Biennale Design Saint-Etienne : matali crasset, nano-ordinaire

Cité du Design – Bâtiment H

Prospective exhibition based on scenarios of dayly life

March 13/31, 2013

”Now more than ever, the designer’s role is to facilitate paradigm shifts: by raising awareness of and foreseeing the potential for change, and by integrat- ing these new concepts into our daily life. In this way, we need to re-engineer the way we generate, store, transmit and use energy. Today we are dependent on energy, but tomorrow energy could become an ally in our everyday life. By using smart materials and mini-generators in our routine activities, we could produce energy throughout the day for immediate local consumption by goods that are highly energy efficient.

Welcome to the era of nano-energy. And, welcome to the era of inventing everyday scenarios: le nano-ordinaire.”

By way of explaining this paradigm shift, let’s consider a simple example. Whereas last night we might have used an energy consuming electric blanket to keep us warm, in the near future, a blanket of phased heat conductive fibres will, by contrast, conserve our body heat during the night for use the next day. Thus, we shift from the status of a consumer to that of a generator or supplier of energy. We therefore need to fundamentally re-engineer the way in which we relate to our own bodies (we will relearn ways of battling against the cold using our own weapons and will discover their related sensations). The way in which we perceive the objects around us will also undergo a similar transfor- mation as we assimilate them and experience new and intimate interactions with them. Nano-ordinaire seeks to explore these new scenarios of our collabo- ration with nano-energy through the routine activities of a typical day in the Empathic house.

The empatic house and its scenario of dayly life

The wall panels of the Empathic house are covered with a breathable skin: a thin layer of osmotic film that allows a one-way flow from the interior to the exterior. The house is designed to provide a comfortable standard of living in all climatic conditions. Its revolving wall panels contain a phased conductive material, which liquefies as the temperature rises during the day and solidifies as the temperature cools in the evening, releasing heat. As the heat is released at night I can dry my clothes on one of the wall panels.

scenario 1

I sleep from 00.00>08.00. The fibres in my blanket absorb the heat emitted by my body. By pyroelectricity, this heat is transformed into electrical energy which is stored in the sleeping box supplying an alarm which glows with a soft light when it is time to wake up.

scenario 2

I do my breathing exercises: 09.00>10.00. I do some aerobic exercises on my hydraulic rowing machine. The ripples in the water, like the sea, will absorb the CO2 in the air and convert it back into O2. Every day, the spat at the bottom of the pond collect the limescale and form a domestic coral reef. My house breathes as I breathe in the morning.

scenario 3

I work at home in my office: 10.00>13.00. My micro-movements on my chair, and those of my feet and my computer mouse produce enough piezoelectric energy for my computer systems to run from their own energy source.

scenario 4

I settle down to read: 14.00>14.30. Instead of proposing roaming technological devices that enable us to do many things but which are completely disconnected from us and our experience of space and form, wouldn’t it make more sense to give them a real presence in our everyday scenarios? The system proposes small portable personal memory called “Little Me” which responds to various 111 customised extensions that are dispersed or interwoven into the fabric of the house. Like the expert systems, these extensions provide us with a perspective on who we are based on our areas of interest and activities. They create a symbiosis of content and periods of time, and activate our deep memory, not just our fleeting or superficial memory. For example: I love reading, I can there- fore settle down comfortably wherever I like in the house, taking with me a small dedicated device. As soon as I come near it, it interacts with my personal memory, the “Little Me”, to recap. With the help of the text device, I can start reading: the screen will gently regulate the intensity of light and put my connections with the outside world on hold. I can ask it to explain terminology but I can also ask questions about what I have read previously. It’s a new kind of product that is simultaneously a book (in form and content), a light source, a filter (of time and space), and a literary guide (an extension of me), etc.

scenario 5

I have a little snack: 16.00>16.30. I lower the photonic pantry pod. With its specific spectrum of violet light, phototonic energy starts resonat- ing, and breaks the molecular chain, destroying bacteria. I can keep fruit and vegetables fresh for several days without needing to chill them, and by consuming very little energy.

scenario 6

I put my banana skin in my compost in the garden: 17.00. My organic waste is good for growing trees: one of which is the soap tree that I use to do my washing without the need to use any detergents. My washing dries in record time, spread out on one of the wall panels in the house.

scenario 7

I do my health check: 19.00>20.00. A double family tree shows my family’s genealogy and informs me of my genetic background. This treatment is performed by small extensions which can carry out a medical check-up by taking micro-samples. I know that my grandmother is diabetic, so I must remain vigilant and keep doing regular health checks, and my boyfriend had a grandfather who suffered from hypertension.

scenario 8

Night-time: 20.00>24.00. At the centre of my Empathic house my domestic water tower collects rain water. The larvae purify and filter the water so that it is fit to be used for the toilets, washing clothes and cleaning floors. Once purified, the water goes into and turns mini-turbines. The energy produced can be used immediately in this central area of the house, the top of which turns into an atrium of light. When I go out, I can see the path thanks to the myco-lights marking the way. The light emitted by these small clumps of luminous fungi is made brighter by an intensifying film of selenium.

scenario 9

I travel in my electric car: 08.00>08.30.Travelling on a road equipped with piezoelectric sensors, enables the car to produce electricity, which is then redistributed at night to charge up other parked cars.

matali crasset, in collaboration with Paul-Louis meunier