Living in small apartments or tiny houses calls for some clever solutions to make the most of the available space. This often involves custom-made solutions and hacks, but more and more firms are also starting to offer ready-made furniture elements designed specially for small dwellings. One such was recently developed by the Mexico City-based design firm LC-MX. They created a modular kitchen system, which can be made as big or as small as you need it to be.
They named this kitchen system Latifolia and its minimalist, modern aesthetic makes it suitable for pretty much every home. The system features a self-supporting steel structure, which in turn supports the wooden shelves that can be placed in a whole range of positions taking into account the space requirements as well as the owners needs in terms of storage and the placing of kitchenware, appliances, and so on.
The supporting structure is made out of strong but lightweight powder-coated steel, which is very durable. The shelves and counters can be order in walnut, American oak, or tzalam depending on what the client prefers. There is a timeless aesthetic in combining wood and metal elements, and this modular kitchen system takes maximum advantage of it. The steel supports can also be extended out for increased stability and to support heavier items.
There isn’t much information of how the materials used in this system are sourced (i.e. if the wood is sustainably sourced, and if the steel used is recycled). The price has also not yet been revealed. However, this kitchen system is a great addition to the arsenal of those wishing to downsize to a small apartment or a tiny home without needing to custom design all the pieces of furniture, or get creative with furniture made for bigger spaces.
Often we associate sustainability with downsizing to a smaller home and thereby reducing our carbon footprint, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As MVRDV, a Holland-based firm, proves with their recently completed Casa Kwantes. The latter is a luxury home, which features a brick façade, plenty of glazing, and an array of energy efficient tech. The design of the home itself was inspired by 1930s architecture, but it features a modern twist.
Casa Kwantes measures 5,166 sq ft (480 sq m) and is a two-story family residence. It is located in Rotterdam, Holland, and the architects designed the interior layout based on the owner’s wishes and needs. The living room, dining room, kitchen and library are located on the first floor, as is the two-car garage. The living room features a long, custom made wooden unit which runs along the entire wall and provides ample amounts of storage space. On the second floor, there are two bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom. The home also features a basement and a guest bathroom.
The back wall of the home has no windows, while the front is comprised of floor to ceiling windows, and curved, which makes for some unusually shaped rooms. The curved glazing wraps around the interior continuously, offering views into all the rooms, while the balcony allows for easy access to all the spaces. Since none of the windows face the street, only the garden, the occupants enjoy lots of privacy, while the windows also let in plenty of natural daylight.
Casa Kwantes is connected to the grid, but it also has a large solar panel array mounted on the roof. According to the designers, the system will most likely provide enough energy for the entire home, but this will be proven during the next year, since the home was only just completed a couple of months ago. The home also features a ground-source heat pump, which together with the heat exchanger provides energy-efficient heating and cooling for the home.
Living in a small space is not for everyone, especially when it comes to living in densely populated urban areas. With a towable tiny house, you can park it anywhere and have as much nature and space around it as you wish, but in an apartment you’re pretty much stuck where you are.
But the current state of the market is such that city dwellings are very expensive, and more and more people who do not want to move to the country are opting to live in micro apartments. When designing such spaces, maximizing the available space is of the utmost importance, and the Danish firm Studiomama did an awesome job in that regard with this former mini-cab office, which they turned into a cozy home.
The space was bought at an auction and measures 139 sq ft (13 sq m). The designers then set out to turn it into an apartment with the aim of proving that with clever solutions even such a small space can become a comfortable home. The achieved this by installing seamless walls which hide the storage areas, and give the sense of spaciousness. They were inspired by boat design in coming up with this solution. They also placed mirrors along one of the walls, as well as in the kitchen, which further adds to the illusion of this being a larger space than it actually is. Since this apartment has so little floorspace they integrated all that was needed into the built-in furniture.
The home features a dining nook with a built-in bench to sit on, while this bench can also be extended to increase the sitting space. The bench also has a footrest built into it, which can be stored away when not in use. The bed can also be folded away when not in use. The home also features a work area in the form of a standing desk, which has it’s own storage area. I suppose the dining table can be used if you wish to sit while working. The home also features a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom, which is the only part of this home that is separated off from the rest of the apartment for privacy.
While going camping in a tent has its charms, a lot of people prefer the more comfortable alternative of “glamping”. And the Spanish firm In-Tenta has recently designed a gorgeous micro cabin, which is intended to be deployed in some of the most picturesque landscapes, so that residents can enjoy the best of untouched nature in style and comfort.
The so-called Drop Box micro-cabin is actually just one of the firm’s offerings in the area of modular hotel suites, which are available in different sizes and models. They can all be erected easily and virtually anywhere. They don’t require a foundation, and are made from natural materials to further minimize the impact they have on nature.
The modules are made of sustainable materials like wood and are easy to transport. The Drop Box cabin features a bedroom for two, though adding a bunk bed for children is also an option. There is also a bathroom, with a spacious shower. The cabin also features an outdoor deck, while the house itself also has plenty of glazing to offer the best views possible. Even the bathroom, or more specifically the shower, offers panoramic views of the surrounding nature, which is great when glamping in a secluded spot, but you might need some opaque curtains otherwise.
Both ends of the cabin are glazed, which connects the indoor space with the outdoors beautifully, almost like you would get in a tent. There are very little details on how the modules are constructed, what type of insulation was used and what kind of off-the-grid features it has. But as far as design inspiration goes, I’m sure it can provide lots of ideas. There is also no word on price yet.
A team of professionals at ETH Zurich have started work on a house which will be digitally fabricated at nearly all stages of the construction process. The so-called DFAB House is being crafted at the NEST building near Zurich in Switzerland. Designing and constructing it will be a team effort between architects, robotics specialists, materials scientists, structural engineers and sustainability experts, as well as local contractor Erne AG Holzbau. One of the main aims of constructing this house is putting sustainable technologies developed in labs to real-life use to test them.
When completed, DFAB House will measure 2153 sq ft (200 sq m). The ground floor walls are being built by a 6.6 ft (2 m) tall robot with a toolhead that is used to bend and weld 0.24 inch (6 mm) steel rebar to construct the mesh wall framework. This is then filled with a specially formulated concrete which hardens so that it does not leak through the gaps. This process will result in a curved wall, while the robot used to build it is autonomous and moves around on caterpillar tracks. The ceilings of the house will be constructed using a 3D sand printer.
The so-called Smart Dynamic Casting method will be used for the ground floor façade. This is a new slipform construction method which allows for complex structural elements to be built without needing concrete molds. A team of robots will be used to construct the building’s upper floors, using prefab timber elements.
Apart from providing apartments and work spaces for guest researchers and NEST partners, the house will also be fitted with a range of smart home and IoT technologies, including innovative systems that communicate with and learn from each other, as well as other energy control systems. The DFAB House is expected to be finished by the summer of 2018.