Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

Li Edelkoort curates "contemplative installation" showing Google devices in everyday settings

Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort teamed up with Google's Hardware Design Studio to curate this Tokyo exhibition demonstrating how the company's latest products can be integrated into living spaces.

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

Edelkoort worked alongside Google's vice president of design for hardware, Ivy Ross, to produce the Comma Exhibition as part of the annual Designart festival held across Tokyo.

The exhibition at the 21_21 Design Sight gallery displays products including the Google Pixel 4 smartphone, the Google Nest smarthub and the Google Pixel Buds earphones within carefully styled sets featuring contemporary design pieces and artisan objects.

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

"This contemplative installation explores how technology can be seamlessly incorporated into our living spaces," said Google in a statement accompanying the exhibition.

"Like the comma itself, these products inspire pause since they perfectly merge into the stillness of life. Everyday design, craft objects, soothing colours and recycled textiles quietly signal how it's our turn to take time out."

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

The objects are presented against a backdrop of wall hangings created by Dutch interior design architects INAMATT, which feature abstract shapes informed by Google Hardware's design principles.

The wall hangings are made using fragments from antique linens and are intended to reflect the Japanese traditions of quilting and mending fabrics.

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

The exhibition aims to communicate Google Hardware's design principles within the context of a multi-sensory experience, culminating in a dedicated atelier space where visitors can interact with the new products.

The company's hardware products promote human-centred design values through their simple, pared-back forms, as well as the use of materials including fabrics that introduce tactile details.

The Google Hardware Design team is based at the firm's headquarters in Mountain View, California. It works alongside the engineering and software departments to develop the look and feel for all of Google's physical products.

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

Edelkoort and Google explored a similar theme at Milan Design Week in 2018, where they presented an exhibition showing how digital devices could become more sensorial.

The vision for a more tactile approach to designing technology evolved from a concept first developed by Edelkoort in 1998, which she called Softwear.

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

It predicted a future where there is a balancing act between work and home life, requiring devices to be integrated more seamlessly into the comfortable and tactile spaces she believed people would want to live in.

Google has applied some of the Softwear principles in its range of devices for the home, including a speaker featuring a textile cover made using recycled plastic.

Google Hardware exhibition shows devices in everyday settings

At this year's Milan Design Week, Google partnered with a group of scientists to show how different aesthetic experiences can impact our health and wellbeing.

The Comma exhibition continues until 27 October 2019 at the 21_21 Design Sight gallery in Tokyo's midtown district.

Photography is by Hiroto Miura.