture around, since everyone needed a desk. I would describe the daily seating arrangement as Darwinian. If you had an important meeting, that gave you priority for a quiet workplace. In the evenings we all met up, in order to cook and eat together. We worked out that there were 120 possible seating combinations around our dining table. So we tried out a new arrangement every evening.
A visit to Oona Horx-Strathern
Curious to see how the futurist and her family live? We visited her at her home near Vienna and talked to her about the home, working from home, and urban development.To the video
Oona is Irish, grew up in London and now lives in Vienna. Her main interest is in the future of living, architecture, design, building and urban development as well as cultural and social change. She studied human geography at Bristol university and has worked in television and print journalism. She has been a trend and future researcher for over 25 years, and author of the annual Home Report on living and building trends, and lives in the Future Evolution House in Vienna that she built with her husband Matthias Horx.
Author – Evelyne Oechslin
Photography – Klaus Vyhnalek