Population density in urban centres causes designers to seek compact habitat and residential solutions, and offer a new kind of comfort Small spaces have always dictated frugal design solutions: accordion doors folding into themselves, beds and ironing boards collapsing into the wall, a dining table that becomes a bed, and a sofa with a refrigerator stored of its seat bottom. We are used to seeing those in confined spaces such as aircraft lavatories, yachts or house trailers. However, in recent years, with the steady growth of population density in major cities around the world, our apartments are becoming gradually smaller and more expensive thus forcing designers and architects to come up with creative residential solutions to contain all life’s necessities in small spaces After conquering the last Design Week in Milano with its Islands exhibit, presenting a new conceptual approach to exploiting the Caesarstone working surface in and out of the kitchen, the London design studio Raw Edges continues to stretch the limits of utilizing Caesarstone surfaces revealing its new design in their exhibit at the London Design Week.. The exhibit, designed with the sponsorship of Airbnb apartment rental company, used the concept “A place called home”, to present the idea of a modular residential apartment with flexible interior space. By moving walls on an axis (similar to library archives’ partitions), the residents can push aside rooms in the house while uncovering others as needed. Thus, when not used, the bedroom “folds”, the wall pushes it aside to reveal a living room. The kitchen is uncovered only when the family needs to cook, but is out of sight when one wants to take a shower. Designers Shay Alkalay and Yael Mer, the studio founders, emphasized sustainability, and used the Classico 7150 model recycled Caesarstone surface in their kitchen design. The exhibit, covered upon presentation by prominent design magazines such as Dezeen and Archilovers, offers a modular living space, which addresses the international population density problem beyond conceptual borders. In the same way, the Chinese architect Gary Chang achieved international recognition after remodeling his tiny apartment (32 square meters) in Hong Kong to a space containing 24 different spaces. It included (apart from a kitchen, a bedroom, and utilities), a luxurious bath, a spa corner, a screening room with a small cinema screen, a dining area for ten guests and plenty of storage spaces. Chang also used the method of moving walls revealing hidden rooms as needed, with each wall or partition being a storage unit on both sides. “I have too much storage spaces”, said Chung in a video featuring his apartment. The original video was posted on YouTube (since taken off due to copyright issues) and got over five million views turning Chang's innovative living space into one of the world’s famous. Modular housing solutions presented by the Raw Edges studio in the London Design Week, as well as Chang’s apartment, raise bigger questions about the future of urban planning. With areas in city centers becoming expensive and scarce, perhaps the modular solution can be suitable not only for residential environments but also for public buildings on a larger scale. A summer public swimming pool will become a parking lot during the winter, or a public library in the morning will be converted into a conference facility after school hours. Perhaps in the future, instead of moving around static buildings - our spaces will move around us, being able to adjust to our needs.
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