The Microbial Home by Philips
by Harry / October 21, 2011

For the 2011 edition of Dutch Design Week, Netherlands-based giant Philips will be showing five lifelike models of concepts for the Microbial Home, a forward looking group of design concepts that represent an innovative and sustainable approach to energy, waste, lighting, food preservation, cleaning, grooming, and human waste management.

(Click the images below for full sized images)


The Bio-digester island, a kitchen island that consists of a methane "digester" which converts bathroom waste solids and vegetable trimmings into methane gas which is then used to power a series of functions in the home.

The Microbial Home project is part of the Philips Design Probes program, which explores far future lifestyle scenarios based on research in a wide range of areas. The Microbial Home Design Probe consists of a domestic ecosystem that challenges conventional design, it's a proposal for an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function's output is another's input.


Methane powered lighting in the Microbial Home kitchen.


The Bio-light concept explores the use of bio-luminescent bacteria fed with methane and composted material (drawn from the Bio-digester above). Alternatively the cellular light array can be filled with fluorescent proteins that emit different frequencies of

In the project the home has been viewed as a biological machine; to filter, process and recycle what we conventionally think of as waste - sewage, effluent, garbage, waste water.


Urban beehive is a concept for keeping bees at home. The beehive is designed to allow us a glimpse into the fascinating world of these industrious creatures and to harvest the honey that they produce.

Says Philips, "Our world is sending us warning signals that we are disturbing its equilibrium. A drastic cut in our environmental impact is called for. This Probe explores how the solution is likely to come from biological processes, which are by nature less energy-consuming and non-polluting. We need to go back to nature in order to move forward."


The Larder concept challenges our use of refrigeration and food storage (as opposed to dead food in the refrigerator) and presents ways to keep "living food" fresh, by using natural processes; an evaporative cooler and vegetable storage system built into a dining table.

"Designers have an obligation to understand the urgency of the situation, and translate humanity's needs into solutions. Energy-saving light bulbs will only take us so far. We need to push ourselves to rethink domestic appliances entirely, to rethink how homes consume energy, and how entire communities can pool resources" says Clive van Heerden, Senior Director of Design-led Innovation at Philips Design.


The Paternoster plastic waste up-cycler is a concept that uses mycelium to break down plastic packaging waste. Designed to teach children about the environmental impact of household waste, it is designed to mould toys while producing edible mushrooms in the home.

The Microbial Home domestic ecosystem will be shown to the public at the Piet Hein Eek gallery during Dutch Design Week (DDW) only. The DDW takes place from October 22nd to 30th, 2011.


The Filtering Squatting toilet is a waste separating toilet that filters effluent while channeling excreta to a methane digester in the Microbial Home system. (this item won't be shown at the Piet Hein Eek gallery)



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