Deski is an interesting attempt at combining a workspace with a dinner table. Created by Finnish designer Markus Toivanen, the piece is a four-seated dining table by day and a spacious desk by night (or the other way around). The beautiful part is that you don’t need to put all your work-related things away. Just cover your creative mess with four panels, attached to the table via magnets, and you are good to serve food and entertain. These four removable components make your work flexible too. You can take them apart and keep the surface open, or you can close some of the panels and create storage compartments. Made from sustainable pinewood by-product, the piece is compact, clever and eco-friendly. I hope it doesn’t linger on the concept stage and gets produced soon.
I’m slightly obsessed with this website right now – Sydney based studio Evolvex created a cool online tool allowing you to build your own furniture. With this smart and intuitive online application you can upload images of your rooms and see what the piece will look like in its intended environment. And with the presented choice of components you can build an array of simple and elegant items for any room of your apartment.
The war between our love for techno-toys and debilitating clutter is not going to end soon. But this clever power strip by Herald J. Ureña – Umaña might win you a few battles. The piece fits snugly into corners, freeing the remaining space for things more exciting than cordage. The beauty of the design is that the power cord can be maneuvered to face the direction of the outlet, no matter how you place the strip. I want 4 for every room.
Even though the fire escape gardening season is over, some of us, urban folks, still want to cultivate some greenery and fresh food. And if we hope to grow our herbs and veggies in a small city apartment, we need good strategy and proper tools. Mobile Food Garden by Nancy Wang offers both. It is a system that incorporates planters, overflow trays, perforated bases and even a compost station.
The garden is designed as an ecological system based around three dominant cycles found in nature: growth, water and nutrient. Most plant growth occurs in the top two levels. Seeds may be germinated in the lower levels and rotated to the top trays to allow further growth. Rainwater feeds garden from the top, it then flows through the lower planting trays and collects in the bottom water tray. A perfect circle. This vertical structure of the garden gives it some space-saving points as well.
‘Apartment homes do not have the luxury of a backyard and there is limited opportunity to experience gardening, – says Nancy Wang. – This mobile food garden project aims to reconnect apartment dwellers with nature, through the design of a product/system that improves the urban living gardening experience, while communicating urban dwellers the potential benefits of a more self-sufficient way of living.’
How delightful is this? Swedish company Matroshka Furniture AB managed to squeeze living room, dining room, bedroom and study in just 15m2 (about 160 square feet). This was achieved by inventing a piece of furniture that is able to transform into all of the above spaces. Matroshka system was inspired by Russian nesting dolls. Here too pieces fit into each other and save space.
‘When the basic idea was being conceived, the focus was on seeing the room as a volume instead of an area, and on creating plenty of storage while also keeping the furniture comfortable and appealing. The L-shaped desk is fantastically spacious, with a standard height and depth. You may be living in a small space, but that’s no reason to use small furniture. A common problem in small residences is having guests round and finding somewhere for them to sit. With Matroshka, the solution is easy as the living room set-up has space for up to 12 people around the table.’
The entertainment area is built around a clever dining/coffee table hybrid, that can be moved up and down hydraulically. And when the party pieces are tucked in, they serve as a base for a double bed. Thus, all living systems are represented in one all-including piece of Matreshka furniture. It is pleasing that our humble Russian trinket propelled such an inspiring work.
Ukrainian designers Valeriy Kuznetsov, Katerina Kuznetspva and Illarion Karnaukh, all together Decorkuznetsov Sudio, have created this family of dual-functional objects. Called Ushanki (Russian for ‘babushka’ hats), the pieces combine shelving and illumination. Each wooden unit is fitted with a fluorescent lamp, which makes Ushanki perfect as a night stand or an ambient bookcase. The piece comes in three sizes.
I love coffe/dining table hybrids for the obvious reasons. Entertaining in small spaces is a balancing act, and these clever pieces make it doable. This particular design in addition to being clever is also adorable. The Bambi table by Caroline Olsson resemble a baby deer. The piece was ‘inspired by the anatomy of the knee, where the bones can only bend one way. The location and angle of the table legs, as well as the meeting points of the joints, help keeping the table upright and stable.’ Bambi can be used at two different levels; as a coffee table or a small dining table. Lovely!
If you like blackboard paint but not quite ready to drastically apply it all over your walls, you might consider the IdeaPaint. It offers a similar concept and much more predictable color scheme. This paint turns any wall into a dry-erase surface, allowing you to communicate messages, pin down ideas and generate volumes of marker art. With several colors available, the IdeaPaint may be used in any room – kitchen, home office, entrance area… It will definitely be a hit in a kids room! The application is as easy as painting the walls.
This cool humidifier by Matti Walker, produced by Swiss manufacturer Stadler Form caught my eye. The little gadget, called Anton, includes a dispenser for scented oils, an anti-calcium cartridge to prevent build-up, a patented Ionic Silver Cube to keep the water clean, and an automatic shut-off. And in spite of its size, it can service rooms up to 250 sq. ft. Great new addition to Stader Form’s line of humanized appliances, Anton is compact, fun to look at, and comes in a variety of colors.
I really heart this kitchen item, as I am sure you will too, if you are an iPad-loving foodie. Andrea Ponti‘s Bosco cutting board comes in two parts – one for business and one for pleasure. When the cutting part is in use, its base can work as a stand for an iPad (or any other tablet for that matter). You can socialize on the web, check recipes, watch movies, – all while cooking a meal. ‘The Bosco cutting board is not meant to be taken too seriously though. It’s meant to experiment with the relationship between technology and a kitchen tool that is often dull and flat but used daily,’ – says the designer.