Speculative design

How far will we go to alter our bodies, nature and the universe? These five design projects ask questions about our future.

Speculative design extrapolates from the present to imagine how services and products will look in the future. The six designers in this round up all produce conceptual work, thought experiments or hypothetical products or services based on speculation about the future of materials, technology and scenarios of human life. The intention is to challenge contemporary science, communications technology, food, our relationship to nature and current behaviour in order to examine design’s role in everyday life. 

Agi Haines on being the Frankenstein of design

"Are we ready to take on the God-like ability to manipulate the plasmas of life?” asks Agi Haines. Her work imagines the human body as an everyday material that can be shaped and refashioned. Watch Haines's talk at Design Indaba 2014 here.

Alix Gallet on fooling the internet

In an age when our online privacy is constantly being eroded, French designer Alix Gallet has a bag of tricks to fool biometric recognition technology. Read more about her humorous approach to challenging the status quo here.

Marguerite Humeau on communicating with aliens

Could creatures be living under the ice cap of Jupiter’s moon, Europa? Marguerite Humeau explores this idea in a recent project, The Things? – A Trip to Europa. Read more about Humeau’s latest project, which looks at designing new communication devices that allow people to communicate with otherworldly creatures here.

Next Nature on humans' impact on the planet

Koert van Mensvoort and Hendrik-Jan Grievink of Next Nature explain in this interview how we have transformed nature into a new setting. The duo challenge the idea that nature is separate from and untouched by humans, arguing that with technology and our desire to control the natural world we have indelibly changed the ecosystem around us. Watch here.

Daisy Ginsberg on a synthetic future

Daisy Ginsberg uses synthetic biology to look at how the bacterial world of the future conflicts with today's obsession with antibacterial hygiene. Watch her Design Indaba Conference talk, where she questions the notion that “design makes things better” here.

Watch the Talk with Agi Haines