Thursday, November 10, 2011

A multipurpose room: dreaming

A link to this article about an "origami apartment" featured in the NYT was posted on Laughing Squid today, and really activated my imagination. By creating a single cabinet with moving panels, hinges, folding surfaces, and storage spaces, a tiny room has been made liveable. From the architect:

"A single oversized custom cabinetry piece is inserted along one wall. The cabinet is packed with all of the functional components of a larger apartment including a bed, a nightstand, a closet, a home office, a library, kitchen storage, and most of the lighting for the room. An endlessly reconfigurable series of doors and panels can be opened and closed to create the spaces of the apartment."

This got me thinking about my ideal office/work space. I have an office and never use it because it's just got a big, immobile, uncomfortable, heavy desk in the middle of it. I want to chuck the desk and have multiple tables to set up an art space instead. I am so ADD when it comes to creating; I can't decide what craft or media to stick with because I want to do them all! Call me a multi-media artist, if you will. I want a sewing table and cabinet for sewing, a drafting table for drawing, a large flat surface for screenprinting (or stringing beads or setting up a lightbox to photograph work), a comfy chair to sit in to knit, a surface to set down my laptop to design/blog/surf for ideas, and tons of storage nooks, crannies, and containers to store all the supplies. On top of that, I want to be able to roll, fold, tuck, angle or flatten all of the surfaces to fit my needs OR best case scenario, be able to shove them all to the side in case I need floor space.

On top of that, I want to be able to cover all the stored items with curtains as needed, so there's no visual clutter from other projects when I'm focusing on one in particular.

A pipe dream? Of course! But, I can imagine it, so I know it's possible, even modified.

A furniture flashback: when I was a child, my room had this one awesome piece of furniture. The bed, dresser, and side table changed, but my "hutch" was always there. It was a large, shiny, white rectangle, possibly six feet high, with a seam horizontally splitting it at the center by a hinge. If I grabbed and yanked a nested, hinged piece that was attached at the top, a table would swing down and the piece I grabbed would become a table leg, with the table originating from the horizontal hinge. Once the table was down, the hutch revealed its nooks and crannies inside where I stored all sorts of stuff. I have tons of memories of opening that hinge when I was much too small to really be opening it, then praying that I caught the edge or jumped out of the way in time, so the table didn't crash down on me!

I want all my tables to be like that, to fold down from the wall, then tuck back in when I don't need them.

The article also made me think of a science fiction story written by Robert Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy, where a poor soul, Thorby, finds himself on a spaceship. He's spent all his life as a slave, then is freed and rescued to find himself in a small prison: a room with no windows, no door, just four white walls. After hours of frustration, a member of the ship's crew comes through a sliding panel (a door!) to check on him. By just waving his hand over a space near the door, drawers pop out of the walls and close, a small bunk raises up out of the floor, a sink is revealed, as is a table and chair that slide out of the wall. It wasn't a prison at all, it was a palace compared to what he was used to. Waving the hand again stowed all of these items away, leaving Thorby with just four walls again; but, he was now empowered to bring them out whenever he wanted and leave the room at will.

Can I have sci-fi now? That is the room I want. The origami apartment from above is getting closer to Heinlein's vision, but his visions of the future were so far ahead of reality, it's stunning. I need to read that story again! And dream of furniture shopping.

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