Salone del Mobile Milano

Trend research: Home – Digital Detox, temporarily disconnect


The home forms an integral part of the digital ecosystem in which people’s lives today are immersed (the relationship between living and technology will be dealt with in the megatrend Phygital House) and, as such, is also the place in which they seek opportunities to temporarily disconnect in order to reconnect with themselves, their emotions and their own inner lives.

The pursuit of comfort and indulgence as a lifestyle means, in fact, also knowing how to appreciate the “luxury” of being unreachable – by mail, message, notifications or telephone calls. Being able to pull out the plug in order to carve out healthy moments in which to practise mindfulness means focusing on the present, observing the continuous and changing flow of sensations and thoughts far removed from the current “enslavement” of having to be always on.

This practice of wellbeing and awareness is becoming an increasingly popular habit and, in its capacity as a safe refuge, the domestic space is the ideal setting for what might be defined quiet zones, oases of calm and silence.

The home is also the place in which we try to achieve the right on/offline balance, that fine line between physical life and digital life. 


Is precisely what Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte has designed the stepladder Belvedere for. A minimalist and poetic object that enables people to absent themselves temporarily and look at things from a different viewpoint. Handmade entirely out of oak wood, each ladder is a unique piece, complete with production number.

It works very simply, just lean it against the wall – anywhere at all in the house – then climb right up and sit on the last, chair-shaped, step to gain a fresh look at and a different perspective on the chaos of daily life, or simply to have a salutary pause for reflection. The collection consists of three different versions according to the level of “isolation” required.

People are hooked to their smartphones by what amounts to a very real dependency. Estimates suggest that, on average, people check their phones 110 times a day, with record peaks of 900. It is now seen as a habitual gesture that gets in the way of concentration and relaxation.


Polish designer Agata Nowak has tried to buck the trend – albeit on a temporary basis – with her design for an armchair that endeavours to curb this “bad” habit. Offline Chair works as a sort of “shell” in which one can relax and enjoy the silence without interference, relishing a no-digital experience. The high back and sides screen off the surrounding noise and allow the user to look around them, focus on their surroundings and what is going on, simply relax, concentrate on reading a book or on the person to whom they are speaking. 


A special pocket on the side of the chair works as a cell phone holder – once inserted, it is completely neutralised by a special material that blocks the signal, disconnecting the user from the digital world.

The creation of dedicated Digital Detox home areas marks a new design departure, with designers seeking to introduce discreet “interventions” into the furnishings in order to integrate this practice into the user experience of domestic life and space.

Two “challenges” that, in their different ways, signal the universal need to keep two times of the day.

The first comes from Parisian artist and designer Ignasi Giró who, weary of the intrusion of the smartphone into his bedroom and into his relationship with his girlfriend, has designed an unusual alarm clock that can be left outside the door along with the myriad “distractions” that it brings with it and has made the checking habit the last thing anyone does before going to sleep or the first on waking.

The alarm clock is nothing more than a wooden cube whose only function is to sound at a predetermined time, Just the bell – precisely. The device connects to the cell phone via Bluetooth by means of the Just the bell app and can be set to a predetermined time.

The second is an unconventional communication tool, conceived by Dolmio, a well known Australian Food&Beverage brand. Pepper Hacker looks like a normal peppermill, but conceals an internal mechanism. Once the mill is ground in the usual way, the device deactivates the WiFi, technological devices and even the television for 30 minutes, preserving the evening ritual of family supper. For it to work, all the devices must have been previously linked up to the AirWatch app.

The peppermill is currently just a prototype that the brand has sent out to a number of mothers in Australia after carrying out a study into the effect of the indiscriminate use of smartphones and tablets on the quality of family relations, of which the convivial occasions devoted to the consumption of food are an important indicator.