Microbial Home

The Microbial Home Probe project consists of a domestic ecosystem that challenges conventional design solutions to energy, cleaning, food preservation, lighting and human waste.

Our world is sending us warning signals that we are disturbing its equilibrium.  A drastic cut in our environmental impact is called for. This Probe explores how the solution is likely to come from biological processes, which are less energy-consuming and non-polluting. We need to go back to nature in order to move forward. The Microbial Home is a proposal for an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input. In this project the home has been viewed as a biological machine to filter, process and recycle what we conventionally think of as waste – sewage, effluent, garbage, waste water.

Creating a cyclical eco-system
In the Microbial Home Probe we adopt a systemic approach to many of the domestic processes we take for granted and ask questions about how we deal with resources. It is a proposal for an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input. We view the home as a biological machine to filter, process and recycle what we conventionally think of as waste – sewage, effluent, garbage, waste water. The Probe suggests that we should move closer to nature and challenges the wisdom of annihilating the bacteria that surround us. It proposes strategies for developing a balanced microbial ecosystem in the home.

The Biological Age
While the electro-mechanical age may have caused the problem, it could also help us find the solution. Technological development has enabled us to mimic nature’s processes. Now all that is lacking is a collective change in consciousness to take us into a Biological Age, one where materials can repair themselves and where by-products are no longer waste but fuel for other systems. We are going to live through this epoch change whether we choose to or not. Failure to adjust our thinking, and with it our behaviors, will force the earth to exercise its self-correcting mechanisms over us. Necessity, as the old adage goes, is the mother of invention. Only one question remains: what part do we want to play?


Far-future design concepts
Microbial Home is a Probe, a far-future design concept. It is not intended as a production prototype nor will it be sold as a Philips product. Like past Probe design concepts that have stimulated discussion around a range of issues, this concept is testing a possible future – not prescribing one.


19 October 2011

 

A few words with...

Jack Mama
Former Creative Director, Philips Design Probes program

“We’re testing the future, not predicting it”