Emma Kemper is not a fan of wires. “I wish everything could be wireless,” says the NYC-based interior designer. “I spend so much time trying to figure out to conceal them.” As the founder of the design firm Emma Beryl, she spends more creative energy than she’d like to admit designing around her clients’ technology. TVs, printers, computer screens — and the tangled nests of wires protruding from them — can kill a room’s otherwise perfectly put-together vibe.
To work with the onslaught of unwieldy cords, glaring screens and hard plastic objects, interior designers have figured out some clever hacks to disguise them. They drill holes into custom furniture to channel wires phone chargers and hide TVs inside of credenzas. Printers are nestled into custom frames, and outlets are placed “just so” to avoid errant cords. But what designers have been craving is technology that blends seamlessly into the room’s surroundings. “Technology shouldn’t be the focal point of the room,” Kemper says.
That’s becoming easier to achieve.Today, we’re in the midst of an industrial design revolution. It’s a moment when even the most mundane objects —humidifiers, thermostats, home security systems, and yes, printers — have gotten high-design treatment. Look around, and you’ll see it: smart speakers swathed in fabric, desktop computers enrobed in wood-grain, TVs that double as artwork; futuristic routers.
As devices become ever-present in our homes, thoughtful industrial design — both the way something looks and the way people interact with it — has gone from a luxe feature to an expectation. “Good design is table stakes now,” says Markus Wierzoch, executive design director at the industrial and experience design firm Artefact. In today’s design-obsessed world that might sound obvious, but it hasn’t always been the case.