Transforming apartment space in the Big Apple


The design of the smartphone and that of a table appear to have very little in common – that they are available in the same colour perhaps being as far as the similarity stretches.

However, such has been the influence of the smartphone – which combines unbelievable function, incredible ease-of-use and elegant design – that increasingly designers of all stripes are looking at ways in which a range of everyday objects can also be numerous things while staying devilishly stylish.

And there is good reason for this. In an age where more and more people are downsizing and embracing apartment living, the driving force behind creating that which is both functional and elegant is none other than the holy grail of saving space.

Making Room in NYC
While there are many cities in the world in which spacious apartments are either in short supply or very expensive, there are few cities in the world in which space comes at such a premium as New York.

In fact, the combination of the ever pressing need for space saving technologies and advances in their design led the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) to present an exhibition in 2013 titled Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers.

A key part of the exhibition was a fully-furnished 30.2 square metre micro-apartment (named the LaunchPad) that showcased just how transformable tables, bed systems, and seating allow the compact space to be reshaped into five different configurations.

The LaunchPad – a micro-apartment exhibited in 2013 at the Museum of the City of New York.

The LaunchPad – a micro-apartment exhibited in 2013 at the Museum of the City of New York.

Not only did the furniture* transform the space, it enabled it to accommodate challenging housing needs while providing comfort, a sense of spaciousness, and a high quality of life overall.

Watch the transformation of the LaunchPad micro-apartment.

New York gets its first micro apartment development
While many attendees at the 2013 MCNY exhibition may have thought that the micro-apartment would always remain just an exhibition, time has proved otherwise.

Studios at Carmel Place on East 27th Street in Kips Bay start at 260 square feet.

Studios at Carmel Place on East 27th Street in Kips Bay start at 260 square feet.

The success of the exhibition led the City of New York to hold a contest to design a micro-apartment building and in June of this year, the project in Carmel Place on East 27th Street was completed. In a remarkable feat of design and engineering, every one of the 55 micro apartments were built off-site in an old Brooklyn Navy Yard and simply lifted into place.

New York City’s first micro-apartment building in Carmel Place on East 27th Street opened June of this year.

New York City’s first micro-apartment building in Carmel Place on East 27th Street opened June of this year.

The apartments range in size from 24 to 33 square metres – a size that required special permission from the Mayor’s Office as under city law, dwellings must be no less than 37 square metres.

With New York City’s population including a significant number of single people and the city experiencing issues with affordable housing, the Big Apple might just get a lot more micro apartment buildings popping up in its iconic streets.

*Much of the furniture used in the LaunchPad was provided by American company Resource Furniture. While they don’t operate in Australia you can learn more about their products by visiting their website – resourcefurniture.com

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