Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Opinion: Do Concepts Count?

On this website, we like to think that we dole out a fair heap of practical information. We have given suggestions for editing your life that work for any budget. We have toured a transforming home made almost completely of IKEA furniture. We have profiled Isabelle LaRue, who gives step-by-step DIY instructions for making your rental apartment more livable and functional on a modest budget.

But we also regularly feature stuff that is either super expensive, or unavailable now, and in many cases, ever. Apartments with hydraulic beds, collapsible Italian homes and so on. These things seem more like unused props from Blade Runner than objects that would make their way into any normal person’s home.

For this latter category of stuff, the question that might come up is, “Who cares?” If we can’t buy, afford or make it, what’s the point?

Beside the simple “boy, that’s cool factor,” we do think there’s a lot of reasons to care about conceptual architecture and product design. If you’ve ever been to a car show, you’ll see many companies’ kooky concept cars. These cars never make it to market as they are, but elements of their designs trickle down to an everyday car like a Honda Civic. Same holds true for architecture and design. While we might not choose to live in Steve Sauer’s 182 sq ft former storage unit apartment, there might be elements that inspire improvements upon our own homes (after all, Sauer sourced many of his materials from IKEA). LifeEdited is currently consulting with Brazilian firm VITACON’s upcoming micro-apartment complex; many of design elements will be inspired by the one-off pieces in the LifeEdited Apartment.

The same holds true for lifestyles. A while back we profiled Andrew Hyde, a guy who reduced his worldly possessions to 39 things. Most of us will never choose to live with so few possessions, but to know it’s possible might inspire some of us to go from 3,000 objects to 2,000 or whatever.

Concepts show us that something is possible. As TS Elliot put it, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Whether we choose to go too far is up to us.

What do you think? Are concepts–architecture, design, lifestyle, etc–sources of inspiration or frustration? Practical guides or flights of fancy? Let us know in the comment section.

  • Cayman

    My suggestion: create a page on the Life Edited website collating all the great transformation furniture that you have found, including links of where it can be bought. Furniture that serves more than one purpose is great and saves space and having to purchase more furniture.

    • David Friedlander

      great suggestion.

  • Ray

    Concepts lead to solutions so yes they count. The trick is knowing what and how to select. Designers are trained to help make those choices.

  • Steve

    Love it keep them coming

  • Philip D. Mann

    The abundance of concepts aligned with the theme reinforces the idea that there is more than one “right way” to approach the solution. In fact, I suggest a broader field of concepts with special attention paid to the resource requirements — including free or very inexpensive — to promote a larger pool of possibilities. Link to relevant external sources like the “instructables” web site to show people how to implement (but don’t reinvent the wheel to do it).

  • Tove Skarstedt

    Concepts are a great source of inspiration! Do keep them coming, we all need new ideas!