Bunk beds are a great space-saving solution, but they are very rarely beautiful. The Maja bed from Helsinki based design studio Aalto+Aalto is an exception. Inspired by treehouses, this bed prototype is a true delight for the senses. It is also modular and can be build in several different ways according to your space requirements.
Here is what designers Klaus and Elina Aalto say about their work: ‘We appreciate working on projects that both functionally, esthetically and emotionally bring something new to our material world. Our aim is to create special everyday objects with a strong identity and story.’
An object isn’t generous enough if it only performs one function. And we, urban folks, living in tiny apartments, are especially in need of clever, multifunctional objects. Luckily designers are happy to oblige. Here is an interesting project by Hsiang Wang, called Complete Me, Please! and comprised of three pieces: a broom and dustpan / rubbish bin combination (my personal favorite), a lamp with an integrated fly swatter, and a coat rack with hooks that double as shoehorns.
Here is how the designer explains his vision: ‘Not all objects are easy to store as people might expect. People have no idea how to deal with some objects even though they are useful utensils. The aim of this project is create a series of objects related to the household environment which combine two individual utensils into a single appliance. Each must be bi-functional, pertain to a mutually beneficial relationship, and provide a home for the two component products.’
Manhattan based architect Luke Clark Tyler lives the life of extreme space-saving in his 78 square foot studio. Even though the place can barely house his bed and has no kitchen, Luke does not see living small as a sacrifice. He employed his professional skills to customize this closet-sized dwelling to his needs. Another proof that we, New Yorkers, can endure almost anything for a great location.
Even in the absence of space and green thumb, there is still hope for growing an urban herb garden. This planter, created by two Dutch designers Nathan Wierink and Tineke Beunders is completely fool-proof. It can be attached right to the window via suction cups. The pots are transparent to allow maximum sunlight. What a clever idea!
This minimalistic kitchen workstation is a student project by Sébastien Cluzel of the École Supérieure d’Art et Design de Saint Étienne. The piece, called Culinary Landscape, is comprised of four essential parts - preparation area, water station, cutting board, and stove. Everything you can realistically need for cooking is incorporated in this design – cutlery, cookware and even herbs. The designer used interesting and innovative materials; thus, the sink is made from Ductal (a fiber reinforced form of concrete), and the stove is constructed out of soapstone. Other materials include wood, laminated plywood and cons (oak and pine), stainless steel. All are sustainable and functional choices.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company was established by Jay Shafer, who practices the art of living small like no other human being. Jay plans and builds tiny houses (some of which are smaller than 90 square feet!). You can buy it ready made or build it from plans yourself. All Jay’s creations are van-compatible and can be transported to the new address at a moment’s notice. Truly efficient, eco-conscious, nomad living. Check out the videos below for space-saving and lifestyle-changing ideas.
I am happy to announce that another cool iPhone alarm clock is here to tempt us. Called c/dock, this sleek new toy needs our help to be produced. Here is how the designer describes it on Kickstarter: ‘A handsome thick piece of solid walnut with either a brushed aluminum or glossy resin face plate with a six foot long black usb cable. The ultimate mix of modern design and convenience.’ The idea is simple – you slide your phone into the fully enclosed sleeve to dock and charge it, while it is running your favorite alarm app. And when you are awake, you can use it as a photo display or as a media player. Sweet!
The ISO System 216 sideboard by Invisible City was designed for one specific purpose. It stores paper. And it does it well. All drawers and cupboards are sized according to ISO international paper standard (A4, A3, A2 etc.). You can customize your piece too, depending on your paper-storing needs. Even though this concept does not offer you endless capacity (which is a myth anyway), it gives you the best possible solution for a specific task. And that is no small feat.
This elegant table set from 3patas is based on the idea of seamlessly blending three pieces in one. Called 3×3, the set can be arranged in various configurations or neatly combined to form a family. When the smaller tables are being used, the openings can be filled with the perfectly fitting bowls. Here is what the designers say about this unusual project: ‘After researching different users, we found that in many cases, they were living with limited space (such as inner city lofts) and were searching for solutions which could adapt to their various requirements. Whether it be entertaining friends, having a coffee, watching TV or simply eating dinner, the adaptability of 3×3 makes the table an attractive solution for these users.’
Here is a bright idea from Washington based company Rotoluxe. They combined tables and planters with CFL/LED lighting, creating a double function that is not only attractive, by also eco-conscious. All luminous pieces are made from 100% recycled plastic, which makes them environmentally friendly. The manufacturing process is highly sustainable too – left over shavings and cut-away pieces go right back into the shredder to make fresh new parts. So, instead of cluttering a landfill, used plastic bottles and production scraps can illuminate and enhance the space around us. And that is a beautiful thing…