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Small is the new big

Blogger: Alfred Uzokwe Jr., Mechanical EIT | Washington, DC, USA
January 16, 2012

Go BIG or go home...  a saying often heard in the sports world but that also pertains to American culture in general. This may or may not come as surprise to you, but American culture is dominated by the idea of “BIG”.  You know, “Bigger is Better.” This sentiment has infiltrated every aspect of our everyday life. Whether choosing to “go big” when ordering fast food or choosing to “go big” when searching for a house or car. Hummer anyone?  And don’t forget the push to build bigger houses and taller skyscrapers.  And quite often, these spaces aren’t used as efficiently as possible.


However, if you look closely, you can see this pattern being reversed. Bigger is no longer necessarily better. For instance, the rise of the hipsters is making it mainstream to wear clothes that actually fit (or may be a tad too tight). And First Lady Obama is leading the charge against obesity with the revamped “food plate” replacing the beloved “food pyramid.” In addition to adding more fruits and veggies to the American diet, it also pushes for smaller portion sizes.


This new idea of “Smaller is Better” has also permeated the building industry. With the push for sustainability, building designers are being challenged to make efficient use of smaller spaces.  And they have definitely risen to the challenge, coming up with awesome,  unique designs that make one wonder why we thought bigger was better in the first place.


One example is the furniture by Resource Furniture, a company specializing in space-saving furniture. Check out the video to see how really awesome the furniture is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAa6bOWB8qY&feature=player_embedded. Living room end tables can be stacked to allow for more space and a dinner table’s size can be double in minutes. It’s amazing to see the furniture transform allowing a room to serve multiple functions.  My favorite part is where every thing transforms into a bed.

And if you thought that was cool, check out this video that shows how a tiny apartment in China was designed to house 24 rooms! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg9qnWg9kak&feature=related

Reader Comments (2)

Alfred, thank you for linking us to these amazingly engineered furniture designs. Made me want to downsize right away! (though these pieces might downsize one's bank account as well.)

It is also indicative of the trend that our society is becoming more urbanized.  The past few years have seen a trend of more people moving into NYC than out.  This means more people living in those 200 sq.ft. studios he mentions.  In a tight urban home space and storage are always at a premium. Furniture that is designed to perform 2 if not 3 functions is definitely worth the price for efficiency and space savings.  Thanks for sharing this piece, it is definitely a company that does modular furniture well.  Sleek, practical and multifunctional.  I happen to love the shelf, that becomes a chair or an end table. I want that!

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