Workshop: Hospitality, privacy & openness in the connected home

At Fuori Salone Milan, The Good Home and Casa Jasmina teamed up for a shared workshop around hospitylity, privacy & openness in the connected home.

Workshop: Designing for Hospitality, Privacy & Openness

In it, we explored the very different the cataegories and questions to consider are, compared to a “base line” traditional non-connected home. In some cases these questions challenge very basic assumptions around what is private, what should be shared, what even constitutes relevant data?

Workshop: Designing for Hospitality, Privacy & Openness

To give you a few examples:

  • What’s private and/or personal? Photos of kids, passwords, clothes, emotional things, things that indicate political point of view, objects worth stealing, hygiene tools, passports, medicine, precious consumables like lotions etc, images from the past like teenager…
  • What gives agency or power to change the house? Tools, hardware, etc.
  • What changes through use? Learning algorithms, smart objects…
  • Moments of shared communality, for example around kitchen table
  • What shows that a person actually lives here?
  • Emergency things: Bug-out bags, panic rooms, weapons…
  • What makes you feel welcome? A comfortable space, a sofa, a spice rack…

One step further, how do these questions and considerations change if it’s a more commercial sharing arrangement (think Airbnb) vs a more personal one (friends or members of your group, friends of friends). What’s the spectrum there?

How do we define and delineate? There are no simple answers, but a lot of blurry lines. Also, as we evolve our vocabulary and language around these issues of “advanced” or connected privacy we might want to explore new metaphors aroudn both privacy and the shared rituals of communally establishing residency with people and algorithms: Barn raising, moving parties, the layout of old western mansions…

On one point that Bruce made there was agreement: IoT is perfect for unlocking granularly over time, for managing access like peeling back layers of access restrictions and inviting others deeper and deeper into our connected home and shared infrastructure.

Casa Jasmina also explores similar questions with their project Git-Commit, which was also on display in Milan.

We touched on some of these questions with Privacy Dimmer and Home Totem. We’ll keep exploring these questions in future installments of the Good Home.

The Good Home at Fuori Salone Milan

We’re setting up the second installment of The Good Home at Fuori Salone Milan with a wide range of projects and activities. Fuori Salone is the set of events distributed in different areas of Milan on days when the Salone Internazionale del Mobile which is staged in the halls of Rho Fiera. Every year, in April, Salone and Fuorisalone define the Fuorisalone Milan Design Week, the most important event in the world for design addicted.

What are we up to in Milan? For a detailed list of everything going on, hop on over to Visit Us > Fuori Salone 2016 where you can find all the workshop times in detail.

Below you’ll find an overview for easy skimming. As always keep an eye out for spontaneous updates on Twitter (@GoodHomeProject) and if you’re in Milan, swing by and say hello!


Peter Bihr (The Waving Cat)
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (designswarm)
Iohanna Nicenboim (Berlin University of the Arts)
Michelle Thorne (Mozilla Foundation)

Projects on display

Data Domestication. Data Domestication uses the metaphor of pets to explore environmental sensors in the domestic environment. For example, the Air-quality Birdcage takes inspiration on how canaries were used as measuring systems for air quality in the past.

Home Totem. The Home Totem physically represents the owner’s privacy and sharing preferences within their home. Think dietary requirements, energy consumption profiles, records of former home ownership and the like.

Internet Adhesives. Internet Adhesives explores how to append the internet to everyday objects. This project argues that people shouldn’t have to buy a new object in order to get it talking with the web. It also argues that being able to open and modify an object is an important part of owning it.

Privacy Dimmer. The privacy dimmer can be regulated so that privacy in the connected home is controlled across a spectrum instead of just on/off. It consists of a set of two objects: a dimmer installed in the room, and a keyfob.

Recipes. Turn everyday objects into ingredients that you can use in recipes to control interactions in your home. Each visitor explores the kinds of objects they would want to be connected in their home and designs the interactions that they want–on their terms.

Home Sweet. Home Sweet sketches how we bring our own data to a home’s data and what kind of data service that could create. A new inhabitant could learn the history of the building, pending issues, and any local information that they may want to be aware of as they join a new neighbourhood.

Trickle. Trickle looks at how we might use motion and moveable home structures to interact differently with water. It enables us to make explicit decisions to throw water away or reuse it through a simple filtration unit.

You can find photos for all project in our The Good Home album on Flickr.

