The single-family home is notoriously difficult to evolve: zoning and building code make it difficult to gain traction on new concepts, R&D costs provide a high barrier to entry, and the feeling of being in a home is achieved only after building the home itself (for now).
EPAM Continuum partnered with one of the world’s largest home builders to create a lab for advancing this age-old typology. Cherry Blossom is a pop-up retail experience exploring future concepts for the connected and sustainable home, delivering new means for homeowners to explore features, arrange and visualize spaces, and understand the implications of their design and equipment decisions.
By creating a flexible platform for testing domestic innovations, we were quickly able to advance and prioritize the Cherry Blossom vision.
Research & Insights
Research & Insights
LACK OF FLEXIBILITY
We learned that the function required of your house shifts throughout the day, from season to season, and across a life. Homes in the United States are often inflexible and expensive to alter, so that when shifts occur we’re more likely to move than to adapt the home itself. This means that many owners prioritize the size of their home over its quality or performance, relying upon square footage as the solve for all future needs they envision happening.
EPAM Continuum created a flexible laboratory environment to test 15 separate concepts. Rather than creating a single home, the space was envisioned as a series of connected experiences, allowing the team to test both the home’s features, brand expression, and retail/home sales process.
Designed as a pop-up space, the concepts were tested in locations in New England and Northern California. We took a five-senses approach, testing scent, sound, and taste as core elements of the home design experience not typically engaged. Technically, each of the experiences was brought to life using a wide array of proximity sensors, camera vision, virtual reality, and kinetic mechanical systems.
By testing the work in two separate markets, EPAM Continuum was able to help the Cherry Blossom team identify which features and messaging should be funded for advancement across a varied consumer base. As a result, several elements were prioritized for advancement in market (still ongoing).
In addition, more than a dozen members of the Cherry Blossom team were embedded at the EPAM Continuum studio for 15 months, allowing for hands-on participation in our learning, envisioning, and prototyping. This highly collaborative exchange and innovation capability training resulted in a near-constant alignment with the needs of their business and culture, allowing the team to move more quickly and take bigger risks than in typical projects.