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.’
Our seating furniture is a notorious clutter magnet. Its demoralizing coziness compels us to pile more and more things closer to our bums, so we don’t need to bother getting up. Design firm Quinze and Milan and backpack manufacturer Eastpak took this desire quite literally and created the Backpack Sofa, a transformable piece of furniture with unlimited storage possibilities. The number of pockets and compartments is impressive and will allow storing books, DVDs, periodicals, iPads, and all other toys and spoils you like to keep close to you. Beautiful and at the same time dangerous idea…
This multifunctional table, designed by Italian studio Crop, consists of two parts – wooden tray and upholstered cubes. The cubes can be used as ottomans and provide extra seating in a guest entertaining situation. They can also serve as freestanding side or end tables around the room. The design includes two sizes and two color palettes, warm and cool.
This versatile piece of furniture, called Tokotoko, can perform several roles in your home. It can serve as a side (or bedside) table, as a stool, or it can even be stacked to create a modular shelving unit. Made from natural walnut, the item comes in two colors, which can be alternated for a visual impact. Tokotoko is made in Japan and can be purchased here.
Young Danish designer Anders Backe attempted to rethink the traditional futon bed and make it fun and multifunctional. The result is highly impressive. The piece, called Nest, is a lounge chair by day and a guest bed by night, which makes it perfect for small spaces. The project was carried out in collaboration with the Danish furniture manufacturer – Karup A/S. Here is how the designer describes his concept: ‘We wanted to design a piece of furniture consisting only of the futon mattress itself; 1: to fully exploit its many qualities, 2: to create a simplistic furniture – both esthetically and functionally – and 3: to meet the price range of the manufacturer.’ The popularity of the piece in Germany, Switzerland, France and Denmark is a proof of the mission accomplished. Available for purchase here.
Squambo – is a modular, multifunctional bookcase from Nintek Design. Based on two differently sized shelving components, the piece can be put together in many different ways. You can build it vertically, horizontally, asymmetrically – the combinations are endless. Apart from book storage, the system will allow you to create wall shelving, media storage, additional seating, even a room divider. And since only two standard panels are used, assembly can be kept simple and the production cost – manageable. Smart stuff!
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.’
I heart Resource Furniture. How can I not – they think, breathe and dream small spaces. In this video the company’s president Ron Barth shows some of their new models. His New York accent does not surprise me at all! If you are in the area – check out the flagship store.
Since we are on the subject of kitchen space – here is an interesting idea from German designer Kilian Schindler. His Concept Kitchen, designed for Naber, is a modular system that allows to built various configurations on the same frame. You can combine your basic worktop with either an oven, sink or storage. The basic elements are made from steel and easy to disassemble. They feature pre-drilled grid patterns for the flexible arranging of construction and storage shelves. So, if you decide to move house or remodel the existing one – there is at least one major project you can cross off your to-do your list.
The nature of the real estate market in Manhattan makes it a breeding ground for small space creativity. Here is another soaring example of an ingenious use of space. This Upper West Side 450 square feet studio was designed to fit all the essentials and even a few extras. The place includes: living room, kitchen (with plentiful counter space), bar area, home office, sofa bed, extra bed for guests, closet, even library. A large blue custom-made cabinet allows the transformation to happen. Watch the video for the interview with architect Michael Chen of Normal Projects and to see the ‘unfolding apartment’ in action.Photos by Aya Brackett