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the future's bright. . .

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Orange has commissioned Urban Salon to convert a Hertfordshire farmhouse into a £2 million research centre designed to test, monitor and evaluate the most cutting edge services and products for the home

The study is designed to suit the needs of a freelance travel journalist/broadcaster. The map on the wall acts as a reference tool, a backdrop to video phone calls, and a screen for clutter on the shelves.

The original kitchen has been transformed into a cosy family room with dark colours and atmospheric lighting.

Designed by Urban Salon and Twelve, the oak table contains an outdoor herb garden, reinforcing the link between the garden and the kitchen which opens onto it.

Baths, showers and basins can be filled to a pre-programmed level, temperature controlled through a one-touch push button, and baths can be remotely filled.

The water is recycled to flush the WCs, which are equipped with a 'full' and 'economy' flush. All products have in-built timing facilities to save energy and water: the savings are substantial - approximately 25 per cent in water use in basins,50 per cent in baths,20-40 per cent in showers and up to 60 per cent in WCs.

Designed for a 'typical' family, the house includes bedrooms for a teenage son, a 10-year-old daughter and a baby boy. The brief stressed that occupants should not feel overwhelmed by the technology, and that the house should have a relaxed feel to it.

CREDITS

CLIENT Orange

ARCHITECT Urban Salon

PROJECT MANAGER Woodman Construction Management

STYLIST Sarah Hollywood

AV INSTALLER Steve Moore Consulting

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER AKT M&E

CONSULTANT Fulcrum

SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS furniture 20/21, Spaced Out, Fruselli, Andrew Stafford, Twelve, Agent Provocateur, Urban Salon, Azumi's; lights Jasper Morrison, Michael Young, Babylon, El Ultimo Gritto; art Sophie Smallhorn, Zoe Hope; bed Royal Auping; solar system in conservatory roof Solar Century; glazing contractor Vision Systems; water control system Eco-Logic; secure home delivery device Bearbox; kitchen equipment Gaggenau; heating and heat recovery systems smartkontrols (formerly known as Seachange), Viessmann; telematics Box Telematics, Java technology, Sun Microsystems, Compaq iPaq Pocket PC, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Proxim RangeLan2, Nuance, Larnout & Hauspie's RealSpeak, Unisys, Wavecom GSM 1800 moden, Java programming language, Apache Web Server, Panja, Echelon, Linux, Microsoft

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