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How can we design for the future?

Updated: Apr 12

Those of you who are the same age as me will instantly recognise the Delorian from the 1989 film Back to the Future II and then be instantly disillusioned when you realise that the date to which Marty McFly transported himself to 30 years in the future was October 21st 2015!! That’s nearly 10 years ago!


When he travels to 2015 he discovers hover boards, flying cars and self-lacing sneakers.

There’s not much to be said about the hover board or the flying car to my knowledge but Nike did take on the challenge of developing a self-lacing shoe.

Their 2007 prototype had to be plugged into the wall or wired up to a car battery in a backpack which proved somewhat unpractical but with further enhancement in technology powered by smaller, stronger and faster motors Nike did deliver a pair of self-lacing shoes to the actor Michael J Fox on the exact date he encountered them in the film - October 21st 2015.

So what will be achievable in 20 - 30 years’ time in the construction industry?

Will we be working from home, be nomadic, working from anywhere in the world, will we have a home?

How can we design for the digital ( minecraft, fortnite, covid ) generation. Will they be fluid with where they live, when they work, how they work?

Does there need to be flexibility for increasing and decreasing the size of a property? Will it be possible to live in the same property for your entire life?

Will everything be built volumetric modular off site?

Modular construction undoubtedly has its advantages but it's widespread implementation is not going to happen quickly. Nike had to wait for the right technology to be developed to be able to deliver a concept 30 years after its inception.

Would focusing now on a solution that can ultimately be delivered modular allow an organic transition from traditional construction methods through modern methods of construction maturity to fully volumetric whilst delivering the same product, the same spaces, the same homes?

Creu Cartref dwelling and apartment types use only 9 room modules for their houses that are interchangeable, fully designed and coordinated in our 3d software and can be delivered traditionally through to fully modular without altering house designs.

Is this designing for the future?

Will this make things easier?

‘A designer has a duty to create timeless design, to be timeless you have to

think really far into the future. not next year, not in two years but in 20 years'

phillippe stark, product designer

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