Open Call Private_Eye_Butler_Spy

Speculative design for the house of the technologized and digitalized future

23.11.21 Anne Vera Veen

Arcam calls on architects, designers, artists, and makers (in training) to submit a speculative design for the house of the technologized and digitalized future.

The selected projects will be shown as part of the exhibition Private_Eye_Butler_Spy at Arcam at the Prins Hendrikkade in Amsterdam.

What: speculative design for the house of the technologized and digitalized future
When: deadline Open Call: 16 January 2022 / Exhibition: 11 March 2022
Where: exhibition at Arcam, Prins Hendrikkade 600
For Whom: spatial thinkers, architects, designers, makers (in training)
Why: as part of the exhibtion Private_Eye_Butler_Spy


Figure 1: With this 1969 interior, Colombo designed a futuristic space which integrates advanced technological developments. For example, TVs in several places were merged with the ceiling or wall, while the bedroom was a fully sealable room with climate control.

Figure 2: For this 2017 science fiction sequel to Blade Runner (1982), production designers Dennis Gassner and Alessandra Querzola elaborated on the original’s vision of the future. The apartment belonging to K, the main character, is outfitted with a virtual girlfriend named Joi. An AI system, she is projected within the house as a hologram by a mechanical arm on the ceiling.

Figure 3: This film still from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) shows a room equipped with a smart system and a computer integrated in the wall on the right. It offers speculation about new ways of living in combination with technology that can manipulate gravity.




The expanding role of data, algorithms, robotics, and artificial intelligence is altering the physical surroundings in which we live as well. In the exhibition Private_Eye_Butler_Spy, Arcam examines how the built environment in and around our homes is changing as a result of increasing technologization and digitization.

How do smart systems in the domestic sphere develop, and what impact does this have on the design of homes? Will household robots fully become residents, and does this bring new design challenges with it? How does the tendency to always be connected online affect our way of life, and what impact does this have on the architecture of our living environment? How might the conceptual relationship that people have with their surroundings change? Will a smart home become a living entity that you can regard as a friend, spy, fitness coach, psychiatrist, or butler? How does the physical and material impact of digital networks manifest in our immediate living environment?

With this Open Call we ask architects or spatial thinkers to visually elaborate on their vision of the house of the future. Participants have the freedom to create a realistic or speculative, utopian or dystopian design. The focus should be on the spatial design of the house and/or its immediate surroundings, but the design can also reflect complex social, economic, ecological, post-Anthropocene, or extraterrestrial future scenarios. Experimental and conceptual works are encouraged!


The speculative design may be submitted in several different forms:

– As a 2D image, such as a drawing, rendering, photocollage, or similar
– As a 3D spatial concept, such as a maquette or model
– As a video, such as an animation
– As a spatial installation


Projects may be submitted via the online form no later than Sunday, 16 January 2022.*

State in your application whether the image you are submitting is the work itself or a picture of the work.
Include a text in English or Dutch of max. 250 words.
Include a short biography of max. 100 words.

* Your proposal or the work itself may also be sent via WeTransfer to, citing ‘Open Call Private Eye’.


The call is open to all makers, creatives, architects, interior designers, landscape designers, urban planners, and spatial thinkers. We encourage students, autonomous makers, and professionals alike to submit their work.

The submitted work may be developed by an individual or group. We encourage an interdisciplinary perspective and an experimental (multimedia) approach.

Both new and existing work are eligible for selection.

Selection criteria

From among the project submissions, Arcam will choose five projects to be shown at Arcam during the exhibition Private_Eye_Butler_Spy.

In making the selection we will take into account:
– How well the project conforms to the theme of the exhibition Private_Eye_Butler_Spy
– To what degree the technologization of society is part of the speculative design
– How feasible/realizable the project is as part of the exhibition (in terms of production, size, technological requirements, etc.)
– The quality of the project’s visual elaboration
– The conceptual foundation of the speculative future scenario


The selected works will be displayed as part of Private_Eye_Butler_Spy, which will open on 11 March 2022. Interviews with the creators will be published on Arcam’s website. Selected participants will have the chance to speak about their work during a public program, which will be part of the exhibition’s broader programming (between March and June 2022).

We ask that the selected participants be prepared to install their work themselves on 7 and 8 March 2022. A modest production budget is available for the selected works.


Please contact Anne Vera Veen for questions:

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