25 Black Creators Visualize the Black Family Home of the Future in BADG’s First-Ever Virtual Concept Home

published Feb 17, 2021
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Obsidian BADG concept house architecture graphic

If you haven’t checked out OBSIDIAN, an online concept house organized by the Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG), you still have a few weeks left to take in the innovative design work of 25 Black creatives. Showhouses sometimes can lack an underlying narrative, as designers focus on their own rooms and don’t necessarily consider the sum of all the parts. That’s not the case with OBSIDIAN though. Set in a futuristic e-dwelling imagined in California’s Oakland Hills in the year 2025, each individual creator — including architects, interior designers, fine artists, and makers — has responded to questions of design, race, and life in post-COVID America to create an ecosystem of vibrant, interconnected, photorealistic spaces that promote the physical and mental wellbeing of the Black family. Design inspiration can be hard to come by right now, and this immersive experience can certainly help fill whatever creative void you may be currently be dealing with.

OBSIDIAN is our legacy project,” says Malene Barnett, artist, designer, and founder of BADG, in a press release about the project. “We aim to reach one million Black Families across the globe. Through this project, we are addressing decades of environmental injustice and offering creators an opportunity to share their ingenuity and Afri-centric perspectives on the home.”

Architects Nina Cooke John of Studio Cooke John and Leyden Lewis of Leyden Lewis Design Studio conceptualized the overall virtual structure (a rendering of which appears at the top of this story), while designers put their individual rooms together with a focus on four principles: innovation, technology, sustainability, and futurism. As you navigate around the virtual spaces — some of which you’ll see in the images here — you’ll find short bios and design statements from each of the rooms’ designers (there’s also a full list of spaces and creators on the OBSIDIAN home page). Many of the items featured in the spaces were designed by BADG members, while others were sourced from sponsor brands including the likes of Pottery Barn, Resource Furniture, YLighting, and more. Some of these pieces are hot-spotted and hyperlinked, so you can click through to purchase them and get the look in your own home.

Another key distinction between OBSIDIAN and other showhomes: Room purposes and designations were more fluid and open to interpretation; creators were given the freedom to riff on the collective themes as they saw fit. This multiplicity led to a truly modern, forward-looking home with all sorts of innovative spaces, from a multi-purpose room meant for sparking joy to a biophilic sanctuary for retreat and respite (pictured above).

The level of detail in the home is also striking; the rooms are every bit as visually rich as any IRL showhouse I’ve ever been to, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort and safety of your sofa to see them. Even the transition between the individual rooms — an artsy, mesmerizing screen dissolve — builds on the rooms’ palpable collective energy as you make your way through the indoor and outdoor zones.

The virtual showhouse was created in collaboration with Hearst Magazine’s Luxury & Design Collection. Spaces will continue to evolve throughout the rest of this month, so it’s worth visiting a few times over the next couple of weeks to see what new elements may emerge as you tour the structure virtually. For more information, you can read about the process behind the concept house and check out the OBSIDIAN Journal.