Casa Jasmina, the open source apartment

Few weeks ago, during a very interesting 8-hours event called Culture Innovation Day organised by Toolbox Coworking –a coworking space in Turin– I found myself amazed by the presentation made by Lorenzo Romagnoli. He presented to the crowd a new project he is developing in collaboration with his colleague in –and founder of– Arduino Massimo Banzi and the cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling: Casa Jasmina.

According to his explanation Casa Jasmina is a real open source apartment hosted by Toolbox Coworking in an old industrial building shared between Officine Arduino and Fablab Torino –in Turin, of course. It is a pilot project to investigate the boundaries in open source field applied to the domestic environment and domotica (Italian translation of ‘home automation’). In the authors’ plan everyone will be able to try living in an open source connected house very soon. Indeed, it will be possible to book Casa Jasmina on Airbnb.
On Casa Jasmina website the stated objective of the project, as showplace, is identified in three main functions (from
– A real-world tested for hacks, experiments and innovative IoT and digital fabrication projects.
– A curated space for public exposure of excellent artifacts and best practices.
– A guest-house for occasional visitors to Toolbox, Officine Arduino and Fablab Torino.
The authors see Casa Jasmina as an incubator, and its purpose as “industry-boosting in the Torino and Piemonte IoT space”. Another very interesting part of the project is that Casa Jasmina will follow an iterative way in its development, “growing according to the need of the space and its inhabitants”. Also, the process will be exposed to the public and media in all its phases and it will be open for collaboration and involvement of third parties as sponsors or residency for designer and makers.
Ethic won’t be out of the discussion as well, as they explain in their blog about the panel discussion they had at the Transmediale 2015 in Berlin. The issue is ‘who is in control of the electronic home?’. Here an extract of the Sterling’s post on Casa Jasmina’s blog:
“If the IoT is inside there, who is the administrator, who has the “remote control for everything” in their own hand? People living in a house together tend to intimately share their domestic lives: the dog, the cat, then houseplants, the baby, the two year old, the teen, the grandmother, the house guests and dinner guests, they’re all living in the space. But living in a house is not the same as digitally controlling the house. If you are in a fully-instrumented Internet of Things house with remote controls, sensors and video cams, how does that affect the family?”
Again in their blog they tell us the story of the building that is landing its room to Casa Jasmina. The “Fonderie Carlo Garrone” that had been built in 1919 as a metal-casting works for FIAT car parts by the civil engineer Porcheddu. Sterling says: “The Casa Jasmina project exists to domesticate this Maker Movement, and to give it some sense of elegance, in almost exactly the way that Porcheddu’s offices once attempted to domesticate and make elegant a big, loud car factory”.
I recommend to have a look at Bruce Sterling introduction about the project here. And, here is an interview to Massimo Banzi, too.