On a mission to prove that good things really do come in small packages, Treehugger's (opens in new tab) Graham Hill launched LifeEdited (opens in new tab) - a global design challenge to turn a run-down, 39 sq m New York apartment into a viable place to live, work and entertain. Designers were tasked to include seated dining for twelve, a living space for eight, a home office, space for two overnight guests and the option of a steam room. From clever storage solutions, to fully fledged master plans for mini living, the ideas came flooding in. Here Hill reveals the winning design, and the best of the rest.
On their quest to find a plan for ’a tiny, ultra green, really efficient, even luxurious’ apartment, the judges - including designer Yves Behar, architect William McDonough and Hill himself - picked out this design by architecture students Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu. Their prize included $10,000 in cash, a contract award of up to $10,000 to consult on the renovation project and a one-week stay in the apartment.
Says Hill: ’The winning scheme from Romania featured a moving wall, a fairly common element in people’s submissions. We really like the way the moving wall can easily transform a space from one large one to two smaller ones with different functions. We believe that, if the design of moving walls can be advanced enough that they are safe, easy to use and not too expensive, they will be a key component in small space design.’
Adds Behar: ’The living room and couch set-up is quite luxurious considering the overall size of the apartment, and there resides the genius of this entry: each separate living function seems to maximize the entire space, rather than be confined to a compromised space.’
Graham Hill: 'Julia Musienkay created a huge window seat for her LifeEdited concept. This creates a lot of quality seating with good light and views and is a smart move for small space design'
Graham Hill: 'I like the way it works aesthetically and functionally. It divides the space nicely.'
Graham Hill: This scheme from Vienna contained a huge pull-out pantry that would allow for easy cooking access while at the same time creating some privacy for the bedroom area. Want more openness? Tuck it away.'
Graham Hill: 'Alex Whitcroft crafted one of a few LifeEdited schemes that featured a tightly designed box within a box. His scheme was very nicely detailed and one could see it being easily applied to many an apartment, thereby achieving really high marks in terms of replicability.'
Graham Hill: 'Cool sliding track system'
Graham Hill: 'Sergii's scheme was the sexiest of the 304 entries in LifeEdited. Creating a deep, full wall of storage in beautifully detailed white. Surrounding the wood lined entrance was one of his many simple yet sophisticated moves.'
Not all the designs came beautifully rendered. Some opted for good old-fashioned pen and paper. Says Hill: 'Rod Borghese came up with a number of very unique and conceptual submissions. Airstream, being masters of both small space design and aesthetics, were suggested as the basis of one of his concepts. Buy an old, damaged Airstream and assemble it in one side of the space such that it efficiently packs in bathroom, kitchen and bedroom leaving the rest of the space nice and open.'
Graham Hill: 'Awesome cardboard model'
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