Design Museum / IKEA

A 24-hour experience prototype for a government service that relocates you everyday

This project was an evolution of another self-initiated project created at The Royal College of Art, that was then commissioned for the Design Museum and IKEA’s Home Futures exhibition.

The goal of the project was to prototype and experience future products and services in-context. By combining immersive theatre, experience prototyping and speculative design people were immersed in a possible future to discuss the positive and negative consequences.

I developed a fictional government service through rigorous testing and multiple performance-based experience-prototypes. A custom webapp, mobile phone, SMS service, website, email, social media data scrapping, 5 hours of recorded audio, posters, GPS guides, improvisational actors, CCTV, Uber, AirBnb, and Deliveroo services were needed to prototype a full 24 hour experience. My role was end-to-end, creating concepts based on research, designing every iteration and using creative coding to engineer every prototype throughout the project.

Project website (Audio/GPS experience):

A4 letter with a short fictional story about a future of London
The scenario is presented as audio during the guides and hidden within the website to find

I developed a plausible future based on extreme extrapolation of existing trends and behaviours. Digital sharing services like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Deliveroo, Uber etc are merged into a new technocratic government, whereby these behaviours become mandatory. The housing market is abolished and citizens begin to continuously rotate around the city, managed and monitored by networked sensors and a single complex government algorithm.

screenshot of a website with a signup form for fictional citizenship exams
The experience starts when people encounter the fictional government service website and signup to participate
Screenshots of a mobile app with a map
The webapp was the first digital prototype for a completely autonomous experience

Digital Service Prototyping

The initial experience was delivered using immersive binaural audio recordings, that were triggered by GPS when a user walked to the correct location with their phone and webapp open. Later this tool was developed for use by the primary actor to trigger audio at key points and trigger conversation and narrative with other actors.

People standing on a street in London listening to a story in their headphones
Two people standing in the same place, at the same time, experiencing two very different versions of a future city
People standing on a street in London listening to a story in their headphones
When two people had to share headphones they were forced to discuss and negotiate their route during the experience
People talking in a group in London
All of these people are strangers, 3 people are participants, 4 are actors who help world-building through conversation

Improvisational Actors

As the project developed improvisational actors where recruited and I developed 4 personas that each actor used as a starting point as well as creating 5 specific scenes. This helped to support the actors, trigger conversation and deeper immersion into the world during the events.

A timeline of 24 hours showing 5 different chapters

As more people contributed to the narrative I created glossery of terms to use as guidance and build continuity between the stories different actors told as well as the pre-recorded audio and written stories. The actors were also incouraged to say “You know what, I don’t actually know, I never checked, what do you think it is?”

Photo of a bright orange cctv camera


To allow participants to imagine themselves in this future, I used narrative props, bureaucratic language and activities, hired transport, real-time digital messaging and planted actors throughout the experience. This broke the barrier between the experience and the real-world, so that anybody or any object could be part of the world. Participants really were immersed.

Official looking forms and questionnaires for people to fill in after a guided walk
Participants were given tasks, from taking photos to scoring fellow participants
Photo of a bright red sign tied to a fence saying thinking of moving to a new locality
Props like posters, phones and even extra actors where placed along the route for participants to notice
Photo of a bright orange cctv camera
To record the experience without breaking the illusion I used working cameras that added to the narrative and delivered real-time recordings and data

Museum installation

To showcase the project for the Design Museum and IKEA I designed and developed an interactive installation with the help of Peter Hudson. The installation showed a repeating animated video attracting people, and a camera detected visitors and triggered a randomly generated video sequences that introduced them to the project as if they had just enrolled for the program. A map of the original 24 hour performance was also on display and people were invited to participate in future versions of the project.

A bright orange map of a walking route through London
A quote