Digital Crossroads

The fourth industrial revolution has been described as the crossroads between the digital and the physical. Never has this statement been more applicable than to architect, Umbrellium’s proposed digital crossing. Replacing paint and barriers with sensors and light, the pedestrian crossing can adapt to events, spot safety issues, gather user data and disappear when not needed. This might not just be the (near) future of crossings, but also the future of wayfinding, event management, workplace management, public realm and, for that matter, design period. Dieter Rams tells us that ‘good design is as little design as possible’, ‘is unobtrusive’ and ‘is innovative’. In the digital age, this must surely include a consideration of whether permanent physical structures can be replaced entirely with digital structures, which tend to be less costly, more adaptable, and more intelligent. Ultimately we might only be left with those physical elements needed to fulfil the basic requirements of support and keeping us dry.