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A talk by Mooi during Milan design week

Designers need to "re-energise" living rooms, say panel at Moooi talk

Promotion: Marcel Wanders, Li Edelkoort and Yves Béhar discussed how designers can harness technology to reunite families in the living room at a talk hosted by Dezeen and Moooi.

The talk took place at "A Life Extraordinary", Dutch design brand Moooi's installation at Milan design week that used light, scent, sound and surface to create a multi-sensory experience for visitors. It was part of a series of events hosted by Moooi in Milan since 2022.

Focused on the living room, this year's edition celebrated "spaces which influenced the senses". The discussion explored how interiors can be adapted throughout the day using light and sound to create a more stimulating or calming environment as needed.

The talk was led by Dezeen's editorial director Max Fraser, who was joined by three panellists including founder and creative director of Moooi, Marcel Wanders, trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort and designer and studio Fuseproject founder Yves Béhar.

A large crowd assembled around a talk
Designer Yves Béhar discussed his modular Peaks sofa

Introducing the installation to the assembled guests, Wanders asked the audience to picture themselves spending an evening at home alone with the lights on listening to music.

He then asked it to imagine the light in the room as if it were a sound, suggesting that, unlike the music playing in the background, the sound of the light would be very monotone and flat "either on or off" with no variation or "poetry" to it.

Wanders invited visitors to ponder if it might be possible to "create an algorithm that allows light to do what music does".

"We want to be part of the conversation," Wanders said. "We want to create the algorithm, create the technology, we want to create a dancing light, a poetic dancing room; not a living room but a 'living' room."

Li Edelkoort sitting and listening
"We use our homes much more intelligently" Li Edelkoort said

Joining the conversation, Béhar said that the static nature of the living room and the need for human connection was the starting point for his modular Peaks sofa for Moooi.

Peaks, which made its debut at Milan design week, is made up of foam triangles connected by fabric hinges that invite rearranging, similar to building blocks.

"I made a prototype and put it in the middle of my living room and it immediately drew everybody there," Béhar recalled. "Incredible types of different interactions and games were played in there. Old and young came together on Peaks."

During the conversation, Edelkoort argued that designers and architects have to embrace this interactive approach, as lifestyles and habits in the home change.

"Every room now becomes a living room," she said. "We use our homes much more intelligently. Somehow in the beginning of these new choices, the living room was completely abandoned; it's very boring, very stale and stiff."

Person taking a photo
Wanders asked if it might be possible to "create an algorithm that allows light to do what music does"

Instead, she believes we have seen the rise of multifunctional rooms that unite families, offering multiple different activities and seating options in one space.

"In this world where we're being pulled apart by different interests, by our screens, it's our job as designers to re-energise, to create environments," Béhar added.

"Whether it's through lighting and subtle changes, sound and scent, sensual elements and physical touch, it's our job to re-engage with all those senses that bring us together."

Other products launched in Moooi's living room space included the bendable Tubelight by Dutch design collective BCXSY, a chubby armchair called Big George by Argentine designer Cristián Mohaded and a collection of flora and fauna-informed wall covering, carpets and bedding designs The Green House Collection.

For more information on Moooi, visit its website here.

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This article was written by Dezeen as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.