1967 – Robot Fred and James – Archigram Group (British)
Archigram Group's futuristic-type room at Tomorrow's Home Exhibition called 'Living 1990' held at Harrods, 1967. Robot Fred is on the left.
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Possible layouts involving Robot Fred and Robot James. Robot Fred has a smaller footprint than Robot James.
The Archigram Group was commissioned in 1967 by the Weekend Telegraph [UK] to design a 'house for the year 1990'. Naturally the definitions of function imply a fixed and permanent location. In essence the exhibited area illustrates the main part of the lower floor of a dwelling cage. The 'Robots' are a development in the direct lineage of the media trolley (in the Plug'n House) and the moveable services, walls and machines that serve the occupants in Mike Webb's projects.
Walls, ceilings, floors – in this living area – are wall, ceiling and floor conditions, which adjust according to your needs. The enclosures of the living area are no longer rigid, but adjustable, programmed to move up and down, in and out. The floor state, too, is variable. At particular points the floor can be made hard enough to dance on or soft enough to sit on.
Seating and sleeping arrangements are inflatable, and details such as weight of bed covers and number of cushioned elements are controlled by the user. The old concept of a movable chair has become a travelling chair-car. The model in the living area is designed on the hovercraft principle, and can also be used outside for driving around the megastructure city. The robots can shoot out screens which enclose a required area of space, The ceiling lowers at this point and whoever requires it has a private area, The robots are movable, Refreshment can be drawn from them. The robots also incorporate radio and television — including favourite movies and education programmes, which can be switched on when you want them, The television is, at the present stage of development seen on wide screens, and can be programmed so that viewers are surrounded by realistic sound, colour and scent effects, The service wall connects with a vast service stack, shared with the megastructure city, which is one of the key facilities of the structure.
The design of the living area goes some way towards allaying the widely-held fears that the future points inevitably to standardisation and conformity of living accommodation.