Microbial Home by Philips Design

Microbial Home by Philips Design

Dutch Design Week 2011: Philips Design in Eindhoven present a conceptual self-sufficient  home that converts sewage and rubbish into power. 

Microbial Home by Philips Design

The Microbial Home would function as a biological machine, using the waste from one area of the home to power another and creating a cyclical ecosystem.

Microbial Home by Philips Design

A bio-digester kitchen island would break down solid bathroom waste and vegetable peelings into methane, while plastic packaging would be broken down by fungus.

Microbial Home by Philips Design

Fresh food would be stored in an evaporative cooler and part of the dining table, while honey could be harvested from an urban beehive.

Microbial Home by Philips Design

Five models of the system are on show at Piet Hein Eek's gallery as part of Dutch Design Week, which continues until 30 October. You can see all our coverage of the event here.

Microbial Home by Philips Design

Previous Philips Design Probes feature tableware that glows when food is placed on it and a machine that prints food.

Microbial Home by Philips Design

See more stories about kitchens here and all our stories about food here.

Microbial Home by Philips Design

Here are some more details from Philips Design:


Philips presents its latest forward looking design project ‘Microbial Home’. This new forward looking group of design concepts represent an innovative and sustainable approach to energy, waste, lighting, food preservation, cleaning, grooming, and human waste management.

Microbial Home – creating a cyclical eco-system

The Microbial Home project is a proposal for an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input. In the project the home has been viewed as a biological machine to filter, process and recylcle what we conventionally think of as waste – sewage, effluent, garbage, waste water.

Sustainability – closer to nature

The Microbial Home project suggests that people should move closer to nature and proposes strategies for developing a balanced microbial ecosystem in the home. “Designers have an obligation to explore solutions which are by nature less energy-consuming and non-polluting,” says Clive van Heerden, Senior Director of Design-led Innovation at Philips Design. ‘We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, how homes consume energy and how entire communities can pool resources,” concludes Clive van Heerden.

Microbial Home concepts

Five lifelike models of the concepts within the Microbial Home domestic ecosystem will be shown to the public at the Piet Hein Eek gallery during Dutch Design Week (DDW) only. The DDW takes place from 22 – 30 October 2011. Visitors and press are welcome during the opening hours of Piet Hein Eek throughout the event.

Philips Design Probes

The ‘Microbial Home’ project is part of the Philips Design Probes program, which was established to explore far future lifestyle scenarios based on rigorous research in a wide range of areas. Probes projects are intended to understand future socio-cultural and technological shifts with a view to developing nearer-term scenarios. These scenario explorations are often carried out in collaboration with experts and thought leaders in different fields, culminating in a ‘provocation ‘designed to spark discussion and debate around new ideas and lifestyle concepts. Previous Probe projects include 'Electronic Tattoo', 'Emotional sensing dresses', 'Sustainable Habitat', and the ‘Food Probe’.

The Design Probe projects carried out by Philips Design are part of a wider Philips strategy aimed at improving the innovation hit rate. While it is not intended that design concepts coming out of the Probes program are translated to marketable solutions, insights gained from debate around the concepts feed into future innovation for the company.

Philips Design’s creative force of some 400 professionals, representing more than 35 different nationalities, embraces disciplines as diverse as psychology, cultural sociology, anthropology and trend research in addition to the more 'conventional' design-related skills. The mission of these professionals is to create solutions that satisfy people's needs, empower them and make them happier, all of this without destroying the world in which we live.