Space-Shifting for the Future
A recent statistic by Heimtextil, the global textile trade fair, estimates that by 2030, the world will have 41 megacities with over 40 million inhabitants. This demographic shift is known as “the great urban migration” and will shape how we live, work, consume and socialize. As designers, architects and urban planners look to the future, they are embracing the wellness movement and the circular economy (the reuse and repurposing of materials) to design healthy, flexible spaces at work and home. We want room to think, create, and connect with nature in our spaces regardless of size. Here’s a look at four space-shifting concepts driving design.
The Flexible Space: Adapt+Assemble
Urban living means making the most of every inch of space, challenging us to rethink what we really need to live with. The Tiny House Movement and The Minimalist-No Clutter movement both encourage thoughtful consumerism and living with less stuff. Designers are responding with furniture and living spaces that adapt and morph for multiple uses. Heimtextil says “This lifestyle trend offers solutions for big city dwellers who are increasingly living like modern nomads and in ever smaller flats.” Expect to see more furniture pieces with geometric and interchangeable shapes and materials that convert into other uses and can be packed and transported.
The Healthy Space:
One of the challenges of city living is communing with nature since urban dwellers tend to spend much of their time indoors. Air, light and noise pollution are problematic for those living and working in close quarters. The integration of plants, responsive lighting systems, mood-boosting color scapes, fresh air, natural sunlight are essential ingredients of healthy spaces. Forest Bathing, taking a stroll through nature to relax the mind and sharpen the senses, has become a therapeutic activity to de-stress and recharge. For urban dwellers, the nearest green space could be miles away so designers are discovering creative ways to bring the nature indoors with furniture, objects, and accessories.
The Re-Made Space:
The circular economy has infiltrated design with the proliferation of objects fashioned from repurposed materials. Designers are engaging with waste materials more than ever now that the stigma around refuse has faded. Recyclable refuse is an untapped material for furniture, art, design, and objects giving rise to the Re-Made Space. Heimtextil sees repurposed design as a solution to the rapid generation of waste in urban areas. “For the first time in history, the amount of waste produced in cities is growing faster than urbanization itself. To conquer this huge mountain of waste, cities must understand that the future is to put waste on an equal footing with resources. This will make waste a starting point for new design.”
The Maker Space:
Today’s consumer wants room to create at home whether it be a craft space, “she shed” or converted garage. Online marketplaces for maker goods such as Etsy have inspired many to turn their hobby into a home business. 3D printing continues to democratize design making it possible for anyone anywhere to manufacture their own designs using open source software. The maker space is a must-have for many regardless of square footage.
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