Wiggling walls, doors folding like origami, levitating tables: it might sound like a bad acid trip, but it’s actually the crazy, dynamic house (or museum or restaurant) of the future. Lately, designers have been questioning the widespread assumption that walls and furniture should be inanimate. Here are four of the coolest kinetic designs we’ve come by. If these projects are any indication, we’ll all soon be living in Jetsons-esque funhouses.
Canada-based graphic designer Thibaut SLD’s Hexi Wall is a series of 60 wall-mounted hexagonal panels that undulate and wiggle when they sense human movement. It’s the nuance of its movements that make this honeycomb-like design so mesmerizing: a jump makes them do the wave, whereas walking by makes a few of them casually nod. This futuristic wall-hanging isn’t exactly functional, but it definitely looks cooler than most of the inanimate decor we’ve seen.
Similar to the Hexi wall, only this one cools you off instead of just wiggling. In Daan Roosegaarde’s Flow 5.0, 400 tiny fans arranged on a wall sense your presence and blow gusts of air meant for you and only you. When no one’s around, the fans turn on and off automatically, and sometimes spell out the word “AIR” (in case you don’t know what that stuff they’re blowing is called?). The installation hangs out in the lobby of the Bentonville, Arkansas, outpost of 21c, a chain of hybrid art museums and boutique hotels.
Vienna-based artist Klemens Torggler’s unfolding origami door makes every normal door we’ve ever seen look sad, lazy, and boring. When you tickle this door’s side, its two square panels divide and do acrobatic little flips to the other side of the doorframe. Hinges are so passé.
Design firm RockPaperRobot, founded by roboticist Jessica Banks, specializes in kinetic furniture and robotic installations. Their Float sidetable consists of a matrix of magnetized wooden blocks that levitate with respect to each other. They’re held in equilibrium by a system of tensile steel cables. “It’s classical physics applied to modern design,” they write on their site. When you touch it, the cubes move around, turning an inanimate piece of furniture into an interactive sculpture.