Sony’s high-concept showroom in Milan shows a soft-focus, tactile smart home

Sony’s Design Team has unveiled a range of smart home concept pieces as part of Milan Design Week, taking place from April 17 to 22 in Italy’s fashion and design capital.

The exhibition is called Hidden Senses, and is being billed as: “A sensorial experience visualizing an enriched lifestyle for a new tomorrow.”

Hidden Senses begins with a tour through a number of rooms (referred to as ‘case studies’) in which the participant engages with light, sound, movement, and tactile objects, in an effort to reacquaint them with their senses, before being introduced to the concept devices. 

Shake to wake 

The devices range from the ‘it’ll never happen’ to the ‘we’d actually quite like that’. It’s worth noting that as this is all concept, there’s no guarantee that any of these products will ever be sat on your coffee table or attached to your wall.

The Swing Lamp (main image above) is one of the devices we like the sound of most; a lamp that changes based on how you engage with it physically. You can apparently “shake the lamp to trigger interaction, change the colour, pattern and even mood”.

We’ve not had a chance to play with the lamp ourselves, but we’re imagining a high-tech, much more chic version of those inflatable clown toys that rock back up every time you knock them down.

Sitting more on the ‘I’m not so sure’ side of the scale are Dancing Light and Material Shelf. Dancing Light is a floor light that responds to your movements, which we can’t really imagine anyone wanting in their house, and Material Shelf which is a shelf that displays a different material (pictured is marble) based on the requirements of the user. 

This sounds cool, but with display technology where it is at the moment, we’re not holding our breath that it’ll actually look like a marble shelf. 

Mood Driver is a very slick looking ring, that allows you to alter the ambience of your room by changing the music and scene of your room. We’re imaging you’ll preset it with lighting and music commands, but we imagine this one being a really cool way to control smart home devices without needing a screen. 

Mood driver rings

Mood driver rings

Finishing off the devices are the Tactile Tray and Tactile Bench. The latter is a tactile bench that behaves like a see-saw and “augments your perception and senses”, and the former “shares information through the sense of touch” apparently changing its feel and movement based on the quality of your touch. 

No, we can’t picture it either. All of the images are beautiful, soft-focus, and utterly unlike any house we’ve ever been into. It’s great to see a company as big as Sony putting the effort into out-there design for smart home tech, it’ll just be interesting to see how much of it ends up in actual homes. 

Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.