As I’ve been researching our controlling attitude towards nature, I have suggested that we need to start again with a clean slate, and start participating with nature in order to find solutions for a less consuming future. Philips Design are on to the same thing. They have set up a ‘probes’ program, looking at far future design research, for lifestyles 15-20 years ahead. This dutch design (I think you can tell) is the Microbial Home, and proposes an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input. Using biological processes, we could filter and recycle waste such as sewage, garbage and waste water. We assume that bacteria should be eliminated to keep us healthy, but nature utilises the bacteria around it to survive. So can’t we?
The bio-digester island (above) is the central hub of the kitchen. The vegetable chopping surface and grinder send waste in to the methane digester, which also collects our bathroom waste solids. Bacteria developed generates a bio-gas which can be collected and stored. It is then fed to the cooking range and mantle lights, as well as other parts of the home. The dehydrated sludge can be used as compost in our gardens.
The larder is a dining room table that stores food in various compartments of different volume and thickness, optimising the required temperature for different product. The terra cotta compartments are warmed on the surface by hot water pipes fueled by the methane digester. Above the table is a vegetable garden and storage area for all our favourite carrots and potatoes.
The paternoster waste up-cycler, assumes plastic packaging could have mycelium (found in fungi) attached to it, and allow it to decompose. The plastic is ground up and mixed with fungi cultures, allowed time to break down, and then exposed to light again, when miraculously edible mushrooms will begin to grow.
The urban beehive facilitates domestic bee-keeping. By locating a flower box with a little bee entry tunnel on the outside of the building, we can observe the bee city (safely) inside, as well as collect their tasty honey.
The bio-light uses bioluminescent bacteria (which is fed with methane and compost from the methane digester) as well as fluorescent proteins, to light up our homes. The ambient light requires no electricity.
The apothecary bathroom can monitor your health in order to give early warning and prevention of disease. Mirror sensors can monitor our skin and eyes, while our breath on the mirror is analysed for chemicals. Our toothbrushes, toilets and showers will also study our various outputs, and we will then be given advice on lifestyle change or possible diseases.
The filtering squatting toilet filters and channels our number 2s back to the methane digester. Using a 1 flush technique, waste water is minimised and no electricity is used. A hand rail allows for easier squatting, which is apparently much more healthy and could prevent cancer.
Using this cyclic system, not only can we reducing our energy consumption and pollution, but we can reduce our bills, live a healthier life and be fully self-sustaining. I have become far too used to ready meals and electric ovens, that a new way of living seems like a lot of effort. But this beautiful design makes me actually want to change. I’m not sure I’m convinced by squatting toilets, and using our brown stuff as cooking fuel would take a bit of getting used to, but this shows a lifestyle where we can live in harmony with nature. We can use it’s miraculous technology to make fuel from toilet waste and mushrooms from plastic, while doing no harm to the earth whatsoever. The concept is not for production purposes, although I hope in 20 years I can live in a home like this. I just hope my future family like mushrooms… because I despise them.