Future Mundane

According to Nick Foster, All design projects are divided in one of these 3 stages:

  1. Now
  2. Next
  3. Future: Allows designers to tell a story.

The interesting thing, is to think about the future, about the impact design could have in a couple of years, thus due to the fantasy elements arising when thinking about this elusive future, he proposed a design approach called The Future Mundane.

The Future Mundane is an approach that helps to expand our notion of design for the future. It makes things as believable as possible due to the feasible technology as shown in the Angry Lamp video

This Lamp turns itself off when it is not needed which would be very useful, as it will save electricity and make a positive impact on the planet. If you think about it, its not even that crazy, this could actually be real, and if it is not then it will be in real in no time. The Future Mundane concept also embraces the fact that the future will change, it is inevitable. Some things will remain, some will disappear, some will arise and some will evolve, but it will change for sure as long as it keeps the main aspects of life.

Moreover, Foster mentions 3 key aspects that are present in this concept.

  1. The Future Mundane is filled with background talent. When explaining this he mentions that it is important to design for the common people, to look beyond the obvious and see what is going on in the background that could benefit the design or interact with it.
  2. The future Mundane is an accretive space. As humans we tend to get emotionally attached to objects, and we save them which is why we have things from different times in life. Our collections increases and grows because we pile it up.
  3. The future Mundane is partly broken space. The future is a combination of lots of things, and they could eventually fail, break and they will need fixing which is why it is important to acknowledge this “broken space concept”

Overall, After reading this, I believe that what its important to take into consideration when designing for the future is the idea of thinking about “every user” or other users besides the idea we as designers normally have of the “ideal user” or “persona”. Finally, it is also important to think about the interactions, and how our designs interacts with other objects and what happens when it is abused, not used correctly or even broken.

Some examples I believe represent the idea of The Future Mundane are the NANO supermarket and the Mobile Hapticons videos below. It is interesting to see how things begin to evolve and interact with each other. In the NANO supermarket we can see how the food we eat could actually be converted into electricity by a belt and it could charge a mobile device. This idea of changing calories into energy seems fascinating, and it would be possible due to interactions between different elements. Also, with the Mobile Hapticons example, I was intrigued by the idea of connecting our emotions to a sensory element, and how we can communicate this through touch.


Concept Hunter (2011) Mobile Hapticons. Available at: https://vimeo.com/12305645 (Accessed: 2 February 2016).

Foster, N. (2013) Core 77. ‘The Future Mundane’. Available at: http://www.core77.com/posts/25678/the-future-mundane-25678 (Accessed: 2 February 2016).

Next Nature Network (2014) NANO Supermarket commercial 2014. Available at: https://vimeo.com/108989856 (Accessed: 2 February 2016).

Weng Xinyu (2015) Angry Lamp at: https://vimeo.com/114138112 (Accessed: 2 February 2016).


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