In an age pervaded by excess, there are a handful of renegades in the design space and built environment challenging the modern-age consumption paradigm. These Australian and international designers have incited a movement towards small-space living, with pre-fabricated houses, micro-accommodation and small footprint living becoming both accepted and revered by mainstream society. In this article, we explore the works of studios who’ve gone against the grain (don’t mind the pun) to develop practical and beautiful residential spaces as a response to limited square meterage, environmental or social concern, or in objection to the ostentatious architectural inclination of decades’ past.
Inspired by the Japanese 5S methodology* for efficient and effective workspaces, the 5S apartment maximizes its 24sqm Potts Point space through deliberate organisation of belongings through storage, custom joinery and multi-functional furniture.
*Transliteration: seiri / ‘sort’, seiton / ‘set in order’, seiso / ‘shine’, seiketsu / ‘standardise’, and shitsuke / ‘sustain’.
Photography by Katherine Lu
Nestled within a heritage-listed building on Melbourne’s inner-city Flinders Lane, this 75sqm apartment grew from the restraints of a modest budget and limited space. Plywood joinery to defining spaces, flexible inbuilt storage, a mezzanine loft and consequential storage cavity, and sliding screens for room partitioning have created a living, breathing, evolving space for the client’s young family.
Photography by Lisbeth Grosmann
Green Magazine recently featured the work of Tim Gittos and Caroline Robertson of New Zealand-based Spacecraft Architects. Having subdivided their property with friends, Tim and Caroline built their 95sqm house, intentionally small so quality materials could be afforded. The technique of double-use is evident, with Tim stating ‘when you give spaces a dual function, you can make them really generous’. A simple design is supported by insulation, double glazing and a wetback heater creating a space that is practical, understatedly beautiful and comfortable for this family of four.
Photography by David Straight
Our 5 Most Adaptable Pieces
Inspired by the multifunctionality of these projects, we’ve selected our 5 most adaptable pieces that are designed to grow with your family’s needs and for multiple applications within the home. The versatility of these products makes them especially appropriate for small residences where space and budget is limited, or where sustainability is a key consideration.
|Shibui Drinks Shelf||Ava Lifestages Cot||Little Nest Storage Cabinet||Peggy Peg Board||Dream Cloud Loft Bed|
Mood board image credit clockwise from top left: Flinders Lane Apartment by Clare Cousins Architects; 5S Apartment by Nicholas Gurney; Top Shelf by Spacecraft Architects; Plyroom Shibui Drinks Shelf; Private Residence of Arrhov Frick Arkitektkontor; Micro Apartment by A Little Design.