the Future

The Envisioning Center doubles as a prototyping lab and immersive showcase for Microsoft’s new products and services, demonstrating how new technologies may transform the way we live, work and play.

The design of the 7,000-square-foot Envisioning Center balances the ideas of openness and exploration with security and privacy, for the sake of Microsoft Research’s intellectual property. Unique from most research and development labs, the center displays futuristic yet real-life scenarios staged in office, home, retail and restaurant environments that explore the possibilities of embedded technologies like Kinect for Windows and Perceptive Pixel (PPI) displays.

The space itself is the result of ongoing collaborations between the company’s Strategic Prototyping team and Office labs, and is inspired by trends seen across the industry. Visitors can work on interactive desks, talk with colleagues using digital walls and cook in a Kinect-enabled kitchen. The space allows for the testing of new prototypes and also incorporates a “third place” area for various kinds of pop-up retail ideas. Custom furniture was designed by NBBJ for the living room and restaurant space in order to meet the client's specific needs and to add a sense of high-quality craftsmanship to this high-tech environment.