For Milan Design Week 2016, Elle Decor Italia, presented a new installation project about contemporary living.
The Exhibition, entitled “Soft Home. Interiors and Digital Experience”, took place in the beautiful Palazzo Bovara.
The title of the exhibition refers to the double meaning of the word soft, as an abbreviation for “Soft-Tech”, but also “Softness” as an attribute of a welcoming, soft and comfortable home.
A digital and interactive installation through which Elle Decor Italia describes the home of the future. A thought about living and lifestyles inside a changing world.
Soft Home offers a positive interpretation of how technology can aid interpersonal relationships, allow people to discover new possibilities for entertainment, facilitate daily life and foster beauty and well-being.
Guests can walk through interiors enlivened by sophisticated technology that’s user-friendly, intuitive but not intrusive.
Soft Home is a project with a strong innovative content based on the joint action of three curators of international standing –
Elle Decor Italia magazine, which conceived the concept,
H-Art, which developed the interaction and visual design, and
Marcante Testa / UdA Architetti who designed the interior design project for the layout of the exhibition.
The Soft Home concept is a home where people feel at their ease, where the day to day actions that we’ve always performed in the past, and will always perform in future, can yield enhanced functions through the use of technology, so that “staying at home is the new going out”– as the latest saying goes – with the focus on well-being and feeling in harmony with our domestic space.
The exhibition will be an opportunity for experiential learning about innovative trends in living, whether here already or still to come.
It explores the infinite applications for high-end technologies within a lifestyle design project that takes account of the limitations of pre- existing architecture, providing a chance to reflect on the idea of domesticity in a world where 24 hour connectivity is a key feature, and seeking to attract a large public interested in interior design and lifestyle for today and tomorrow.
“Soft Home is a further evolution of the Elle Decor Italia’s research about inhabiting” states Livia Peraldo Matton, Editor in chief of the magazine “the exhibition – organized in several rooms- proposes a series of interactive experiences merging domestic atmospheres with the new generation of digital. The result is a sensitive home being also an interface to communicate with the outside”.
Rooms of the Soft Home
Open Air Living Room
The splendid courtyard of Palazzo Bovara, known as the venue of choice for balls in nineteenth-century Milan, is now home to the special garden for Elle Decor Italia’s Soft Home.
Thickets of green backdrops, to help visitors scan the environments better, according to the different types of décor, create veritable outdoor “rooms”, an invitation to stop for a relaxing pause.
Camphor trees, flowering cherry trees, viburnums and cercis characterise the thickets, inviting visitors to spend a moment in a harmonious mix of evergreens with splendid spring blooms, even scented ones, just like in old times.
The Home Garden
An indoor green area creates the ideal link to the outside garden.
A collection of large Monstera and Philodendron leaves interacts with the game of mirrors with constant references to the jungle book and the world of subtropical forests.
The Spectacular Living Room
Thanks to the on demand streaming service for movies and TV series; soon we’ll even be able to see the premiers of new releases.
In Soft Home’s home theatre the selection of movies is personalized according to your mood.
From the comfort of your sofa, rather than a remote control, one uses a mood selector associated with three film genres: East, for those in the mood for exoticism and the Orient; Future, to be catapulted into “tomorrow”; and Romance, to escape daily life and immerse yourself in a dream.
The Forgetful Living Room
The objects with which we surround ourselves have a story, known only to those who have collected them. They are unknowing custodians of memories and emotions, archived in our minds like a virtual database.
By touching one of the many objects displayed on the shelf, ten screens simultaneously emerge from the wall and display sequences of photographs and video clips: a true album of digital images that retraces important moments in the lives of those who live in the house, snapshots from vacations, interesting moments.
The Inspired Living Room
Today we collect works of art, paintings, drawings, lithographs, 2D and 3D sculptures: Soft Home makes it possible to have a continuous gallery of digital works that explore new languages of artistic expression, chosen by a portfolio of international artists on the basis of the subject.
There are four collections, selected by four curators, and personalized according to four themes: Synthetic Landscapes, Human Nature, Time, and Still Life, with a mixture of still works and videos.
The contents related to the works of art and to the artists can be studied further on the available tablets.
The Ringing Gallery
A true playroom, a sensory space which invites you to explore its surfaces using your senses of touch and hearing.The various stations, different in shape and material, transform into musical instruments that, when played like drums, reveal their sounds.
