Dezeen Magazine

Li Edelkoort and Google explore how digital devices can be more sensorial

Dezeen promotion: trend forecaster Li Edelkoort is teaming up with Google to investigate how electronic devices of the future could become more tactile.

In an exhibition during Milan design week, Edelkoort and Google will reveal a vision for how computer hardware could be more seamlessly integrated into workplaces and homes, through the introduction of elements such as textiles.

Their aim is to question the role that technology will play in day-to-day life in the future.

The starting point for the exhibition was a concept first introduced by Edelkoort in 1998, called Softwear. She imagined a future where technology is used in the process of nesting, and where working from home is part of a typical lifestyle.

"We begin to take time for ourselves, to be more present at home, we realise that a career does not have to be made in an office environment, and will begin to achieve a new feeling of balance and creativity," she said at the time.

"With the softening of lines between work and leisure will come a need for new clothing and interiors, not to mention other consumer products and services," she continued.

"Textiles will be of capital importance, for in fabric terms they describe the tactility we seek. Softwear is more than just a trend. This forecast heralds the coming of a major new industry, not only in clothing but also in interiors, design, gardening, hardware, retail, consumer products and communications."

The exhibition, also called Softwear, will explore this concept in light of today's technologies and lifestyles, and in line with the vision of sensorial hardware proposed by Ivy Ross, Google's vice president of hardware design.

Taking place at the Rossana Orlandi gallery, the show will comprise three rooms.

The first room will contain an audiovisual presentation and catalogue prepared by Edelkoort and her team. The second will house a series of specially designed wall hangings created by Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk, which will showcase textiles being used for upcoming Google products. And the third will present Google's vision for integrated technology.

Edelkoort is one of the most influential figures in design and fashion. Originally from the Netherlands, she is now based between Paris and New York, and is an advisor to fashion companies and consumer brands around the world.

With collaborator Philip Fimmano, she has also curated a wide range of trend-focused exhibitions, including one celebrating fetishism in fashion and one highlighting innovations in fabric technology. She also put out a statement declaring that end of the fashion industry.

Softwear will be on show at Rossana Orlandi, Via Matteo Bandello 14, from 17 to 22 April 2018.

Dezeen will be hosting a panel discussion to coincide with the exhibition, moderated by Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs. Speakers will include Edelkoort, Google's vice-president of hardware design Ivy Ross and Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory.

The event will be live-streamed on Dezeen at 5:00pm on 17 April 2018. It will also be available via our YouTube channel.