WE MAKE SPACE FOR THE MIXED CITY
Today we have 37 officially registered different Family constellations in Denmark. Many of these are currently moving towards the cities and in Copenhagen alone we need to find space for 45.000 new homes within the next 10 years.
Accordingly, new urban residential housing is being built at an explosive rate around the world, and Copenhagen is no exception. However, most of these new homes are designed for a homogenous family consisting of a mom, dad and a baby and an income considerably above average. This means that we are currently shaping future cities that are expensive and homogeneous, therefore we will end up losing the diversity that has made cities blossom and thrive in the first place. We believe that areas with more diversity are more attractive and stronger than homogenous areas.
Therefore, Spacon & X has teamed up with Danica Pension and Copenhagen Windows on project “Custom Living.” A project that explores how spatial design solutions can transform these uniform apartments into spaces that can accommodate a more diverse constellation of residents.
SPACE OPTIMIZATION & FLEXIBLE SURROUNDINGS
Spacon & X creates and transforms spaces for a wide-range of needs and activities, the two main techniques in this design approach are space optimization and flexibility. We believe that this way of thinking makes it possible to create space for various personal passions and activities in the same square meters.
The starting point for Custom Living was two different emerging family-constellations, where each family-member has a rather diverse set of needs in their home.
THE ACCORDION LIFESTYLE - The stepfamily
The first family is the well known stepfamily of 3 children and 2 adults. The children live in the apartment every second week. Therefore, their apartment should unfold into a children’s space every second week - with space for activities such as; play-hour, home-work, drawing, creative projects, along with constant traffic in and out of the apartment with coats, boots and toys. On the other hand, in the other weeks, the apartment should be able to transform itself into an adult’s apartment, where children’s toy and boots can be exchanged with a calmer scene for home office-days and cosy nights with a bottle of wine.
To meet these variable demands, Spacon & X has designed three different built-in furniture components, which all together create the flexible customization that is needed in the family without having an excess of space.
When children of stepfamilies live between two homes, it is crucial to the family to make the children feel at home immediately as they enter.
We believe an important factor to create this feeling is to have a dedicated place to put their bags and hang their jackets, when they arrive from one home to the other.
At the same time, every family home experiences the spatial gymnastics needed to avoid snowsuits, boots and Pogo Sticks that are spread around the hallway and spilling out of overcrowded cabinets.
To meet this demand, Spacon & X has designed a Check-in module that has a dedicated cabinet for each child of the family. The surfaces have been made in perforated wood - making the cabinet light and graphic at the same time, while crossing rubber bands gives the children the opportunity to hang up their own drawings and pictures on their personal cabinet. This makes it easy for the children to know where to put and find their stuff. Furthermore, the cabinets are built with a seating-spot at the end where you can tie the children’s laces before they jump out the door.
The cabinet is made out of perforated wood and laminated in light and playful colors.
At the other end, a daybed transforms the check-in furniture into kitchen-dining area, that both sets the scene for a children-play hour or an adult book-reading session.
The Vertical kids room
The first component, the vertical kids room, consists of an 80cm deep wall that contains two sleeping-cabins for the smallest children of the family, storage for clothes and toys and a fold-out couch to be both the children’s play-platform and for when grandmother is visiting for the weekend. All cabinets have been designed with a pull-out function that utilizes the full depth of the furniture. A ladder has been added to the the cabinets on each side of the wall that lead the children into their own private sleeping cabinet. This way, the children can take over the whole room when needed, while the parrents, at other times, can enjoy the space as adult living room.
Colors are kept light, and cabinets is made out of cork, to in up drawings and pictures.
In each sleeping cabinet, the children have their personal shelves and with ready made curtains from Kvadrat, they can make their own private cave.
Pre-Teen room / Home office
In the same way that small children don’t have the need for a private space, older children need the opposite - their own room with the possibility to close the door to the rest of the house.
But in a stepfamily, where the family changes in size and constellation, it can seem like a waste of good and expensive square meters to occupy a whole room as a children’s room that will only be used every second week. Therefore, Spacon & X has designed a fold-out solution, that combines the need of a pre-teen room in one week and an adult work-station in the other.
When it’s the week after and the children have left, the Murphy bed can be stowed away and the working desk placed on the opposite wall can be folded down.
The open desk then unmasks a work-environment with ring binders, briefcases, post-its and computer screen.
Also, the backside of the bed contributes with a pin-board for on-going projects in the home-office.
Floor plan - stepfamily
THE THREE GENERATIONS - Mom, Son & Grandmother
In the second apartment Spacon & X has transformed the apartment to meet the needs of the emerging family constellation of three different generations.
The single mom with her child has chosen to move-in together with her mother for a seamless dynamic between the busy, working mother and the retired grandmother. This way the grandmother can assist and help her daughter in giving the grandson the necessary attention and presence in the busy hours of the day – in the morning and in the afternoon.
However, juggling three different personalities, from three different generations and all with the same need for privacy in limited space, the focus for Spacon & X has been to create three separate and individual private atmospheres. A space that can articulate the three different sets of needs, personalities and activities while making sure that the grandmother doesn’t have to find her fur scarf through a mess of boots and snowsuits.
The three personal rooms have been designed as their own individual apartments with individual check-in stations for each family member. This way, the check-in ritual occurs from the common space to the private space, when they enter their room.