As far as trends go, this one was benignly vile. Cocooning - coined in the late 1980s, coming of age in the '90s and sticking around in the noughties - was the brainchild of trendspotter Faith Popcorn. She predicted an en masse retreat from social and public life, in favour of a ''cocooning'' in one's home.
Sociologist Gabrielle Gwyther told Good Weekend in 2003:''They [home owners] love cocooning inside their McMansions, which are like castles, fun factories and mini-resorts in one.''
But the Age of Atomisation could finally be ending. Retail is struggling. Our appetite for buying stuff is slowing. And we no longer want the big houses that characterised the cocooning period. Last week the head of Stockland, Matthew Quinn, said homes were shrinking and the trend was ''locked in''. Media rooms were a casualty of the readjustment.