Micro spaces for macro lives lifestyle
These are unprecedented times of revolution for housing. The reduction in the size of homes is a trend that will endure, and with it, a continuous adaptation to new changing interiors. This is a reinvention that is starting with a shift in everyday activities, as tiny spaces lead to design that makes the most of every habitable square metre.
In the middle of the last century, visionary architect Frederick Kiesler put forward the concept of constantly shifting realities that will require organic spaces ‘in motion’. “The basic concept is elasticity and constant movement, essential to contemporary social proposals”, explains Stephen J. Phillips in his book ‘Elastic Architecture: Frederick Kiesler and Design Research in the First Age of Robotic Culture’.
The way we use are homes today is contradictory and overlapping, and cohabitation heightens the need for individual, convertible space. Each of the elements opens, expands, lowers and rises using various types of mechanisms, which as a whole come under an overarching design incorporating high resistance, elasticity and connectivity integrated with new technologies.
“We can see from the growth in the global population that we’re moving towards living in smaller, multifunctional spaces. Technology is helping us to propose a feasible and desirable way of life in spaces measuring just a few metres, with flexibility and operational transformation providing the means to expand”, says Kent Larson, Director of MIT’s City Science unit.
This compelling claim is becoming evident in new optimised ‘miniaturisation’ housing models. The trend is leading to a drastic reduction in space and technological upgrades of every function in the home.
Boxes, cubicles, containers and wardrobes that conceal the unexpected, adjustable uses and solutions complemented by various accessories.
On the one hand we have prefabricated housing designed for mass production; on the other, designs tailored to specific upgrades of existing building stock.
The numbers are staggering: houses measuring 25, 30 or 40 square metres with the capacity to adapt space and suit residents; precision planning, minimisation/maximisation, convertibility, internal mobility, etc. for a fulfilling home life where work and play are connected.
“Coronavirus has accelerated this permanent change – the location of our homes matters less now that our kitchens are our offices. Size matters more because there is less, robotic furniture and integrated apps are coming together in new home digitalisation”, says Stefanos Chen, a New York Times real state expert.
Think small, live big
Enorme Estudio, Madrid
Rocío Pina and Carmelo Rodríguez make up one of Spain’s most internationally renowned architecture studios, known primarily for their alternative approach to projects and sociological research in cities. They approach construction from a perspective of social experimentation, leading them to implement new industrial systems and dynamic technologies. Through all their work, they aim to nurture a new proactive dimension in citizen architecture and culture.
One of their most renowned projects is “Living Big: a responsible alternative”
The slogan “Living Big” in fact refers to living big, in small: “Just as our way of life changes, we change, and we change our homes – manually or robotically. Technological flexibility in our homes will make us live life to the full”, say the architects.
Kitchens within wardrobes, raised beds, lighting that changes the ambience, and motorised walls. It is about using our creativity to design relational spaces that generate positive emotions.
EXD Architecture, Nueva York
Victoria Benatar, a New York architect and interior designer, is another proponent of this growing phenomenon. Her customers in New York were asking for adaptations that seemed impossible in theory, and she took this on as her personal mission. Adapting materials, increasing natural light and using furniture designed specifically to make spaces multi-use.
“New York is a pioneering city in this ever-growing trend. The need is there, and demands it, and the architect’s responsibility is to adapt every millimetre of space to give it a dual and triple function, always taking customers’ wellbeing into account. Design to optimise, this is one of our main slogans”, says Victoria Benatar to Lifestyle. She is founding partner of studio EXD Architecture, with more than twenty years’ experience working in New York, and a professor at Columbia University and Parsons School of Design.
Francesca Perani, Bérgamo, Italia
“I confront small battles against the need for bigger spaces. I like to take experimentation to the extreme, and discover new possibilities in the extreme conditions of space minimisation”, says the Italian architect, also a graphic designer, illustrator and advocate of social and collaborative design, and one of the new assets and talents on the international stage.
In this recent project, a 25m2 micro apartment, she prioritised the potential for isolation due to pandemics in reduced spaces with all the features of an entire house. It was important to follow principles of interior/exterior integration and the potential to ventilate balconies, patios or terraces. The plethora of different materials used for surfaces also stands out: steel sheets, wood conglomerate and natural stone for example.