Truly, is there anything greater than innovation? It’s proof of how far we’ve come as human beings. And how exciting is it when innovation can improve our homes? There’s a lot happening out there, let’s take a look at some interesting home innovations…
We’ve settled into the reality of smart homes now. But it’s still really exciting. And not 100% widespread yet. The mind still marvels at how technology can seamlessly integrate, giving your home the ability to run itself.
Smart use of tech can save power and simplify daily tasks. Things like blinds lowering as the sun becomes more intense, air con only switching on when a certain temp is reached and louvres shutting when it starts to rain mean you can have a bigger home without the effort of taking control of it.
While some homeowners add smarts after the home’s built, it’s ideal to start from the ground up. Although it may present a few challenges for the home designer, it also inspires creativity. Imagine creating a home theatre and adding a voice command, so families can shout “movie time!” and hey presto, the lights dim, the TV turns on and maybe even the fire lights up. That’s some kind of magic.
In itself, 3D printing is an incredible invention. But let’s look at how it’s changed home design. It actually starts before even the slab is laid. An important part of the design process includes development of miniature models that’ll show what a project will look like upon completion.
It means developers and architects can test ideas, understand complex junctions and geometries and explain designs simply to other people. And the process of creation is simple too – the printer can be set to complete the job overnight. It saves time, is precise and allows ideas to be tested because they can be repetitively made with little effort.
This tech is also being used to create entire homes – tiny homes, but still. One rather promising project comes from Russia. Apis Cor is a Russian company that specialises in developing a mobile construction 3D printer, which is capable of printing whole buildings on site. These 3D printed houses cost the company approximately $10,150, an incredibly low amount for constructing a home. In the future, we may see entire buildings 3D printed. Now that’s innovation.
We’re a long way from kit homes. These pre-fab homes are far more fabulous. There are innovations like the KISS House, which can be put together in as little as one week.
Each Kiss House has excellent insulation, as well as an almost airtight envelope and a design that takes passive solar heat gain into consideration. This results in a seriously efficient house that’s very inexpensive to heat and cool year-round, whatever the local climate.
The Kiss House is available in multiple sizes but each model consists of an open-plan living area on the ground floor with a large modern kitchen, wooden flooring and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Bedrooms and bathrooms are located upstairs.
There’s also the M.A.Di homes by Italian architect Renato Vida. These are flat-packed dwellings designed to withstand earthquakes that can be constructed in just a few hours. Made from CLT (cross-laminated timber), they come in several sizes, from 27sqm up to 84sqm. Each home is laid out over two levels and equipped with kitchen, dining area and bathroom on the ground floor, while bedrooms are located upstairs.
The home’s A-frame structure allows it to be prefabricated off-site, then flat-packed and transported via truck or container to its designated build site. Installation is relatively simple and the entire process should take three workers around seven hours to complete.
SMART ECO DESIGN
The Binh House by Vietnam-based Vo Trong Nghia Architects, is an oasis in tropical Ho Chi Minh City that doesn’t need air-conditioning to keep its occupants cool. Its carefully-planned layout, spread over three floors, allows three generations of the same family to live together in comfort.
Vo Trong Nghia positioned service areas like the kitchen and bathrooms in the west of the home. These act as buffer zones to cool the more important areas such as the living room, dining room and bedrooms. Binh House is also shaded by greenery and its layout creates a natural stack effect, causing air to be drawn in, improving ventilation. Multiple sliding glass doors aid ventilation too.
As more people opt to decorate their space with house plants, we see the creation of new technologies that help optimize the ability to keep the greenery alive and thriving. There’s creations like OrchidBox, the world’s first Internet-connected smart garden, a lamp that sustains plant life called the ‘Gople’ and a self-watering indoor greenhouse that’s perfect for green thumbs or brown thumbs.
ENGINEERED SURFACES MAKING THE IMPRACTICAL PRACTICAL
The advancement of engineered surfaces has given designers more creative freedom than ever before. While natural stone looks and feels luxurious, it comes with compromises. The engineered stone surfaces by Laminex are made from up to 95 per cent quartz, giving the same effect without the price tag. And they’re often more durable too.
THE LIST GOES ON AND ON
Home innovation is endless and it’s not just big companies that are bringing innovation into the home. Home owners are creating home hacks that are improving the way the live. If you’ve got any great innovation renovation ideas, I’d love to hear them.