Digital Media Creates a New Philosophy for Interior Design
As people move to reading books on eReaders, and listening to music on MP3, what happens to bookshelves and CD cases? The move from analog to digital media has led to a reconsideration of living space by the interior design community. As computers continue to overtake physical media, residential rooms will become as variable and versatile as the devices that inhabit them.
The elimination of bookshelves and racks of DVDs won’t necessarily lead to rooms with fewer items, said Jason Meneely, an assistant professor of interior design at the University of Florida. Rather than leading to less clutter, the multiplication of digital devices will lead to definition of rooms by level of privacy, rather than particular use.
“If we're going to use technology in meaningful ways, we need to start thinking about how the place where we sit down to use technology has a physical space, and that space needs to be designed to support that activity,” Meneely told TechNewsDaily. “The issue of public and private really drives the design of the home.”
On the first level, that means designing a space able to accommodate the range of functions of modern digital media devices. For instance, as the computer and television become increasingly merged, the living room will also serve as a home office.
Enabling residents to utilize the house’s main screen as both an entertainment center and a workstation means putting furniture on wheels. That way, a couch can be moved in front of the screen for watching a movie with friends, a desk and chair can move in for office work and all the furniture can be cleared away to enable the playing of physical video games like the Wii .
Meneely has already appointed his own living room with a number of wheeled furniture pieces, and compares this transition to a similar paradigm shift in interior design that melded the kitchen, dining room, and living room into a single common space known as a great room.
And just as the great room turns the formerly private act of cooking into a public activity, so too will the digital revolution create a need for rooms that exist solely for private activity.
Whereas the all-purpose computer screen/TV transforms the living room into both an entertainment center and an office, other devices might dominate a room that is set aside solely for private Internet use, video chatting and other personal activities, Meneely said.
In both cases, it is the intimacy of action, not the contents, within the room that defines it.
“With the generation that grew up with this, we’re not going to see a lot of media storage around. But one could argue that what we’re losing in books and media in our space we’re replacing with new technologies that will need support in the space,” Meneely said.
“The quantity of items won’t change, but the kind of space will change.”