Workshops & Activities

Wednesday 13th

17h-21h Launch party / Aperitivo

Thursday 14th

11h-17h Doors open

Friday 15th

11h-17h30 Doors open

11:30h-13h Workshop: Designing for hospitality, privacy and openness in connected homes with Michelle Thorne (Mozilla Foundation), Iohanna Nicenboim (UdK Berlin), Alessandro Squatrito (Casa Jasmina) and Peter Bihr (The Waving Cat)

Saturday 16th

11h-17h Doors open

11h-12h30 Workshop: Technology for designers with Know Cards by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino & Dries De Roeck of Studio Dott


Mikamai, Via Guilio e Corrado Venini 42, 20127 Milan


Hosted by:

mikamai-logo-500-transparent-300x63Brandmark Orange Transparent@3x

Mucking about in the kitchen

Mozfest Homelab Kitchen

In September, we were invited by the BBC’s Research and Development team in Manchester to contribute to their ‘Global Village’ space at the Mozilla Festival. Having produced the festival in the past I knew what fate awaited us and accepted at once, on the condition that we would curate the kitchen. The kitchen is an interesting and dynamic place to start redesigning the home for a new future. Often described as the heart of the home, it can be very social, there can be lots of tools, the energy consumption is higher than in most other rooms and things often go wrong.

We started to think about what topics we’d like to address over the course of a weekend. I was keen to explore other dynamics like the ones I seldom experience of children in the kitchen which led to the creation of a panel discussion with some amazing women who talked about architecture, neighbourhoods and sharing tools.

we also wanted to address the strange gender dynamics engaged in designing for the kitchen space. Since the post-war era we have been designing with women in mind, women who needed to be led back into the home. Women who probably hate being stuck in the home if they are anything like me, but are keen foodies and have complex relationships with the act of making food for a loved one.

We moved on to talk about how cookbooks and the fairy tale imagery of Mrs Beeton who wrote at 21 what became the Victorian and later contemporary ideal of what good housekeeping was about even if she plagiarised most of it. Rocio’s excellent talk is posted online for your delight.

In general here are my personal takeaways from the weekend which I think will be used to move The Good Home forward to Milan in April.

1. The role of technology in the kitchen is at best ambiguous.

When we looked at some of the kitchens of the future videos there were a lot of interesting, sometimes controversial design decisions which had nothing to do with technology. These interior design decisions had an impact on how technological the space felt. They also added to the innovative qualities of the white goods designed which sadly never lived up to their promise of being anything more than showcase objects for World Fairs or trade shows. Counter tops that were higher to avoid back pain, separators so that husband and children could be shielded by the ‘battlefield’ of the kitchen, self-cleaning functions on ovens and others contributed to a language and a message about the interaction of mostly women in a space that was changing but strangely hasn’t changed much since. I tried a Drop kitchen scale before the festival, lauded as the most successful kitchen kickstarter, it was strangely clinical and made cooking a very dull, box-ticking, effecient exercise. The Soylent of kitchen tools. It’s part of the same language and future drawn by manufacturers since the 1950s with little recognition of the social and economic changes that have taken place. Changes like who lives in and around those kitchens: families with diminuishing budgets, flatmates with different shelves in the fridge and in the pantry, single professionals who hardly cook, foodies who eat farm to fork only, instagram-saavy home cooks, the kitchen we live in should be different but isn’t. Imagine a kitchen that catered to each in slightly different ways. Not a one-size-fits-all quite but a generous, warm space that was social by design, energy-friendly, and technological in small but important and accessible ways.

2. The kitchen front and centre, literally

I’ve been reading about dutch women and windows in this excellent collection of essays. It used to be that windows and their state, cleanliness, decorations and curtains all used to have meaning for the neighbourhoods. But it also meant that there were eyes on the street as Jane Jacobs so eloquently puts in in the Death and Life of Great American Cities. One of our panels discussed the fact that kitchens used to have a window with a view on the street making it easier to keep an eye on the neighbourhood, share responsibilities and have kids roam around in the street. This is again assuming women are in the kitchen which is still common but not necessarily universal. An eye on the street may be something that other types of occupants may want to for different reasons but these days, those windows are often covered up, that view ignored.

3. The kitchen as an actor in climate change

Over the weekend, we put on a ‘low carbon lunch’ which was a Ploughman’s lunch selected by its carbon footprint. The bread and cheese had been made in London, tomatoes from the Isle of White, fruits from Surrey. With this week’s COP I think it’s interesting to think about kitchens and their role in the energy spend of a household as well as the carbon footprint of the things we shop for. Veg boxes are a start and I’m sure most people wouldn’t want to live off of raw food only, but the conversation veered towards a ‘it’s too complex, where shall we start’ which shows me that there is something to do here. This may be about a sort of kitchen carbon footprint based on data from your local supermarkets and offsetting schemes based on the number of plants you have in the house and your garden and solar pv cell. Even if the home contributes in a very limited way to climate change (when compared to the industrial sectors) it’s role is still important. Having worked with many energy companies in the past, I think we would all benefit from innovative ways to change the use of the National Grid. It’s not too complex, we’re just missing good tools and ways forward. The perfect time for design to come in.

Low-carbon lunch

The Good Home