As most city dwellers already know, space is always at a premium. But sometimes less can be more, and the lack of space and resources can be an inspiration—challenging designers, architects, and innovative inhabitants to seek creative new ways of designing a home to be comfortable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.
Gestalten's new release Small Homes, Grand Living explores an assortment of projects and homes, while paying homage to the innovation that's happening within modest urban living areas. It reveals creative uses of space in expanding urban areas across the globe.
Life in a smaller abode that's close to a city center can have numerous lifestyle benefits such as shorter commutes, smaller energy bills, and access to common building facilities. Professor Sigurd Larsen, a Berlin-based Danish architect, details in the book's preface, "The luxury of time is a value that can replace the luxury of space if you are willing to live in a smaller, more compact home."
City living in small spaces can also be much more eco-friendly. "In terms of sustainability, compact living in densely populated areas is the most efficient form of accommodation," Larsen points out. But where does one store their clothing, suitcases, bed linens, or books in these smaller homes? Some have turned to built-in bookshelves and stairs that cleverly transform into wardrobes.
The book explores everything from compact flats perched atop the roofs of high-rise buildings, to the use of floor-to-ceiling shelving. The concept of going vertical is nothing new and has always been the logical solution in urban metropolises such as Tokyo and Manhattan. By reflecting how these space-saving techniques were traditionally handled, Small Homes, Grand Living takes a look at homes in cultures known for their design expertise—such as Japan and Scandinavia—and examines how homes were organized for efficiency.
The demands of compact living accommodations have enabled designers and architects to incorporate ample storage without sacrificing style. On the contrary, hidden storage becomes design elements that add to the character of a home. Case in point, some have turned stairs into storage and bookshelves into walls—with necessity acting as the mother of invention.
By incorporating innovative solutions into renovations, designers and architects are continuing to push beyond logical thinking, as we adapt to the needs of our changing lifestyles. These clever transformations ultimately show that a home is both shelter and a reflection of its residents—and Small Homes, Grand Living is a chance for a glimpse into some diminutive abodes and their inspiring real-life design solutions.
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