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Milan Design Week 2018: Google's Debut Installation "Softwear"

A sensory show that explores the human aspect of our tech-drenched world

by Josh Rubin
on 17 April 2018

Envisioned by Ivy Ross, VP of Hardware Design at Google, "Softwear" marks Google's debut installation at Milan Design Week. The underlying concept is the brainchild of trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort (also the curator of the show) who, in 1998, predicted that technology and nesting would combine for a lifestyle that seamlessly blends the two together. Think cozily working from home on a rainy day or having a chat with loved ones abroad, all without moving from your couch or bed—her forecast clearly rings true today.

The sensorial installation runs across three rooms, opening with a side-by-side comparison of images from Edelkoort's '98 report and today; at a glance it's not obvious which group is which.

The second room features one-of-a-kind jacquard fabric wall-hangings that reimagine domestic interiors including Google's latest hardware products—a clever play on their vision for blending technology with lifestyle by making hardware soft and software softwear, the installation reflects the real-life human connection with tech.

The last room sets Google's Home and mobile products among furniture, clothes and objects. While all the devices blend in appropriately and carry a somewhat timeless aesthetic, the Daydream VR headset represents such a specific moment in time, it already feels like a relic from the retro-future as it casually hangs on the coat-rack with a hoodie and flannel coat. And thus, the installation offers a conversation starter to further unpack the relationship between today's technology and our future humanity.

"Softwear" is on display this week at Galleria Rossana Orlandi in Milan.

Images courtesy of Google

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