Video: The Year of Magical Furniture
When we cover interesting compact spaces on this site, we usually list their usable area, expressed in square feet or meters. We are pretty hardwired to draw a correlation between a space’s area and functionality. Even when we take pains to list the functionality first, it’s always couched in the “wow, you can do that in a small space?” But what if we decoupled space and functionality altogether? You see, listing area is a conventional approach to understanding space. It’s something easy to wrap our heads around and measure with a stick. But area often misrepresents the gestalt–i.e. the sum total of architecture, furniture, embedded technology and the other UX elements that can help a space transcend its physical dimensions. This talk by Hasier Larrea places special emphasis on the role of furniture to determine how a space performs.
His thesis is that architecture has barely changed in the last 2K years. We keep making static spaces, single function rooms filled with “space killers”–things like beds that lay waste to a space’s functionality the moment after they’re used. He proposes that we augment spaces with transforming elements–ones that are effortless and magical–to create spaces that are alive around the clock.
Larrea knows a thing or two about this subject. The MIT Media Lab alum was part of that school’s CityHome project, which created a high tech furniture module that endow small spaces with tons of functionality. He is now the CEO of MorphLab, a startup that is out to make robotic, open API furniture modules to kill the space killers that not only doom a space’s action potential, but also create a dearth of affordable housing in cities across the globe. He and his team are trying to create a future where our homes and other spaces magically change form to meet our needs.