This is made possible thanks to a device applied to the surface of the structures which combines a vibration sensor with musical software. Visitors can play each station individually or simultaneously, giving life to a collective performance and creating new sound textures built upon a pre-existing musical track.
The tactile exploration associated with each sound has a metaphorical value as well in order to underscore the fact that each material has a specific identity, and how this is fundamental for defining each design project.
The Dainty Bathroom
The water room, with a free standing bathtub and energizing shower, is a space just for you, dedicated to pampering and beauty, where the mirror functions as a personal coach, getting you off to a good start each day.
Approaching the sensitive interface of the mirrored surface, animations appear with personalized mood suggestions for make-up and clothing, motivational messages, good news from around the world, and “green” information regarding the efficient re-use of water consumed.
The Dreamy Bedroom
The most intimate and private room in the house is the place where we abandon ourselves to dreams, to fantastic stories, to images freely elaborated and created by the mind whilst we are sleeping.
Dreamlike storytelling mixes in a random way different situations and emotions, drawn from our subconscious.
In the Soft Home’s bedroom every morning we can review them by touching the cover of our Dream Diary nearby the bed.
Another important piece is the closet, not only the custodian of one’s personal wardrobe, but also a true personal assistant: reminding one about the day’s appointments, it associates them with the current weather conditions and recommends the most appropriate clothing to wear.
Approaching the mirror activates a simulation of the interaction with the owner and the animations.
The Comfort Zone
The wellness area houses a relaxation zone and a fitness area.
The Core Room is installed in the sauna and interprets new opportunities for mental and physical wellbeing offered by biometric techniques. The environment interacts with a person’s emotions and invites them to focus on themselves and on variations in their vital signs, such as heartbeat.
Once inside, visitors apply a small clamp with sensors to a finger: the system reveals the lowest heart rate (if the interaction takes place with two people at the same time) and translates it into sound and variations in light.
The treadmill on the other hand, simulates the experience of running outdoors: approaching it activates the video Ways Back Home, which shows a route that crosses through Milan, from the Arco della Pace, to the Parco Sempione, through the gardens and the streets of the historic centre, past new buildings, and ending at Palazzo Bovara.
The Portrait Gallery
The objects of your daily life are protagonists in a digital Design Portfolio that examines their identity and unveils their more or less secret soul.
Conceived as actual portraits, set in simple and surreal contexts, they scroll by on the screens along the wall representing the true nature of things.
The Crunchy Kitchen
A kitchen with a large, intelligent and friendly table that invites you to prepare your favourite personalized dishes with the help of an invisible chef while, at the centre, it shows you what ingredients are available in the pantry.
Selecting one of the specifically identified interactive stations, visitors can choose a theme for their dining experience –
Locally Grown, a simple recipe that only uses locally produced and farmed ingredients;
Dinner With Friends: a dish with which to surprise friends, a cooking style which uses experimental techniques and borrows from Asian culinary tradition (fusion), while keeping in mind guests’ food preferences, allergies, and intolerances;
My Comfort Diet, prepared with available ingredients, recalls faraway flavours and restores good humour and energy after a day away from home.
Digital side of things
The digital experience is active online by means of an integrated on-off-live platform that includes the dedicated exhibition website on Tumblr, where users can view the rooms and objects in the Soft Home, and the publication of the content on Instagram.
Through these digital experiences, Elle Decor Italia will offer the public a range of content before and after their visit, to integrate and expand their experience so that they can get the most out of it.
About the Curators
Created from a concept of Elle Decor Italia, the exhibition is a team project that combines the magazine’s international vision with the creativity and expertise of two partners, Marcante-Testa (UdA Architetti) and H-Art, two Italian companies that are known and respected around the world.
The creative duo Andrea Marcante and Adelaide Testa, from UdA Architetti, are curating the mounting of the exhibition, interpreting the concept of Soft/tech and Soft/ness through a sophisticated balance of materials, lighting, surfaces and a new architectural system that communicates with the existing one through different linguistic codes.
The development of the interaction design part and the digital content has been entrusted to H-Art, a company that specializes in creating innovative and involving forms of interaction using the most advanced technologies.
The exhibition will be open to the public for free from Monday 11th April to Sunday 24 April.
About Palazzo Bovara
The immersive itinerary, full of experiential surprises, takes visitors through the rooms of Palazzo Bovara, a neoclassical building in Corso Venezia 51 where Stendhal stayed in the 19th century, and which was restored by Piero Portaluppi after the Second World War.