What We Learned at Dwell on Design

Is there a tech gap in the industries of architecture and design?

The recent Dwell on Design Expo in Los Angeles hinted as much.

Nowhere was this more obvious than a walk through the Expo floor.  From prefab homes to solution for the nomad lifestyle, Dwell on Design 2017 displayed a mid-modernist vision of a mobile yet sustainable footprint.  Given the domestic market focus of Dwell Magazine, the one stop shop hall appeared devoted to businesses that could offer aesthetic answers to practical needs, satisfying LEED and Wellness Certification learning opportunities for those with AIA professional development interests.

Missing, however, was evidence and voice of smart home tech disruptors changing the systems, the spaces and the experiences we might otherwise expect to see from inspired leaders of architecture and design futures.  Sure there was some mention of Augmented Realities by a few guest speakers and the July / August 2017 issue of Dwell Magazine itself points to the first wave of smart homes with living rooms operating as “unofficial nerve centers” tethered to the Cloud.  Still, in a design and entertainment center like Los Angeles and in the current moment of VR-inspired, architectural showcasing, we would have enjoyed learning more about how new tech companies address the touch and feel of future home spaces.

Speaking one to one with industry professionals from the Association for Women in Architecture and Design, sentiments regarding an age gap that seems to correlate with the tech gap.  It’s not surprising to find a young generation thirsty to learn more about working with smart tech platforms. Some attribute resistance to smart tech to an older generation, either wise or jaded to the ways of here today, gone tomorrow trends.

Still, there was lots of casual sharing from a spectrum of industry professionals — architects, designers, design industry writers and celebrity clients offering insights on the future of working in a competitive era overwrought with 24/7 information feeds and tech disrupted workflows.   The take home message?

  1. Stay on step ahead but with one foot in the past to steady your gait.
  2. Listen to the women and younger generation about sharing knowledge and growing partnerships.
  3. Challenge your creativity every day to learn new things. 
  4. Architectural Design is a Human Right.

For those ready to act on their human right and imagine better home futures through technology, we at RotoLab enjoy working as a cross-sector and cross-generational “solutions engine” powered by women and men who wish to explore new tech frontiers together.  Check out our Satellite team who join us in turning initiatives into solution engine offers.

 *Thanks to UX Design colleague Chris Becker for sharing his notes from the expo.

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